How to Knit an I Cord Edge

How to Knit an I Cord Edge

When it comes to knitting, the finishing touches can make all the difference in the final look and durability of your project. One technique that can add a touch of professionalism and polish to your knitting is the i-cord edge. I-cord, or “idiot cord”, as it is sometimes called, is a simple way to create a smooth, rounded edge that is perfect for finishing off blankets, scarves, and other items. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of knitting an i-cord edge, so you can achieve that perfect finishing touch on your next project.

The i-cord edge is created by working a small tube of knitting along the edge of your project, and then attaching it to the main piece. This technique not only gives your project a clean, finished look, but it also adds extra stability and durability to the edge. It is especially useful for items that will receive a lot of wear and tear, such as the edges of a blanket or the handles of a bag.

To knit an i-cord edge, you will need a set of double-pointed needles, or a circular needle if you prefer to use the magic loop method. You will also need a small amount of yarn in the same weight and fiber as your main project. It’s a good idea to choose a yarn color that complements or contrasts with your main project, depending on the effect you want to achieve.

Ready to get started? Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of knitting an i-cord edge for the perfect finishing touch on your knitting projects.

Choose Your Yarn and Needle Size

When it comes to selecting the yarn for your I cord edge, consider the weight and fiber content. You want a yarn that is similar in weight to the rest of your project, so it blends in seamlessly. If your main project is made with a bulky yarn, a bulky or super bulky yarn for the I cord would be suitable. If your project is made with a finer weight yarn, use a similar weight yarn for the I cord.

As for the fiber content, choose a yarn that complements or matches your main project. If you’re making a scarf with wool yarn, using a wool or wool-blend yarn for the I cord would be a good choice. However, you can also experiment with different textures and fibers to create interesting contrasts.

Once you’ve chosen your yarn, you’ll need to select the appropriate needle size. Look at the label or ball band of your yarn to find the recommended needle size range. For the I cord edge, you’ll want to use a needle size that is slightly smaller than the one recommended for your yarn. This helps create a tight and sturdy edge that won’t curl or loosen over time.

Yarn Weight Recommended Needle Size I Cord Needle Size
Fingering US 1 – 3 (2.25 – 3.25 mm) US 0 – 2 (2 – 2.75 mm)
Sport US 3 – 5 (3.25 – 3.75 mm) US 2 – 4 (2.75 – 3.5 mm)
Worsted US 7 – 9 (4.5 – 5.5 mm) US 6 – 8 (4 – 5 mm)
Bulky US 10 – 11 (6 – 8 mm) US 9 – 10.5 (5.5 – 6.5 mm)
Super Bulky US 13 – 19 (9 – 16 mm) US 11 – 15 (8 – 10 mm)

These are just general guidelines, and you may need to adjust the needle size based on your tension and desired outcome. Be sure to swatch and measure your gauge before starting the I cord edge to ensure the best results.

Once you have your yarn and needle size selected, you’re ready to start knitting your I cord edge!

Cast On Stitches

Before you can start knitting an I Cord edge, you’ll need to cast on your stitches. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Hold the knitting needle with your non-dominant hand and leave a long tail of yarn.
  2. Make a slipknot by folding the yarn and passing the end through the loop.
  3. Slide the slipknot onto the needle and tighten it.
  4. Hold the needle with the slipknot in your dominant hand.
  5. With your non-dominant hand, grip the long tail of yarn and make a loop around your thumb, crossing the working yarn over the tail.
  6. Slide the needle under the loop on your thumb from front to back.
  7. Bring the needle over the working yarn from back to front and catch the working yarn with the needle.
  8. Gently slide the loop off your thumb and tighten it onto the needle.
  9. Repeat steps 5-8 until you have cast on the desired number of stitches.
  10. Once all stitches are cast on, you’re ready to start knitting your I Cord edge!

It’s important to make sure your stitches are not too tight or too loose. Experiment with the tension until you find a comfortable balance. Happy knitting!

Join the I Cord to Your Project

After you have completed making your I cord edge, it’s time to join it to your project. Follow these steps to seamlessly incorporate the I cord into your knitting:

  1. Thread the I cord onto a tapestry needle – Take the I cord and thread it through a tapestry needle. Make sure the needle is large enough to accommodate the thickness of the I cord.
  2. Identify the stitch where you want to join the I cord – Determine the stitch on your knitting project where you want to attach the I cord. This could be along the edge, or any other designated location.
  3. Insert the needle from back to front – With the I cord thread, insert the needle from the back of your project (on the wrong side) into the desired stitch on the front side of your project (right side). Pull the needle through until the I cord thread is taut. Leave a small tail of the I cord thread to weave in later.
  4. Insert the needle back into the I cord – Insert the needle back into the I cord, making sure to catch a few strands of the yarn to secure the I cord in place. Repeat this step a few times to reinforce the attachment.
  5. Continue joining the I cord – Move along the project, following the stitch pattern or desired placement, and repeat steps 1-4 to join the I cord edge at each desired location.

Remember to always adjust the tension of the I cord thread as you join it to ensure a smooth and even appearance. Trim any excess I cord thread at each attachment point and weave in the ends to create a seamless finish.

Knit the I Cord

Once you have cast on your desired number of stitches for the I cord, you are ready to start knitting.

Step 1: Hold the double-pointed needles together in your right hand, with the working yarn at the back.

Step 2: Insert the right-hand needle through the first stitch on the left-hand needle, as if to knit.

Step 3: Wrap the yarn around the right-hand needle from back to front.

Step 4: Pull the right-hand needle and the yarn through the stitch, creating a new stitch on the right-hand needle. Slip the original stitch off the left-hand needle.

Step 5: Repeat steps 2 to 4 until you have knitted all the stitches on the left-hand needle. The I cord should now be hanging down from the right-hand needle.

Note: Make sure to keep the tension of the yarn consistent throughout the I cord.

Step 6: Slide the stitches to the other end of the double-pointed needles, so that the right-hand needle becomes the left-hand needle in your hand.

Step 7: Repeat steps 2 to 6 until the I cord reaches the desired length.

Note: The I cord should have a smooth, tubular appearance without any twisting or curling.

Tip: If you are new to knitting or find it challenging to knit with double-pointed needles, you can also use a circular needle to knit the I cord. Simply knit the I cord back and forth on the circular needle, treating the two needle tips as if they were double-pointed needles.

Step 8: Once the I cord is the desired length, cut the yarn, leaving a tail of about 6 inches.

Step 9: Thread the tail through the stitches on the needle, making sure to keep the tension even.

Step 10: Remove the stitches from the needle and pull the tail tight to close the end of the I cord.

Congratulations! You have successfully knitted an I cord edge for a perfect finishing touch to your project.

Adjust the Tension

When knitting an I cord edge, it’s important to pay attention to the tension of your knitting. Tension refers to how tightly or loosely you hold the yarn as you knit. The tension can greatly affect the final result of your I cord edge.

Here are some tips for adjusting the tension:

  1. Avoid knitting too tightly: If you knit too tightly, your I cord edge may end up looking puckered or gathered. To avoid this, try to relax your grip on the yarn and let it flow naturally through your fingers.
  2. Don’t knit too loosely: On the other hand, if you knit too loosely, your I cord edge may appear floppy or loose. This can result in an inconsistent and messy finish. Make sure that you have a firm but not overly tight grip on the yarn.
  3. Practice with different tension levels: It’s a good idea to practice knitting the I cord edge with different tension levels to see which one gives you the desired result. You can experiment by knitting a small swatch of the I cord edge and adjusting your tension until you are happy with the appearance.
  4. Take breaks: Knitting with the same tension for a long period of time can cause your muscles to tense up, leading to changes in your knitting tension. Take breaks frequently and stretch your hands to maintain a consistent tension throughout.

Remember, adjusting the tension is a personal preference and may vary depending on the yarn and needles you are using. Take your time to find the right tension that gives you the perfect finish for your I cord edge.

Continue Knitting the I Cord

Once you have cast on the desired number of stitches for your I Cord, you can start knitting.

  1. Hold the knitting needle with the cast on stitches in your right hand and the working yarn in your left hand.
  2. Insert the right needle into the first stitch on the left needle as if to knit.
  3. Bring the working yarn around the back of the right needle and between the two needles.
  4. Wrap the working yarn around the right needle counterclockwise, forming a loop.
  5. Pull the right needle and the working yarn through the loop.
  6. Slide the stitch off the left needle and onto the right needle.
  7. Repeat steps 2-6 to continue knitting the I Cord.

Make sure to keep a consistent tension throughout your knitting to ensure an even and smooth I Cord.

You can knit the I Cord for as long as needed for your project. To finish off the I Cord, simply cast off the stitches and weave in any loose ends.

Bind Off the I Cord

After you have reached the desired length for your I Cord, it’s time to bind off to secure the stitches and finish the edge.

  1. First, slip the first stitch from the right needle onto the left needle.
  2. Knit the next two stitches together.
  3. Using the left needle, lift the first stitch over the second stitch and off the needle, leaving one stitch on the right needle.
  4. Knit the remaining stitch on the right needle.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 until only one stitch remains on the right needle.

After binding off, cut the yarn, leaving a tail long enough to weave in later.

Congratulations! You have successfully bound off the I Cord and completed the edge with a neat and secure finish. Now you can enjoy the beautiful result and move on to the next step of your knitting project.

Weave in Ends and Block Your Project

Once you have completed knitting your project and are satisfied with the finished edges using the I Cord technique, you will need to weave in any loose ends and block the project to give it a professional finish. This process helps to flatten the stitches, even out the tension, and make the finished item look polished and neat.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to weave in ends and block your project:

Weaving In Ends

  • Step 1: Cut the yarn end, leaving a tail that is long enough to be woven in.
  • Step 2: Thread the yarn tail onto a yarn needle.
  • Step 3: Starting from the back of the work, weave the needle in and out of the stitches along the edge of the project, making sure to catch the yarn strands while being careful not to pull too tightly.
  • Step 4: Repeat the weaving process in a different direction to secure the end firmly. Trim any excess yarn.

Blocking Your Project

  • Step 1: Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water.
  • Step 2: Place your project into the water, gently pressing it down to ensure it is fully submerged.
  • Step 3: Let the project soak for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Step 4: Carefully remove the project from the water, squeezing out any excess moisture.
  • Step 5: Lay a clean, dry towel on a flat surface and place the project on top.
  • Step 6: Gently shape the project to the desired dimensions, smoothing out any wrinkles or unevenness.
  • Step 7: Pin the edges of the project to the towel to hold it in place and prevent it from shrinking.
  • Step 8: Leave the project to air dry completely.

Once your project is dry, you can remove the pins and enjoy your beautifully finished knitted item. Remember to follow the care instructions specific to the type of yarn used to ensure the longevity of your project.


What is an I cord edge?

An I cord edge is a knitting technique that is used to create a smooth and finished edge on a project.

Why would I want to use an I cord edge?

An I cord edge is a great way to add a polished and professional finish to your knitting projects.

What materials do I need to knit an I cord edge?

To knit an I cord edge, you will need a pair of knitting needles and yarn that matches your project.

Can I use any stitch pattern to create an I cord edge?

Yes, you can use any stitch pattern to create an I cord edge. Just make sure to knit the I cord in the same stitch pattern as the rest of your project.

Is knitting an I cord edge difficult?

Knitting an I cord edge is not difficult, but it does require some basic knitting skills. If you are new to knitting, it might be helpful to practice the I cord edge technique on a small swatch before applying it to a larger project.


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