Easy Mock Cable Knitting Stitch

Learn to knit cables the easy way!

Drooling over all the beautiful cable knitted projects at Pinterest and Ravelry but think it’s too advanced for you? Let me introduce the mock cable, and think again!

I enjoy knitting and I enjoy when things are easy. 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t just knit stockinette stitch in the round all day long, I knit socks and mittens, blankets with textured patterns and sweaters with mock cables for my school girl. 

But I try to be smart about it and choose projects that I can easily memorise. Another thing I always do is investigate if things can be done in a smarter and easier way. And often they can! Cables for example, I don’t like to fiddle with the cable needle so I knit mock cables instead. Because I like it easy and enjoyable. I don’t like being angry when I craft 🙂

An ongoing knitting project featuring mock cables

Faux cables or mock cables

Mock cables, or faux cables, as some of us call them, are the same thing. I think this is just a matter of where in the world you live, as with many other knitting terms that varies depending on language and location. 

What’s the definition of a mock cable

A mock cable isn’t really a knit cable, but looks a lot like a cable and the technique is easier to master.

In a true cable the stitches has swopped places with one another which is what creates the twists that defines the cable. 

the mock cables on the other hand are created by different kinds of decreases and increases that creates the illusion of a cable. The look of the mock cable depends on which increases and decreases that are used and how they are placed in relation to each other.

What’s the meaning of mock cables

The whole idea of knitting mock cables instead of the ”real deal” is that it’s muck easier to do. You don’t need a cable needle, two needles are often enough to manage, not ot speak of using double pointed needles and then a cable needle to!

Is this knitting stitch reversible

No, this mock cable stitch isn’t reversible. The background stitch is made in reverse stockinette, which means that it’s just knit stitches on the wrong side.

The mock cable shows only at the front side of the fabric as the knit stitches tend to stand out from the purl stitches. The back of this stitch looks more like a ribbing with very many knit stitches between the purls. 

Examples of knitting stitch patterns that are reversible:
Checkerboard stitch pattern
Seedstitch
Box stitch
Garter stitch
Double stockinette stitch

Materials needed for this pattern

Abbreviations used for this pattern

K – Knit stitch
P – Purl
K2tog – Knit two stitches together
In this pattern both stitches are left on the left needle after knitting them together to allow for the first stitch to be knit one more time to add up for the decreased stitch. This is the secret sauce that create the twist in the cable!
YO – Yarn Over
sl – slip stitch

Having a hard time remembering all the knitting abbreviations? Grab the free cheat sheet in this post!

How to knit the easiest mock cable knitting stitch

Pattern: How to knit 3 stitch mock cable stitch

For this stitch pattern you need to cast on in multiples of eight. 

Row 1: *K3, P2, K3* repeat *–* across the row

Row 2: *P3, K2, P3* repeat *–* across the row

Row 3: Same as row 1

Now you’re going to make the stitch that twists your cable!

Row 4: *P3, k2tog leaving the stitches on the left needle then knit into the first stitch again and let the stitches slide off the needle, P3* repeat *–* across the row

Repeat rows 1 to 4 until you reach the desired length.

Variations: Using a slipped stitch

You can also try to knit this kind of mock cable with slipped and passed stitches. To do this you need to have three stitches in your cable. This is worked on the fourth row instead of the k2tog.

Slip the first of the knit stitches, knit the second stitch, make a yarn over, and knit the third stitch. Then pass the first stitch (the one you slipped) over the other stitches.

The pattern look like this:

Cast on in multipels of 9

Row 1: *K3, P3, K3* repeat *–* across the row

Row 2: *P3, K3, P3* repeat *–* across the row

Row 3: Same as row 1

Now you’re going to ”turn” your cable:

Row 4: *P3, sl1, K1, YO, K1, pass the lifted stitch over the three stitches, P3* repeat *–* across the row

Repeat rows 1–4 to the desired length.

Variations: Mock cable rib

This simple pattern can be varied in a few ways. If you have less background stitches between the cables you will achieve a kind of rib, often referred to as mock cable rib. 

To make this stitch it would be suitable to have two background stitches (reversed stockinette stitch) between these two stitch cables. 

A rib with a 2-stitch mock cable and 2 background stitches requires that you cast on in multiples of 4

If you like to to ribbing with the slipped stitch technique you need three cable stitches and three background stitches which gives that you cast on in multiples of 6 stitches.

How to knit a mock cable in the round

So, you want to knit your mock cables in the round? Maybe you want to make a cardigan and knit the body of the garment flat and the arms in the round? 

Or maybe you have socks, hats or cowls on your mind? There’s so many options. But the important thing is that this is absolutely possible to do!

When you knit flat you have to purl on the wrong side to get knit stitches on the front and vice versa, right?

But, when you knit in the round on circular or double pointed needles you knit if you want knit stitches and  purl if you want purl stitches. 

Therefore the ”translation” of the 3-stitch mock cable from flat to circular will look like this:

Cast on in multiples of 8

Round 1–3: *P3, K2, P3* repeat *–* for one round

Round 4:  *P3, k2tog leaving the stitches on the left needle then knit into the first stitch again and let the stitches slide off the needle, P3* repeat *–* for one round

Repeat roundss 1 to 4 until you reach the desired length.

Variations: Using a slipped stitch

This works just as well in the round as knitted flat. Instead of the k2tog on the fourth row you knit like this:

Slip the first of the knit stitches, knit the second stitch, make a yarn over, and knit the third stitch. Then pass the first stitch (the one you slipped) over the other stitches.

The pattern look like this:

Round 1–3: *P3, K3, K3* repeat *–* for one round

Now you’re going to ”turn” your cable:

Round 4: *P3, sl1, K1, YO, K1, pass the lifted stitch over the three stitches, P3* *–* for one round

Repeat rounds 1–4 to the desired length.

Variation: mock cable rib in the round

The mock cable rib is often used for the legs of socks. I can see way you don’t want to add a cable needle to the mix if you’re already knitting och dpns… But the mock cable rib is crazy easy to do!

Work and regular P2, K2 ribbing and swop out every forth row for the ”cable twist row”. 

The pattern looks like this:

Cast on in multiples of 4

Round 1–3: *P2, K2* repeat *–* for one round

Round 4:  *P2, k2tog leaving the stitches on the left needle then knit into the first stitch again and let the stitches slide off the needle* repeat *–* across the row.

Repeat rounds 1 to 4 until you reach the desired length.

Or with the slipped stitches technique:

Cast on in multiples of 6.

Round 1–3: *P3, K3* repeat *–* for one round

Round 4: *P3, sl1, K1, YO, K1, pass the lifted stitch over the three stitches * repeat *–* the whole round

Repeat rounds 1 to 4 until you reach the desired length.

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How to knit mock cables

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