Free Cable-Knit Headband Pattern

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a tutorial! This one is more of a pattern than a tutorial, but I thought it was too good not to share. This cable-knit headband knits up super quick because it’s made with chunky yarn, and the cables make it look a lot more complicated than it actually is. Never done cables? They’re easy, I promise! I thought they were hard until the first time I tried them, and then my reaction was something like, “Is this all there is to it?”

The first version of this headband was actually the black one, using leftover yarn from the hat I made Steven for Christmas. I had just barely enough yarn, but when I finished I realized that the cables wouldn’t really show up on the black yarn, so I bought another ball of yarn and made another in the gray.
Free cable-knit headband knitting pattern

Free cable-knit headband knitting pattern

The black one is blocked and the gray one isn’t, which is why the cables are more 3D on the gray one. If you want your cables to lie flat, block, if not, well, I won’t tell anyone you skipped it, but your headband won’t be quite as wide.

Materials:

1 ball Cascade Yarns Lana Grande yarn (87 yards/100 grams) – On Amazon
Size 10.5 knitting needles
Cable needle
Yarn needle for seaming

Methods:

I’m going to commit knitting blasphemy and tell you that it’s totally unnecessary to swatch for this project. Just knit the first couple of rows and see if it looks wide enough to cover your ears.

k=knit
cn=cable needle
p=purl
sl sts=slip stitches

Cast on 13 stitches.
Follow this stitch pattern:
Row 1: k13
Row 2: K2, p9, k2.
Row 3: k2, sl next 3 sts to cn and hold in front, k3, k3 from cn, k5.
Row 4: K2, p9, k2.
Row 5: k13
Row 6: K2, p9, k2.
Row 7: k5, sl next 3 sts to cn and hold in back, k3, k3 from cn, k2.
Row 8: K2, p9, k2.

Rep Rows 1–8 14 times, or to the desired length. (I recommend making it pretty tight, because it’ll stretch, and you want it to stay on your head!)

Bind off, seam the short ends, and you’re done!

If you’re a Ravelry member, here is the Ravelry project page.

Now there’s also a Norwegian translation of the pattern. See it here.

65 thoughts on “Free Cable-Knit Headband Pattern

  1. yay-thank you so much for this easy pattern! my sister was just complaining that I needed to make her ear warmers and I got to cable for the first time too

  2. Rachel, for those of us who don’t know how to knit, do you think we can achieve this by cutting up + stitching up an arm of an old sweater?

    • Rue, I’m sure you could! In fact, I know I’ve seen tutorials for that very project. You’d probably want to felt the sweater first, so it wouldn’t unravel. If you could gets your hands on one you’d be willing to sacrifice, I’m sure a cashmere sweater would make a luxurious headband.

  3. Thankyouthankyouthankyou! This will make an awesome Christmas present, it’s easy enough for a newbie like me to understand and it is so pretty. Thanks!

  4. Hi there! I’m having a little difficulty with this pattern (this is my first time trying cables!). I followed your pattern exactly (or so I think) but it looks a bit different than your pictures. Instead of having that “braided” look, it looks more like there’s only one, repeating, swooping cable. I hope that makes sense! Any ideas??

  5. This was a fabulous pattern, so pleased that I managed to cable for the first time and I get to keep my lugs warm this winter.

  6. Thanks for this. I have been trying to learn cables but always got stuck for what to do on the row after I did the first cable . Your pattern helpedbecause because you told us what to do .

    For my headband/ear warmer I made it wider and added a couple of button holes and used buttons to fasten it together and it’s great.

    • Maxien, hooray, I’m so glad it worked out for you, and helped you figure out how to do cables. Buttons sound like a great idea!

  7. Hello. I am making a cabled scarf and wanted a headband to match and, this pattern is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you for posting it. I was just wondering what you mean by blocking it or not blocking it and how I could make the black design by using this pattern.

    • Hi Kelsey,
      Both of the headbands were made with the exact same pattern. But I blocked the black one by immersing it in warm water, gently pressing the water out between some towels, and letting it dry flat. Here is a link with a lot more info about blocking your knits: http://www.purlbee.com/blocking-tutorial/
      Hope that helps!

  8. Hi rachel,

    This headband is beautiful, and I am excited to make one. I was wondering how wide your headband came out. Thanks for sharing! v

  9. Thank you for sharing this pattern! It’s the first thing I ever knitted with a cable needle and it worked really well!

    • You’re so welcome! I’m really glad it worked for you, and I hope that it helped demystify cabling a bit πŸ™‚

  10. Oh I like this one very much…. Simple and lovely.
    Have started one already, and hopefully it will make a lovely christmas present πŸ™‚
    Thank you!
    Halldora.

  11. Hi!

    I love this headband! I have made 5 so far, and there will probably be more. Great christmas presents, so thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    But I was just wondering if it would be ok if I posted a norwegian translation on my blog? A lot of my readers don’t understand english patterns, so it would be really nice to translate this one. I totally understand if you don’t want me to πŸ™‚

  12. I had never tried to do cables before, but then I saw a headband like this one and I wanted to try it. I think I frogged it ten times before I gave up on it. Then I found your pattern, got out my yarn and just did what you said and it worked wonderfully! Thanks!

  13. i love your blog! so many cool ideas and inspirations that make me want to get creative too, every time i take a look πŸ™‚ i’m glad i found this tutorial that led me here! xx

  14. Hi! I love this pattern and was wondering if you allowed people to sell products made using your pattern. I understand if your answer is no, just thought I’d ask. Thanks!

    • Hi E. Marie,
      I don’t mind if people sell items made from this pattern. (In fact I think people already are, with or without my permission.) Thanks very much for asking, though!

  15. I made this and wore it to school….. Now I have to make 17 more for all of my friends because they all loved it so much! Thank you!!

    • Knits-a-lot: Guess you’ll be busy knitting for a while! So glad your headband was a hit, and thanks so much for letting me know πŸ™‚

  16. Hi Rachel, I love this pattern and would like to knit it up. One question I have is Did you knit this on 16 inch circs?

    • Holly, nope, I knit it flat and then seamed it. You can’t knit it on circular needles because the stitches would then be going perpendicular to their current direction, and you wouldn’t be able to get cables, if that makes any sense.

  17. Hi, I’ve just started this headband and while I am getting a nice braided pattern, my bottom row is smaller than my top row. So instead of the lovely perfect braid yours has, mine appears top heavy. Any suggestions?? I love the pattern and want mine to look just as good!

    • transientexpression says:

      Hi Meg,
      I’m sorry, I’m not sure I understand what you mean. Do you mean the cables aren’t the same size in the front and back? Are you cabling the same number of stitches each time?

    • Lesley Haskell says:

      Possibly your tension has changed as you have gone along? It would seem your knitting is looser now than when you started

  18. Love this pattern. My second headband I used a provisional cast on and size 13 needles with lion brands wool-ease thick & quick super bulky yarn-beautiful! Thanks for the pattern!

  19. Just want to thank you for a well written pattern for this headband. I have been trying without any success a 12 stitch pattern and just about gave up and then I found your pattern and it worked the first time for me. This is perfect for a running headband for my daughter. I am going to try a sport 3 color band
    next.
    Very fun project.

    • Kay, I’m so glad it worked well for you, and thanks so much for letting me know! Good luck with the next one πŸ™‚

    • (I know this was posted 6 months ago but…) US sizes, and 10.5 US is 6.5 mm (I think, the needle is hard to read)

  20. Bridget Kenahan says:

    I just started knitting and i found your pattern and after hours of frustration I finally finished the headband I feel so accomplished ! Thanks so much for the post πŸ™‚

  21. Hi there just wondering when this look should start occurring during knitting? I have done rows 1-8 about 4 times and it still does not look like thisbut I believe I am doingit correctly!

  22. I would like to use circulat needles. Any ideas of how to rewrite the pattern for knitting from the long edge instead of the short end? That would be the trick for circular needles. I just perfer circular to straight needles.

  23. I knitted this yesterday and today out of the newly-released Drops ‘Cloud’ unspun (blown-air) yarn and it looks wonderful! Very easy to follow instructions, thank you so much for sharing!

  24. Angel Laforme says:

    Thank you for sharing your pattern. I will be starting one tonight. This headband Will be great for Christmas knitting. Thanks again.

  25. Hey! So this is the absolute EXACT thing I need! But I’m an extreeeemely new knitter and this will literally be my first project. I am using some different stuff– chunky yarn and US size 13 needles and it seems as though I keep adding stitches….. Like the base number NORMALLY is 13, I’ve somehow ended up with sometimes 15 and 16…. Is there any way you can explain this/ fix this?

    • Isabella, I wish I could tell you why that’s happening, but it’s a mystery to me. If you count your stitches after every row, perhaps that can help you figure out where you’re adding a stitch. Since you’re a new knitter, there are a lot of ways you could accidentally be picking up another stitch. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  26. Is there any way you could show pictures of the yarn and cable needle? I have been trying to get some but there are of differet girth, sizes and shapes. Btw id you were ever able to film the knitting I would love you forever

    • Josie, I did this project way back in 2011, so I don’t have the exact materials any more. You’d want to use a cable needle close to the regular needle size (10.5), and a yarn with a similar weight to the one I used. The yarn manufacturer says the gauge is “8-10 sts = 4″ (10 cm) US 13 – 17 (9.0 -12.0 mm),” so you’d want to try to find one that says something similar on the label, and do a gauge swatch to see what your actual gauge is.
      This is a helpful post that explains a bit about cable needles: http://blog.lionbrand.com/2013/01/18/doing-the-twist-basics-of-cable-knitting/

      Hope that helps!

  27. Hey, if I’m using a slight smaller weight yarn, how can I increase the width of this to cover my ears? Would you recommend bigger needles or more stitches?

    • Amanda, it depends on how much smaller it is. You might be able to get away with just increasing the needle size, but that could end up making the stitches too loose. I know I’m a tight knitter, so whenever I check my gauge for a new project, I end up having to increase the needle by a size or two to get the right number of stitches per inch. Since I’m compensating for my own tight knitting, it doesn’t make the stitches too loose. But everyone’s technique varies, and yarn can be very different, too. So you’ll have to do a gauge swatch and experiment!

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