Joy of Cables Hat

This is a pattern for a hat that just popped into my head. I thought it would be neat to use cables in a spiral pattern, so that half the cables turned right and the other half turned left. As I was knitting it, I added a few more things, like the cables being woven into an over/under/over basketweave.

The hat is surprisingly soft and warm (I knit it from heavy worsted weight wool) and, because it is, in essence, a k2 p2 rib all the way around, it has a good amount of give to it.

The pattern has cabling on three rounds of every eight, but it repeats often enough that it's elatively simple to keep in your head.


  • Double-pointed needles (I used 5mm DPNs)
  • Optionally circular needles in the same gauge.
  • 100 to 150 metres of worsted weight yarn.

I knit the hat with a gauge of 2 stitches / cm in k2p2 rib and 5 rounds / 2 cm, but the pattern adapts easily to different sizes by adding or removing repeats both around and vertically.

Cast on enough stitches on circular or double-pointed needles to go loosely around the head, with the number of stitches being a multiple of 8. The pattern repeats are 8 stitches long, with two cables being worked every 8 stitches.

Join in the round, then knit 2, purl 2 and mark that point as the start of your round. The pattern from here on will be expressed as a set of eight stitches. Repeat that as many times as needed to finish the round.

Rows 1-12 k2, p2, k2, p2
Row 13 Cable 2 left (c2l: Place two stitches on a cable needle or double-pointed needle, hold them in front of the work. Purl the third stitch then knit the two stitches off the cable needle.), cable 2 right (c2r: Place one stitch on another needle, holding it to the back of the work. Knit the next two then purl the stitch off of the cable needle), p2
Row 14 p1, cable 2x2 right (c2x2r: Place two stitches on a cable needle, holding it to the back of the work. Knit the next two then knit the stitches off of the cable needle), p3
Row 15 p1, k4, p3
Row 16 C2r, c2l, p2

At this point, every pair of cables has moved toward each other and crossed over, with the left cable going over the right.

Rows 17-19 k2, p2, k2, p2
Row 20 k2, p2, k2, p2
Stop this round four stitches before the end and mark this point. There should be one column of ribbing left. For the next four rounds, this is the new beginning of the round.
Row 21 c2l, c2r, p2
Row 22 p1, cable 2x2 left (c2x2l: Place two stitches on a cable needle, holding it to the front of the work. Knit the next two then knit the stitches off of the cable needle.), p3
Row 23 p1, k4, p3
Row 24 c2r, c2l, p2
Row 25 k2, p2, k2, p2
At the end of this round, move the beginning of the round forward four stitches, so that it's back to where it was originally.
Rows 26-28 k2, p2, k2, p2
Row 29 c2l, c2r, p2
Row 30 p1, c2x2r, p3
Row 31 p1, k4, p3
Row 32 c2r, c2l, p2
Rows 33-35 k2, p2, k2, p2
Row 36 k2, p2, k2, p2, marking 4 stitches before the end as the new beginning of the round.
Row 37 c2l, c2r, p2
Row 38 p1, c2x2l, p3

This is where I chose to begin decreasing. If you want a deeper hat, continue the pattern, knitting rows 23-38 until the hat is as long as you want it and stopping on a row where you are either cabling 2x2 left or cabling 2x2 right.

For the decrease rows, the pattern repeats quicker and quicker as you go because the pattern is decreasing in size with every row. Row 1 repeats every 8 stitches, row 2 every 6, row 3 every 5, etc.

If you are using circular needles, when the hat becomes too tight on them, switch to double-pointed needles in the same size.

Decrease row 1 Slip slip knit (ssk: slip two stitches, inserting the right needle as if to knit them. Insert the left needle into the front loops of the slipped stitches, wrap the yarn around the right needle and draw it through the loops), knit two together (k2tog: insert the right needle through the front loops of the first two stitches on the left needle. Knit these stitches as if they were a single stitch), p4
Decrease row 2 SSK, p4
Decrease row 3 SSK, p3
Decrease row 4 SSK, p2
Decrease row 5 SSK, p1
Decrease row 6 SSK

Repeat row 6 until you have fewer than ten stitches on your needles. Take the yarn and pull it through all of the remaining stitches before sliding them off the needle. Pull the yarn inside the hat and tug it tight.