Cables are stitches that cross over each other in your work. You can cross both knit with knit stitches as well as knit with purl stitches.
The usual method of working a cable is by using what’s known as a ‘cable needle’. This is made from plastic, metal or wood and it holds the stitches you want to cross at the front or back of your work. These cable needles sometimes have a ‘dip’ in the center to hold the stitches in place without sliding off. Sometimes wooden needles have a series of grooves in them for the same purpose.
Usually I use a wooden double pointed needle to hold my cable stitches using a needle one size smaller than my working needle. This allows me to slip the stitches onto it easily and I can also work my cable stitches straight off the needle instead of having to transfer them back to the working needle.
You can also work cables without a cable needle, maneuvering the stitches into position with your fingers and needles. This works best for smaller cables with sticky yarn. If you try it with smooth, slippy yarn you are more likely to have a stitch unravel.
How to work a 2 by 2 knit crossed cable:
How to work 2 by 2 knit/purl crossed cables: