Mug cozy knitting pattern with simple cable details

A free and easy pattern for a knitted mug cozy with a beautiful cable pattern in the center

Is your coffee mug constantly too hot or does your tea get cold too fast? Then a knitted mug cozy is what you need! It’s a great project for beginners to learn some new knitting stitches and a cute little present on top of that.

That’s why I put together a free cabled mug cozy knitting pattern for you. I’ll show you every step from beginning to end so you can easily knit along. And the best part: You should be able to finish this in one afternoon.

A knitted mug cozy with cables in the middle and tea in the background

If you are just starting out, meaning you haven’t knit a single stitch, I would kindly point you towards my easy coaster pattern or my tutorial on how to knit a scarf. It’s not that this mug cozy is particularly hard, but you will need to know 3 stitches instead of just one. But don’t be scared, I’ll have easy to follow video tutorials for each and every one of them!

You see, cables only look very complicated. They are actually pretty easy to knit. It basically just boils down to knitting stitches in a different order using a cable needle to “park” stitches. You can create a very intricate pattern with this technique but at the end of the day, it’s still the simple knit stitch.

the finished mug cozy knitting pattern as seen from above

This mug cozy pattern will work for almost every mug or cup as long as it has a handle and is not conical (like the typical coffee-to-go cup). Since mugs come in a lot of different sizes, you will have to do your own measurements but it’s super simple and I’ll guide you through that process, big promise!

So, let’s dive right into it, eh?

Materials you’ll need

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the finished mug cozy knitting pattern as seen from above

Let’s talk about everything you need to knit this cabled mug cozy first. You can pick any yarn you like but I’d really stay away from pure acrylic yarns. As they can melt and burn, I don’t think they belong in a kitchen, to begin with. On top of that, they really don’t soak up a lot of moisture (in case you spill something). So, wool, cotton, or blends will be a better option!

Make sure the hole of your button is big enough for your tapestry needle; you can use a standard sewing needle and some thread to attach the button as well.

The mug Cozy knitting pattern

knitting the mug cozy - work in progress after about 30 rows

I already said it but I’ll mention it again: Mugs come in so many different shapes and sizes it would be impossible to provide a universal pattern with an exact stitch count that works for every yarn and knitter. So, you will have to adjust this pattern a tiny bit yourself (no need to be afraid, the process is pretty straightforward and easy!) and nothing an advanced beginner can’t handle.

Note: Here’s how to read knitting patterns in case you need to catch up first.

Important: A this point I recommend checking your gauge. So, simply hold your work in progress next to the mug and check if it’s the right height. If it’s too short or too tall, then you need to unravel and cast on more or fewer stitches (but always multiples of two).

And then, when you reach row 6, you would have to adjust the repeat. See those 5 knit stitches at the beginning and the end of that row? You can easily add or subtract from these knit stitches here. Maybe you only need 2 stitches as a selvage or 7. The correct number will entirely depend on your preferences and of course your mug.

Note: You will have to exchange the “knit 5” with your number throughout the rest of the pattern as well

  • Row 8: k5, Cable six back, cable six front, k5
    Read my tutorial on the cable stitch here; Essentially you are knitting two 3×3 cables next to each other. This knitting stitch pattern is called horseshoe cable.
  • Row 9: k5, p12, k5
  • Row 10: knit
  • Row 11: k5, p12, k5
  • Row 12: knit
  • Row 13: k5, p12, k5
  • Row 14: k5, C6B, C6F,k4

Repeat rows 9-14 until you can barely wrap your cozy in the making around your mug. Make sure you don’t knit too far. You can easily stretch your knitting for around a bit less than an inch. And you will need that for a nice fit.

In my case, my little mug has a circumference of 23 centimeters and I knit for 21 centimeters.

From here, I’ll present you with an easy finish for beginners and an advanced version with a rounded button clasp. After that, I’ll talk about finishing up the cozy.
Anyway, your last row before you start with the clasp should ideally have been a cable row (like row 14; but if it isn’t, it’s no big deal. BUt then your clasp will look a bit different)

knitting the buttonhole for the mug cozy - you need to do short rows

Version a (easy):

  • Row 1: k5, p12, k5
  • Row 2: cast off 5 stitches, k17
    Note: If you adjusted the pattern and cast on fewer (or more stitches), you will have to adjust the number of stitches you cast off here as well. BUT the amount will also depend on the size of the handle hole. If it’s really small, you may have to cast off even more stitches.
  • Row 3: cast off another 5 stitches, p12
  • Row 4: Bind off 1 stitch, Knit 5
    <turn the work around without finishing that row>
  • Row 5: p5
  • Row 6: k5
  • Row 7: p5
    cut off the yarn leaving a tail of 6-8 inches. You should have 5 stitches on one needle and 6 on the other.
  • Row 4b: Join in the yarn again and knit across those 6 stitches still left from row 4
  • Row 5b: Cast off 1 stitch, p5
  • Row 6b: k5
  • Row 7b: p5
  • Row 8: Join the two pieces together one more time by knitting across
  • Row 9: purl
  • Row 10: knit
  • Row 10: purl
  • Row 12: cast off the remaining 10 stitches

Important note: Depending on the size of your button, you may have to create a bigger buttonhole. To achieve that, simply repeat rows 6+7 (and 6b +7b) one more time (or two times if that’s required.

Also, if your mug has a really wide handle, you might have to squeeze in two more rows in stockinette stitch before round 4.

Version b (advanced):

a different more rouned version of the cozy clasp
  • Row 1: k5, p12, k5
  • Row 2: cast off 5 stitches, k17
  • Row 3: cast off another 5 stitches, p12
  • Row 4: SSK, k5
    <turn the work around without finishing that row>
  • Row 5: p5
  • Row 6: k5
  • Row 7: p5
    cut off the yarn leaving a tail of 6-8 inches. You should have 5 stitches on one needle and 6 on the other.
  • Row 4b: Join in the yarn again to knit the 6 stitches left from row 4, k4, k2tog
  • Row 5b: p5
  • Row 6b: k5
  • Row 7b: p5
  • Row 8: [Join the two pieces together] k4, C2B, k4 (this small “cable” will create a neater join at the top of the buttonhole)
  • Row 9: p1, p2tog, p4, p2tog tbl, p1 (8 stitches)
  • Row 10: k1, ssk, k2, k2tog, k1 (6 stitches)
  • Row 11: p1, p2tog, p2tog tbl, p1 (4 stitches)
  • Row 12: cast off 4 stitches (or you can knit 4 together centered)

Finishing your knitted mug cozy

weaving in the tails with a tapestry needle to finish the cozy

Once you finished the last row, you can cut the yarn leaving a tail of 6-8 inches, and pull it through the last stitch. You will end up with altogether 4 tails and we need to weave them in on the backside. Make sure to read my tutorial on weaving in ends.

For garter stitch, I recommend going horizontally (try to spear through the legs of those stitches). And then go into the other direction one more time, and cut the rest of the tail. Your little mug cozy won’t see a lot of wear and tear, so there’s no need to turn this process into rocket science.

attaching the button to the mug cozy with a tapestry needle

And, last but not least, you need to attach your button. I placed it at the very base of the first horseshoe cable. And then, just sew it to the fabric using a bit of spare yarn or some sewing thread. Make sure you leave a bit of room in between the button and your knitting (so, don’t pull too tightly as you sew).

Congratulations, you finished knitting your mug cozy!

close-up of the glasp with the button to bridge the handle of the mug

You may consider blocking your finished cozy. This means, soaking it for a couple of minutes in lukewarm water and then pinning it to a soft surface (like a towel on your carpet) or a special blocking mat without overstretching. This will help to even out the stitches and the edges.

A easy mug cozy knitting pattern with cable stitch details

Please note that the beginning of this knitted mug cozy will always have a somewhat rounded edge. That’s because cables are less stretchy and have a different gauge than the surrounding fabric. It may look a bit weird when flat but do remember that this part needs to fit the handle, so the slight outward curve is actually an advantage.

Reading tip: 10 easy projects for knitting beginners

Anyway, I really hope you enjoyed this mug cozy knitting pattern. Feel free to comment below in case you have any questions.

an easy mug cozy knitting pattern with cable stitch details

19 thoughts on “Mug cozy knitting pattern with simple cable details”

  1. Great pattern Norman. Never done cable before so this was a brilliant introduction and so well explained. Got a little confused with bind off and cast off but assumed they are the same thing.
    Can’t wait to start another of your projects.

  2. Norman, Thanks for the pattern! I’m stuck on the Version A Button hole. I don’t know how to join in the working yarn in row 4b. I don’t have a tail in that row so I’m not sure where to tie on. Once joined on, do I work 4b looking at the wrong side? Or another way to say it, start working 4b from the button hole, working to the edge? Thanks!

  3. Thanks for the pattern, Norman! For Version A when I turn my work around before Row 5, I have 5 stitches on the left needle and 6 on the right. Is this correct? Because when I continue the pattern I end up with all stitches on one needle after completing Row 7. I’m a beginner knitter so maybe I’m missing something?

    • Hey SK,
      yes you should have 6 stitches on one side and 5 on the other. that’s correct. As you knit along, the stitches will be one the same needle from time to time – except you are using a spare needle.

    • Hi. Really loving this patter.
      But, I have this same problem: for both versions, I have all 11 stitches on one needle after row 7.

      This is why:
      I am working with all stitches until the end of row three.

      Row 4 k for 5 stitches only: I end up with five on one, six on the other. Turn around.
      Row 5 p for 5 stitches only: I end up with all on one needle. Turn around.
      Row 6 k for 5 stitches only: I end up with five on one, six on the other. Turn around.
      Row 7 p for 5 stitches only: I end up with all on one needle.

      So, after Row 7, when your pattern says “you should have 5 stitches on one needle and 6 on the other” I don’t.

      I must be doing something wrong! Would love some help.

      • I’m having a lot of trouble with the strap as well. I’ve tried it twice and I can’t get it right! In step 4, do you need to put the row of stitches you don’t finish on another needle, to join in later? If I turn the work around and continue knitting, I also end up with all stitches on one needle, and I can’t just move 5 stitches to the other needle because then the new yarn is all the way at the beginning of the row. A picture at this stage might help! Thank you!

        • hm…well i don’t have the time yet to do a video.
          At the end of the day, you can always slip the stitches on a stitch holder (say a security pin, a spare needle with needle stoppers, even 3 stitch holder smight work)

          • Thanks for your quick response! I do have a spare needle — I just wanted to confirm that you’re moving the five stitches onto a third needle to reserve for later? It wasn’t explicit in the instructions and I’m a beginner so I just want to make sure I do the right thing next try. Thanks!

          • Hm, I guess I don’t understand at all what I’m doing wrong then! 🙁 If anyone else has had this problem and had any luck figuring it out I’d love to know so I can finish the project!

          • Ashley, you are probably not doing anything significant wrong. Just slip those stitches to a stitch holder an carry-on. This is not an issue to loose sleep over!

  4. Love your beautiful designs, and want to try this except as a neck warmer. I was thinking of using the end to cross over to the button on the main design. Thank you, you’re much appreciated!


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