Wrong side cable crosses

I had a question from a friend about how I work cable crosses on the wrong side.

There’s two parts to my answer:

  1. If it’s a right cross on the front side, it’s a right cross on the wrong side. If it’s a left cross on the front, it’s a left cross behind.
  2. If I’m using a cable needle, which I prefer for anything other than a 1/1 cross, the way I move the stitches around is identical on both sides; I just purl them on the wrong side instead of knitting. Otherwise, see after the cut.

If you look at a pair of cables on the right side, here’s the angles they might make. I’ve color-coded the stitches that cross in front with green (darker) and the ones that cross in back with yellow (lighter).

If I were to work these cables on the wrong side, I would need to turn my knitting over, and purl them. When I turn my knitting, it’s as if I’ve flipped the page of a book from side to side.


Here’s how those cables would look then.

Note that the yellow stitches are now on the near side of the knitting and the green stitches on the far side. In both cases, the yellow stitches make a \/ shape, while the green ones make a /\ shape.

On the right side version, the left cross is worked first, and the right cross second. On the wrong side version, because of the way the knitting’s been flipped over, the right cross is worked first, and the left cross second.

(Please let me know in comments if this doesn’t make any sense, and I’ll try to find another way to explain it.)

Okay, so, how to actually purl those crosses. It’s really much the same as knitting them, which I explained last week, except that the stitches are purled instead of knit. It’s still worth illustrating, however.

To work a 1/1 right purl cross, here’s what I do.


First, reach across the first stitch on the needle and purl it without removing it from the needle.


Then purl the first stitch on the needle and pull both the stitches off the needle.

To work a 1/1 left purl cross, here’s what I do:


First slip each of the next two stitches as if to knit.


Then slip them back in that same orientation. This puts the right leg of each of the stitches behind the needle, which makes it easier to reach the correct part of the stitch.


Reach behind the first stitch, and insert the needle into the back loop of the second stitch knitwise. Pull that leg across and behind the first stitch.


Hold it in place and remove the needle. Now purl the second stitch.


Here the second stitch has been purled and is peeking out from behind the first stitch. Purl the first stitch through the back loop, marked here with a star, and then remove both stitches from the left needle.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

3 thoughts on “Wrong side cable crosses”

  1. When I’m working a cross from the back, I cross my fingers in the way I want them to look on the front, then flip my hand over. I wiggle the finger that needs to be purled. It’s dorky, but it makes me feel better, left and right are really hard when I’m driving or navigating too.

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