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  3. Knit i-cord: The Essentials

Knit i-cord: The Essentials

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Making an i-Cord is a quick and easy way to create a beautiful knit cord which can be incorporated into many projects. A few of my favorite uses for i-Cord are as the ties for ear flap hats (as in my toddler hat) or as a cord to gather the waist band of a skirt, pants or a sweater.

More i-Cord patterns are at the end of the page, under the instructions.

The i-Cord technique has been documented in a printed pattern as early as 1856. A book entitled The Finchley Manuals of Industry No IV. Plain Needle-Work calls this technique a "stay-lace" and offers a quick explanation of how to create this type of cording. In 1974, Elizabeth Zimmerman “rediscovered” this quick and easy way to create a lovely knit cord, which she dubbed the i-Cord (because, she believed it to be so simple an "idiot" could do it). It being a rather simple technique, once you get the knack for it, making i-Cord can be relatively mindless (always a bonus for those of us who sneak our knitting time into a few of the calm moments of a fully packed day).

More i-Cord patterns are at the end of the page, under the instructions.

i-Cord on DPNs

Knitting an i-Cord on double-pointed needles (dpns) is simple. To knit i-Cord lacing you will cast on a small number of stitches (usually between 3 –6 stitches) and, instead of turning your work at the end of the row, you slide it to the other end of the needle and carry on knitting. This results in “knitting in the round,” but with a very few numbers of stitches.

Begin by casting on the desired number of stitches with any weight yarn and a comfortable size needle for that yarn. In my example I’ve chosen Red Heart Soft Baby Steps in Elephant and size 8 needles.

In this example, we will create an i-Cord using 3 stitches.

Cast on (CO) 3 stitches.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Now slide those CO stitches to the right side of the needle.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Bringing the working yarn around the back of the knit stitches, simply knit the stitches (on what has become the left-hand needle).

Knit iCord: The Essentials

This is what your work will look like when you complete the first row.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Again, slide the stitches from the left side of the needle to the right side.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Knit theses stitches.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

This is how your work will look when you’ve completed the second row (and tugged on the tail).

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Repeat these steps until the i-Cord reaches your desired length.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

To finish, cut yarn and thread through the stitches on your needle. Pull tight. You can use a yarn needle to thread the ends up through the i-Cord.

i-Cord Cast On

If you are looking to add a decorative element as you cast on, the i-Cord cast on creates a lovely finished look for the bottom of sweaters knit from the bottom to the top.

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Slip stitches knit-wise.

First you will cast on 3 stitches (on your right needle).

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Slip those stitches onto the left needle.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Knit into the front and back of the first stitch (KFB), this is an increase.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

You will have 4 stitches on your right needle when you finish this row:

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Slip 3 of the 4 stitches to the left needle.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Kfb into first stitch and knit the 2 remaining stitches, you will have 5 stitches on the right needle.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Continue to slip 3 stitches from the right needle to the left, KFB of first stitches and knit the last 2 until you have the desired number of stitches PLUS 2 on your right-hand needle.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

To finish, slip 3 stitches onto the left needle.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Knit the first 2 stitches together (k2tog), then knit the last stitch.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Slip 2 stitches from the right needle to the left.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Knit those 2 stitches together.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

At this point, the front of your work will be facing you, so if you want to work stocking stitch, you will want to purl your second row (and knit the 3rd row, etc.).

Knit iCord: The Essentials

icord Cast Off

Another way to dress up your work is to use the i-Cord Cast Off. Using this method of casting off works very well for bowls and purses (especially filled/felted pieces), as it adds a lovely finished edge to your piece. In this example I've used Red Heart Soft in Turquoise.

When you are ready to cast off your work, you will first need to cast on 3 additional stitches (the backwards loop method will work well for this application).

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Knit the first 2 stitches.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Knit the first 2 stitches.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Slip all the stitches back onto the left needle.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Repeat these steps -Knit the first 2 stitches.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

K2tog (through the back loop).

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Slip all the stitches back onto the left needle.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

After a few more repeats, the i-Cord will begin to become more pronounced.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Finishing:

When there are 3 stitches left on the right needle, slip them to the left needle.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

K2tog and knit 1.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Slip 2 remaining stitches back onto the left needle.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

K2tog.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Cut yarn and thread tail through the last loop.

Knit iCord: The Essentials

Weave in the end.

Now that you know how to tackle the 3 most used i-Cord techniques, here are a few more patterns which use the i-Cord.

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