How to hand embroider Cable Chain Stitch

Step by step tutorial on Cable chain stitch sample 1Cable Chain Stitch is a variation of chain stitch and also known as cable stitch. It is an easy member of the chain stitch family and worked in a similar manner to basic chain stitch but with an added step of twisting the thread round the needle after each chain loop. The extra loop between chain stitches creates a link between the chains.

Cable chain is used as a linear stitch on both plain and even-weave fabrics.  As with basic chain stitch this version follows curves well.It is pleasant stitch to work because you can develop a good easy paced rhythm.

The sample above is an experimental piece of Cable Chain stitch worked in a variety of unusual threads. Unusual in the sense that they are threads embroiderers would not necessarily normally select. The top is a hand dyed crochet cotton that is the same thickness as cotton perle#5. Second down is a fine knitting yarn. The dark blue line in the middle of the sample is also a knitting yarn. The line of stitching second from the bottom is a hand dyed crochet cotton. The bottom line a knitting cotton.

How to work Cable Chain Stitch

Bring the needle up through the fabric on the line you want to work.

Step by step tutorial on Cable chain stitch 1
Slip your needle under the thread as illustrated above. With the needle under the thread hold the thread with the left thumb and twist the thread around the needle once.

Step by step tutorial on Cable chain stitch 2

Point the needle back into the hole it emerged from. Push the thread down the shaft of the needle, so the loop sits close to the fabric. You want a firm but not tight loop around the needle.

Bring the needle out below the loop and wrap the thread under the needle point as you would for basic chain stitch.

Step by step tutorial on Cable chain stitch 3

Pull the thread through the fabric and you have created your first cable chain stitch.

Step by step tutorial on Cable chain stitch 4Repeat these steps along the line working a row from the top down.

Step by step tutorial on Cable chain stitch 5Cable chain stitch is a very quick and versatile stitch which is interesting on its own or worked in combination with other stitches.

You can also lace and thread this stitch with a contrasting yarn or a bead can be stitched to the middle of each chain.

Step by step tutorial on Cable chain stitch sample 2I hope you enjoy experimenting with this stitch.

Have you seen my book?

holding my book in front of quilt

My book The Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design: Simple Stitches, Stunning Results shares detailed practical methods on how to design and make a crazy quilt. Topics such as fabric choice, tricky challenges like balancing colour, texture and pattern, and how to create movement to direct your viewer’s eye around the block are covered in detail. I also explain how to stitch and build decorative seam treatments in interesting and creative ways. My book is profusely illustrated as my aim is to be practical and inspiring.

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57 Responses to How to hand embroider Cable Chain Stitch

  1. vero says:

    j’ai aussi fini celui ci j’essaie de rattraper mon retard merci

  2. Liz Figures says:

    dear sharon, i missed the date but putting this here anyway just for the record.

  3. Latha says:

    I like chain stitch…but this with knots , not my favourite. Here is the sample work.

  4. Debbie says:

    Just making it under the wire! My samples for Cable Chain stitch:

  5. libbyQ says:

    a fun stitch. i attempted to use a fine wire as a thread but ultimately resorted back to a metallic thread for the stocking addition.

  6. Lucy Landry says:

    This is a great stitch. It took me a while to finish, but here is my sample.

  7. Annet says:

    I shared 2 samples today, one on my new Aida sampler and another on a project I’m working on:

  8. Anneliese says:
    I posted another sample – a bowl made of cable chain stitches

  9. This week I had problems with the new stitch and with my connection to the Internet but here is now my Cable Chain stitch. It is not a very easy stitch but at last I got it.

  10. Maureen says:

    A lovely stitch. My 2 samples are at both

    WordPress has old samples and some variations as well.

  11. Rose says:

    Whew I did it. Took me four attempts and then watching a video of someone doing it before I got the hang of it. Is not going on my favorite stitch list! I had to be vigilant with where my thread was and I may have been working with too long of a needle. Picture posted on Flickr, and here
    Will try and get a better picture in the morning.

  12. Nancilyn says:

    You can view my cable chains so far at
    and while you are there please check my catch-up work.

  13. jacqui boyd says:

    This week I kept it simple so rushing for the deadline like most weeks. See my cable chain stitch here

  14. At last I think I can leave it alone 🙂 I got very involved with the variations you can try and I hope you have time to take a look?

  15. Marjolein says:

    Sorry, I gave the wrong link.
    I used the cable chain stitch to create stamens and a pistil. You can find them here:

  16. Marjolein says:

    I used the cable chain stitch to create stamens and a pistil. You can find them here:

  17. Here is my practice band:
    Once I got it worked out (row two), it worked pretty easily but I still have trouble keeping my chains open and of equal length…

  18. Hello
    I have post my sample for the week here:
    I have a great pleasure to discover this new stitch
    Thanks Sharon

  19. Shami Immanuel says:

    Hi sharon

    Here is my simple trials for this weeks challenge.

    Shami Immanuel.

  20. Gayle Schipper says:

    Another one completed! I just may make it until the end of the year this time. Here is my cable chain:

  21. Claudia says:

    Hi Sharon and everyone,
    happy having learned a new stitch I will surely use in future.
    Here my attempt:
    Thanks , Sharon, for this great possibility to learn new stitches!
    Happy Stitching!

  22. leelagovind says:

    yesterday i tried this stitch in the form of 2 necklaces ..thank you sharon for giving chance to every embroidery lovers to try and share different stitches as per their ideas..very interesting!! iam posting my trial here..

  23. Hi Sharon,
    I tried combining the cable chain stitch with other stitches on my blog, the details are here-
    thank you,

  24. Annet says:

    No sampler yet, but a little tutorial. I had to change my thread when my cable chain stitch row was halfway. I wrote about it here:

  25. Hi Sharon, such a lovely stitch….I truly love this one !!
    You can see my sample here………………
    chris richards

  26. I tried this stich for the first time, and found it quite good.

  27. Laurel says:

    Here’s my second TASK project:

    I am having sooo much fun!

    Thanks, Sharon.

  28. Hi Sharon,
    Had fun with this stitch.
    My post will go up on my blog on June 22. and I posted the image and part of the post to Flikr.

  29. Hello Sharon,
    I can’t type in comment section with my system, so i am typing from another system.
    I really enjoyed this week’s stitch challenge and I think I came up with new stitch but I am not sure if its already there. The details are in my blog.

  30. Kippy Honda says:

    joining in with my first submission here:

    thank you for visiting and please follow too 🙂

  31. Luiz Vaz says:

    Hi Sharon & Friends,
    my post for the week. I hope you enjoy it. Thank you all!

  32. Hi Sharon,
    Variations of cable chain stitch which I had worked earlier in this challenge are here-
    Thank you,

  33. Debbie says:

    Whew, took a while for me to get the hang of this stitch, but here it is:

  34. crazypatch says:

    Voici mon ouvrage de la semaine pour le point de chainette cablé.

  35. Christina says:

    Again, a knot, and therefore not my favourite. Hope for something more symetrical next week.

  36. Angela says:

    This is another new stitch to me. I am grateful I could wrap my head around it and have put samples on my blog.

  37. Hi Sharon,
    You can find my latest addition to the mandala at:
    have a nice day, Jessica

  38. Ohhh! EEEEP! THis is my favorite stitch!!

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