How to Make a Cable-Knit Scarf in a Weekend

comments (24) November 5th, 2010     

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SarahSaturday Sally Bock, contributor
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No matter how experienced a knitter you are, you can easily stitch up this cable-knit scarf in a weekend.
By slipping the first stitch of every row, the selvage edge is neat and tidy, giving the edge a polished finish.
Slip four stitches onto a cable needle.
No matter how experienced a knitter you are, you can easily stitch up this cable-knit scarf in a weekend.

No matter how experienced a knitter you are, you can easily stitch up this cable-knit scarf in a weekend.

Photo: Sally Bock

Do you dream of making the perfect scarf but aren't ready to commit to a big project? Well, here is your dream project come true. The big needles and thick yarn make this a quick knit and a beautiful addition to your winter wardrobe. If you are a new knitter, you’ll also learn the joys of cabling—a simple, fun, and easy-to-execute stitch. From this one simple pattern, you can make a long, skinny version or a wider, warmer one. I’ve also included a tip on how to make a neat and polished selvage. By slipping the first stitch of every row, you will give your scarf an expert finish. So rent yourself the new season of Weeds, get out your big needles, and prepare to sport a new accessory by the time you head back to work on Monday.

What you'll need:

  • Size 17 needles
  • Thick cable needle
  • Two to three skeins of yarn (7.5 to 8 stitches to 4 inches—I used Rowan’s Big Yarn; I used three skeins to make a 72-inch double-cable scarf)

sts: stitches
k: knit
p: purl
slpks: Slip knit side (slide right needle into stitch on left needle as if you were preparing to knit but instead simply slip loop onto right needle)

By slipping the first stitch of every row, the selvage edge is neat and tidy, giving the edge a polished finish.

How to Knit a Cable
On cable rows, slip 4 stitches onto a cable needle. 

Slip four stitches onto a cable needle.

Hold the cable needle to the back behind your needles.

The cable needle should be behind your needles.

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Post your project in the gallery

posted in: yarn, scarf, cable-knit

Comments (24)

belleeven writes: Nice! I have lost my big knitter's guide and was hoping to find a good cable pattern for a new scarf. This is just the thing. :)
Posted: 5:34 am on September 6th
yazzybazzy writes: sorry i wrote that over and over again

so how did you make the scarf and how many days does it take
Posted: 1:18 am on January 1st
yazzybazzy writes: heres the truth i am actully a kid but dont tell anyone
Posted: 1:16 am on January 1st
yazzybazzy writes: heres the truth i am actully a kid but dont tell anyone
Posted: 1:16 am on January 1st
yazzybazzy writes: heres the truth i am actully a kid but dont tell anyone
Posted: 1:16 am on January 1st
yazzybazzy writes: heres the truth i am actully a kid but dont tell anyone
Posted: 1:16 am on January 1st
yazzybazzy writes: to tell you the truth i think you have putten love and care
Posted: 1:14 am on January 1st
yazzybazzy writes: wow you have done a great job there keep the good work up
Posted: 1:11 am on January 1st
NewKnitty writes: I just started knitting and the skinny cable scarf is my first project. I think I'm getting the hang of it but I'm having one problem. After I cast 14 the number of stiches seems to grow. I went from 14 to 28. I tried twice and did the same thing. Any tips to what I'm doing wrong?
Posted: 10:41 pm on December 6th
mammamare writes: Thanks SarahSaturday for the clarification. Also, what was the thickness of the yarn you used. I tried a Fisherman yarn (Lions Brand) and it was too thick. I'll have to order online since our yarn store has cut way back on its inventory. Thanks; you're an inspiration to us all. :)
Posted: 12:28 pm on February 4th
SarahSaturday writes: And YES the single cable is on the 10-row repeat which gives it that long, languid look.
Posted: 5:50 pm on January 31st
SarahSaturday writes: Mamamere! OMG you are right! It's really a 6 row repeat:

Row 5: slpks 1, knit remaining

Row 6: slpks 1, k2, slp4 to cable needle P4, P4 from cable needle, k3, slp4 to cable needle P4, P4 from cable needle, k3.
Posted: 5:49 pm on January 31st
SarahSaturday writes: zlee- ah the bonds of knitters! I am thrilled to pass on the obsession. i blame my German aunts for getting me hooked, but they never approved of my American right-handed yarn toss. If it weren't for knitting I'm sure netflix would only be half as successful. I swear I'm keeping them in business everytime i say, "Just one more cable" and stick in another DVD.
Posted: 5:40 pm on January 31st
mammamare writes: Absolutely gorgeous scarf; love the color and beautiful work. When you made the scarf with the single cable, did you do the cable every tenth row? Is that how it became so elongated? I like it like that. Row 5 is a knit row and so is row 1, so it throws the pattern off for me. What am I missing? Thanks for the pattern and for the help.
Posted: 12:25 pm on January 30th
zlee writes: Well, I've been sewing and crocheting since I was 4 (according to my mother: I remember it was 6), and have had a lot of textile related work go by in the 45 years since. I also have and occasionally use a knitting machine, but have never been able to get hand knitting to stick in my brain. Thanks to your project, now I have! Old dogs can learn new tricks, obviously!

So, now I have a new obsession: knitting! I am now the pleased-as-punch owner of two sets of KnitPick interchangeable circular needle sets (one wood Harmony, one Nickel plated), three Lantern Moon sets of straight needles, some KP DPNs, and I *already* have a stash of yarn. I've completed three scarves of varying design, three hats (two for a military knitted hat drive) and have three projects on the board at Ravelry (find me as GlobalTraveler) and more in the queue.

Since it's basically your handiwork that has found me taking up a new craft rather unexpectedly, I'm not sure whether to send you a virtual hug or a virtual slap. ;)

Thanks for the inspiration!
Posted: 7:18 am on January 25th
SarahSaturday writes: You did it! It's fabulous. I;m not buying that 'rank beginner' biz. Look at that adorable hat! I love the fat cable framing the edge. Thanks for sharing the pics!
Posted: 11:45 pm on January 19th
zlee writes: Okay, I've posted it in my gallery, but not sure how to link it here!

It really did take only a weekend, even though I'm a rank beginner. Lots of mistakes made, but hopefully not too obvious. I'm working on a thin skinny scarf to give to someone who tried the scarf on and the color looked great on her, so I'm making it out of the skein or so that I had left over.
Posted: 2:55 pm on January 4th
SarahSaturday writes: Post your pictures! Would love to see. The color sounds lovely.
Posted: 3:26 am on January 2nd
zlee writes: After thirty years (!) of not touching a knitting needle, and then only to start a scarf that ended up staying on the needles for about two years before I figured out I was never going to finish it, this posting, the promise of only two days of work, and the cold snap here in the UK (where I'm in the middle of a long-term visit) talked me into trying it out. I zipped into John Lewis and bought needles and Rowan's merino wool Big Yarn in a lovely lime-ish green, and I'm about 2.5 skeins into the double-cable scarf. I plan to make it 4 skeins long, because the important thing will be to be able to wrap the thing around my neck at least once and cover my frozen nose when out walking on the fens of Cambridgeshire and beyond.

I'm not going to want anyone to look at it too carefully (after tearing it out about six times, I decided getting the thing made was more important than getting the scarf perfect), but am very pleased at how it's all going -- thanks for the quick project, and I hope you're pleased at getting someone started up knitting!

After this...I'll make a hat to go with it, and maybe embellish a pair of gloves to match by putting on a ruffle at the cuffs or embroider a design on the back in the green yarn. :)
Posted: 6:40 pm on January 1st
SarahSaturday writes: Here's a great trick for introducing a new skein no matter what size yarn you are using. Take the end tail of the old skein and new end of the new skein and fray them a little. Then lay them side by side going (pointing opposite directions) with 2-3 inches of overlap in the middle. Place the overlapping ends between your palms and rub them quickly together spinning the yarn. Remember making playdough snakes? That's the action. The two pieces will twist together and you will be able to knit your way off the end of the old and onto the new without any ends to contend with. Let me know if you need any help.
Posted: 7:47 pm on December 9th
Jen1964 writes: Cables are the coziest, softest way to do scarves. I don't know why I didn't think of doing the giant sized ones! Just one question: how do you get the jumbo yarn to stay woven in, when you camouflage the ends? I haven't sewed them down, but am tempted to, since they keep popping up in our giant granny squares afghan from last winter. Also if you're interested in a quickie, but not so giant, or if you can't get the jumbo yarn, 2 strands of knitting worsted on size 11 needles works well. That's about a size K hook, for crocheters.
Posted: 2:32 pm on December 9th
SarahSaturday writes: Yes! repeat 1-5 unless you choose to make the longer looser cables and are cabling every 10 rows. In that case repeat 1-10.
Posted: 5:30 pm on December 4th
LindaPermann writes: neat! i am just getting into knitting more complicated stuff-for the 2nd scarf-- are you saying to repeat the whole pattern (rows 1-5) for as long as you like? I assume so, but just wanted to make sure. I might have to try this!
Posted: 3:49 pm on December 4th
MichaelaMurphy writes: Awesome Sally. This is the scarf that I made for our web producer, Vicky for her birthday. The one I made is a little bit different--but I will post a picture of it. BTW, it really did take just a weekend. I made the long skinny version and only used up a skein and three quarters. I started on Saturday night and was finished by Sunday afternoon. Thanks so much for this!
Posted: 3:16 pm on December 4th
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