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I-Cord is one of those things that has a zillion and one uses and is easy-as-pie to make.

For more uses for I-Cord, see Knitting WorkShop by Elizabeth Zimmermann, published by Schoolhouse Press.


K = Knit
Sl 1 = Slip one st knitways
PSSO = Pass slipped stitch over


Plain I-Cord

Plain I-cord

Plain I-cord

Cast on 3, 4, 5 or 6 sts using double pointed needles.
Knit, don’t turn.

Slip the sts back to the beginning of the needle and k the row again.

Continue in this manner until you have a short length of knitting, pull down on the cord and the gap at the back will close.

Continue until the cord is the length you desire.

Thread the yarn through the sts and pull firmly.

Applied I-Cord Edging

Applied I-cord

Applied I-cord

This example uses 4 sts but you can use any small number. 3 or 4 sts usually look best.

This edging works best on a base of garter st because it doesn’t curl like st st does.

Pick up 1 st for each st/ridge (1 ridge = 2 rows) of your knitted piece.

Cast on 4 sts and put these 4 sts on a new needle. Work as follows:
K3, Sl 1 knitways, K1 (from picked up sts on edge of work), PSSO.

Repeat until you have finished all the sts you picked up around your work. If you are working around a rectangle like I did graft the ends together for a neat finish, otherwise, thread the yarn through the sts and pull firmly.

You can apply as many rows of I-Cord as you wish, make sure to pick up the sts evenly for a neat finish. The image above shows 2 rows of applied I-Cord.

Working Applied I-Cord Around Corners

If you work more than one row of applied I-cord you will need to increase around any corners to avoid the I-Cord bunching up.

Here’s how you do it:
Work as for applied I-Cord up to your corner.

Work 2 or 3 rows as for plain I-Cord

Continue working as for applied I-Cord.

I-Cord Decorations


I-cord knots and lacing

I-cord knots and lacing

Work two eyelets 2 sts apart in your knitting thus: YO, (K2tog) twice, YO

Thread the I-Cord up through the first eyelet, tie a knot, thread it back through the second eyelet.
Secure neatly at the back of your knitting.

Another version is to run the I-Cord through a row of evenly spaced eyelets without knotting it.

The knotted i-cord in the photograph above has two rows of eyelets in the main knitting. The i-cord is threaded through the bottom row of eyelets from the back, tied in a knot, then threaded through the top row of eyelets directly above.

Sew it on!

I-cord flower

I-cord flower

I-Cord can also be sewn on in an infinite variety of ways.

You can sew it on invisibly by catching down the sts neatly at the back.

You can tack it down with a simple running st.

Couch it down with cross st and a decorative yarn…

Use it to make spirals, snails, snakes, flowers, lattice effects, braid it for faux cables…
Your imagination is the limit!