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 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.

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.


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


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.

cn=cable needle
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.

Looking for more tutorials and DIY projects? Check out my What I Made page!

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  • Rachel

    Ooh that’s pretty! Perfect for winter-especially if I can pull it over my ears! Thanks so much, I’ll be linking as well.

  • marea

    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

    • Rachel

      Yay, I hope your sister likes it! Thank you :-)

  • Roe

    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?

    • Rachel

      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.

  • alyce

    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!

  • RachelG

    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??

    • Rachel

      Hi RachelG, sorry you’re having trouble! The only thing I can think of is that maybe you didn’t switch which side of the knitting you were holding the cable needle on. So in row 3 you should be holding it in front of the rest of the stitches, and in row 7 it should be behind them. Here are some pictures of what I mean. Front: Back:
      Let me know if this helps!

      • Rachelg

        Yep, you’re absolutely right!! I definitely was not doing that. I tried it again the right way and it looks perfect :) thank you so much!! Next time I better pay closer attention to instructions!!

        • Rachel

          So glad I could help and that you figured it out. And now you know how to do cables, yay!

    • Han

      the same thing happened to me, but it was simply my misreading of the directions. Also my first attempt at a cable knit, and it is surprisingly easy! Thanks so much for this great beginner pattern, I’m making one for myself and my mom! :)

  • Lesley

    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.

    • admin

      Lesley, I’m so glad you liked it! Cabling is easier than it looks, isn’t it?
      Stay warm :-)

  • Maxien

    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.

    • Rachel

      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!

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  • Kelsey

    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.

    • Rachel

      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:
      Hope that helps!

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  • vanessa

    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

  • JennyMuc

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

    • Rachel

      You’re so welcome! I’m really glad it worked for you, and I hope that it helped demystify cabling a bit :-)

  • sugarbite

    Thank you so much for making my Christmas gift list possible. You rock!!!!

    Happy Holidays :)

    • Rachel

      So glad to help!

  • Halldora

    Oh I like this one very much…. Simple and lovely.
    Have started one already, and hopefully it will make a lovely christmas present :-)
    Thank you!

  • Marie


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

    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 :)

    • Rachel

      Marie, I’m so glad you like the pattern, and I’d be delighted if you translated it into Norwegian. Please send me a link if you end up translating it!
      Thanks so much!

  • Christianne

    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!

  • Kendall

    This headband is gorgeous! I do not know how to knit though! Are you by any chance selling one?

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  • francine

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

    • Rachel

      Francine, thanks so much! I’m so glad you found my blog, too!

  • E. Marie

    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!

    • Rachel

      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!

  • Knits-a-lot

    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!!

    • Rachel

      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 :-)

  • Holly

    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?

    • Rachel

      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.

    • Han

      No need for circular needles here! Just your average pair of straight needles will do.

  • Meg Smith

    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

      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

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

  • Nikki_Frank

    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!

    • transientexpression

      Nikki_Frank, so glad you like it!

  • Kay

    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
    Very fun project.

    • Rachel

      Kay, I’m so glad it worked well for you, and thanks so much for letting me know! Good luck with the next one :-)

  • Amy

    What does it mean to block?

  • Aquaria

    10.5 size needles…is this mm or U.S sizes?

    • erica

      (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)

  • Bridget Kenahan

    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 :)

    • Rachel

      Bridget, hooray! Sorry for the hours of frustration, though–I hope it was worth it in the end.

  • Bess

    If I wanted to make this a little wider, how / where would I do the increase?

  • Andrea

    Absolutely love this pattern!

  • Courtney

    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!

  • Steph

    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.

  • Veronika

    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!

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