I have been seeing i-cord techniques in so many patterns. This technique creates lovely details on garments, but don’t let the look of it deceive you. It really is quite a simple technique once you get the hang of it. I thought it might help to do a quick post talking about what i-cord is, and how it is incorporated into knitting.
What is i-cord?
In its simplest form, i-cord is a very small amount of stitches knit in the round. It can be used to knit long corded segments for things like tying on a wrapped sweater, or a little chin strap for a baby’s hat.
The trick of the i-cord technique is that instead of using multiple double-pointed needles or using a cable for the tiniest magic loop, you just knit it using two double-pointed needles.
How to make it?
Usually when you knit on two needles, you would work to the end of the row, then turn the work. However, when working an i-cord, when you work to the end of your stitches, you simply slide the stitches from the left side of your double pointed needle back over to the right side of the needle, for you to start knitting the stitches again. It might feel strange, but you just pull the working yarn around the back of the stitches. Because you have so few, the stitches take up the space on the back and form a small tube. Watch the video below to see the technique in action.
How is it used?
I-cord can be incorporated into knitting in many ways. Here are 4 of the main ways that it is used:
1. You can simply use it as a cord. As I mentioned above, you can use i-cord to tie up a wrapped garment, create a chin strap to hold on a hat, or as loops to hang dishcloths or ornaments.
2. Casting on with i-cord. You can cast on using an i-cord technique, leaving you with a beautiful edge. This can be a nice way to finish the edge without having to do more steps later. Of course, because it is a cast on, there are some additional steps to the plain i-cord. But the idea of knitting with your yarn coming around the back of the work is the same.
3. Casting off with i-cord. Just like the cast on leaves you with a nice edge at the cast on, the i-cord cast off is a great way to finish off your work. You slowly reduce your stitches while sliding a small set of them back so that you are bringing the working yarn around from the back.
4. Creating a beautiful edge on your flat knit work. This creates a cord look along the side edge of your knitting. It has almost a border effect, making it look like you took extra time to finish off the edges, but you can just add this in as you go.
I hope this was a useful introduction into i-cords and that you can see that it is a simple technique to incorporate into your knitting. And with how elegant it looks, you can see why pattern makers are including it in their patterns. We hope you will give making i-cord a try in your next project.