Cables are a lot simpler than they look--a knitter's secret.
Practice on some simple ones. Cabling is just knitting stitches out of order. They are usually done in stockinette with reverse stockinette in the background to help them stand out.
You don't really need a special cable needle--a double pointed needle works fine. For a simple 6-stitch cable, slip 3 stitches onto a 'cable needle' and let that just hang in the front (or back) Knit 3 from your regular needle, then knit the 3 from the cable needle. Voila! A cable cross. You work a few rows of stockinette between the crosses.
Amy has video on how to do a cable.