Monday, February 19, 2007

How to make an I-cord

includes a how to
We have Elizabeth Zimmerman to thank for popularizing this simple, knitted cord (as she did so many other wonderful knitting tricks). If the illustration isn't self-explanatory, here are some written directions:
click picturei cord
  1. Cast on 3 stitches on a double pointed needle (dpn). (For I-cord, I prefer the the "disappearing loop" method, but don't let this discourage you--ANY method of casting on 3 stitches will work very well.) Leave a tail dangling.
  2. Slide the stitches back along the dpn so that the ball yarn comes out of the left side of the 3 stitches, and the first stitch cast on lies on the right tip of the left needle.
  3. With a second dpn, pull the yarn around the back of the 3 stitches, and knit the first stitch on the right tip of the left needle from this position.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the I-cord is as long as you want.
  5. Cast off by threading a needle with the ball end of the yarn, run this yarn though all three stitches once or twice, drawing up tightly after each three stitches.
  6. Run the remaining tail through the middle of the cord, bring the needle out the side of the cord, snip the excess, and tug the I-cord to make the snipped tail slip back inside the I-cord forever. Repeat with the tail left over from casting on.
BTW: I-cord stands for "Idiot cord." Presumably the idea is that anyone could make one.
Related posts:
I-cord from a mill
I-cord with added curl (and maybe beads)
I-cord tassels


Anonymous said...

Hi TechKnitter!

Thanks for doing a post on this - I keep hearing about I-cord, but never knew how to do it and didn't want to have to ask how it was done. OK, now - what's the next step? How do you attach I-cord, as an edging on a garment or other piece?

--TECHknitter said...

Hi anonymous! Thanks for your question.

Attached I-cord comes under the category of edgings. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten to that subject quite yet (stay tuned).

However, here is a short preview: You can attach I-cord to a line of live loops along a garment edge by slipping one garment edge loop onto the left dpn between stitch 1 and 2 of the I-cord, or between stitch 2 and 3 of the I-cord, or between stitch 3 and 1 of the I-cord--experiment to see which you like best. You then knit the garment edge loop together with the I-cord stitch you've chosen. The rate of pick-up (1 garment edge loop for 1 I-cord row, 3 for 2, 2 for 3, 4 for 5, etc.) is another thing to experiment with. Further details with full illustrations will be in a future post!

Thanks again for your question.

Clair. St. Michel said...

Thank you for pointing out the myriad uses of this simple thing.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any tips for how to even out an uneven-looking, lumpy i-cord?

--TECHknitter said...

Hi anonymous--thanks for your question. There are two possible answers I could come up with.

First, there is always a loose-ish stitch where the yarn goes around the back--between stitch 3 and stitch 1 again. Over time and with sufficient stretching, that gap evens out. So if that's what you mean by "lumpy," then just wait for time and use--the great levelers--to do their work.

However, it is possible that the lumpiness comes from an inconsistency of knitting the last stitch. It's hard to get at that one, and the temptation is to knit it through the back loop (tbl).

(For an illustration of tbl, see the first picture in my 2-20-07 post about chain selvedges)

If you do this consistently, it doesn't create much of a problem AND IN FACT, it might even be a good idea--the path of the yarn through the stitch is more direct if you work tbl, so there is less yarn flopping around to feed the gap between stitches 3 and 1.

HOWEVER--if you SOMETIMES do knit tbl and sometimes don't, you'll get a lumpy product (I tried this out and that's what I got).

(Of course, a more simple explanation could be uneven tension of your hands, but I assume you've already thought of that...)

Hope this helps--


Kat said...

Your blog is simply amazing!! I'm not sure how I've managed to stumble along before I found you. :-)

Any chance of doing a post on correct knitting terminology? (The prevalent use of "binded off" and "casted on" are driving me absolutely insane. Oh, how about I-Chord??? I didn't know that someone had made musical knitting... LOL!)

Ober Minga said...

Awesome tutorial- and your diagrams and figures/pictures are superbly easy to understand.
I used your I-Cord tute to make a cable cover out of thin metal wire for an electronic project of mine.
You used to be able to by these cord semi-rigid covers- (like vintage telephone cord/cable)- but your tutorial has allowed me to make custom fit ones.
And also some silly woollen dog toys for my beloved Dackels (dachshunds).
I cannot knit to save my life- but I made a custom spool French Knitter (Spool knitter)- one day and I made 10 metres (about 10 yards).