How to Use Knitting Barber Cords

How to Use Knitting Barber Cords

Knitting is a popular craft that allows you to create beautiful and functional items using just a pair of needles and some yarn. One technique that can add a unique and interesting element to your knitted projects is the use of barber cords. Barber cords are decorative cords that are added to the edges of a knitting project to create a finished and polished look. In this guide, we will take a closer look at how to use barber cords in your knitting projects.

Barber cords are typically made using a contrasting color of yarn and a different stitch pattern than the main knitting project. This creates a striking effect and adds texture and depth to the finished piece. To use barber cords, you will need to have a good understanding of basic knitting techniques such as casting on, knitting, purling, and binding off.

Before you begin adding barber cords to your knitting project, it is essential to choose the right color and yarn weight. The color of the barber cord should complement the main color of your project while also providing a noticeable contrast. Additionally, the yarn weight of the barber cord should be similar to the yarn weight used in the main project to ensure that the finished piece feels cohesive and balanced.

To add barber cords to your knitting project, you will typically work them along the edges of your piece. This can be done by picking up stitches along the edge or by attaching the barber cord directly to the fabric using a crochet hook. Depending on the desired effect, you can choose to work the barber cord in a straight line or create decorative loops and twists.

Why use knitting barber cords?

Knitting barber cords are an essential tool for any knitter. They are versatile and offer several benefits that make them invaluable in a knitting project.

  • Ensures accurate stitch counting: Knitting barber cords help knitters keep track of their stitches, especially in complex patterns. By transferring a portion of stitches onto the cord, it allows you to count the remaining stitches easily.
  • Prevents dropped stitches: Barber cords are useful in preventing dropped stitches. By temporarily transferring stitches onto the cord, you can confidently continue your knitting project without the worry of losing stitches.
  • Allows for pattern adjustments: With knitting barber cords, you can make adjustments to your knitting pattern. By transferring stitches onto the cord, you can modify the pattern by adding or removing stitches, creating a unique design.
  • Facilitates trying on your work: Barber cords enable you to try on your work while it is still in progress. By transferring the stitches onto the cord, you can slide your project off the needles and onto the cord, allowing you to check the fit and make adjustments if necessary.
  • Facilitates joining pieces: Knitting barber cords are helpful when joining pieces of your knitting project. By transferring stitches onto the cord, you can easily connect multiple pieces together, ensuring a seamless and professional finish.

Overall, knitting barber cords are a must-have tool for any avid knitter. They offer convenience, versatility, and help in achieving precise and professional knitting results. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced knitter, knitting barber cords will undoubtedly enhance your knitting experience.

Choosing the right knitting barber cord

When it comes to knitting barber cords, there are several factors to consider in order to choose the right one for your project. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Material: Knitting barber cords can be made from various materials, including cotton, nylon, and elastic. The material you choose will depend on the type of project you are working on. For example, cotton barber cords are great for lightweight garments, while elastic cords are more suitable for stretchy fabrics.

Length: The length of the barber cord is another important factor. It should be long enough to comfortably fit around your knitting needles, but not too long that it becomes cumbersome to handle. Generally, a length of around 20-30 inches works well for most projects.

Elasticity: Some knitting barber cords come with varying levels of elasticity. If you are working on a project that requires a lot of stretching, such as socks or sleeves, opt for a cord with higher elasticity. Otherwise, a cord with minimal elasticity will suffice.

Thickness: The thickness of the barber cord can also affect your project. Thicker cords are more durable and can withstand heavier fabrics, while thinner cords are suitable for lighter materials. Consider the thickness of your yarn and choose a barber cord that complements it.

Color: While not a crucial factor, the color of your barber cord can add a touch of style to your knitting project. Choose a color that complements your yarn or opt for a contrasting color for a bold look.

By considering these factors when choosing a knitting barber cord, you can ensure that it meets your project’s requirements and helps make your knitting experience smoother and more enjoyable.

Using knitting barber cords for beginners

Knitting barber cords are a great tool for beginners who are just starting out with knitting. These cords are designed to help you keep track of your stitches and prevent them from unraveling, especially when you are working on complex patterns.

Here are some tips on how to use knitting barber cords:

  1. Start by choosing the right size of barber cord for your project. The size of the cord will depend on the thickness of your yarn and the number of stitches you are working with.
  2. Before you begin knitting, insert the barber cord through the stitches that need to be held. You can use a crochet hook or a tapestry needle to help you thread the cord through the stitches.
  3. Once the barber cord is in place, you can continue knitting as usual. The cord will hold the stitches in place, preventing them from unraveling.
  4. If you need to take a break from knitting, you can simply set aside your work without worrying about the stitches coming undone. The barber cord will keep everything secure.
  5. When you are ready to resume knitting, remove the barber cord by gently pulling it out of the stitches. Make sure not to pull too hard, as this could cause the stitches to unravel.

Knitting barber cords can also be used as stitch markers and are especially useful when working on projects that require multiple stitch patterns or color changes. Simply slide the cord onto the needle to mark the beginning of a new section or pattern.

Overall, knitting barber cords are a valuable tool for beginners as they provide support and help keep your stitches in place. With a little practice, you’ll find that using barber cords will make your knitting projects more enjoyable and stress-free.

Advanced techniques with knitting barber cords

In addition to their basic uses, knitting barber cords can also be used for a variety of advanced techniques. These techniques can elevate your knitting projects and add unique elements to your designs. Here are some of the advanced techniques you can try with knitting barber cords:

  1. Colorwork: Knitting barber cords can be used to create beautiful colorwork patterns in your projects. You can use different colored cords to create stripes or intricate patterns.
  2. Texture: By incorporating knitting barber cords into your projects, you can add texture and dimension to your knitted fabric. You can weave the cords through stitches or create textured patterns by knitting the cords along with the yarn.
  3. Embellishments: Knitting barber cords can be used as decorative elements to embellish your projects. You can create bows, flowers, or other shapes with the cords and attach them to your knitted items for added visual interest.
  4. Edgings: Knitting barber cords can be used to create unique and decorative edgings for your projects. You can knit the cords directly onto the edges of your work or sew them on afterwards to create a finished look.
  5. Casting off: Knitting barber cords can also be used in the casting off process. You can insert the cords into the stitches on your needles and use them to create a decorative edge or secure the ends of your work.

When using knitting barber cords for advanced techniques, it’s important to choose cords that complement your yarn and project. Experiment with different colors, textures, and techniques to create unique and personalized knitting designs.

Pros and cons of using knitting barber cords for advanced techniques:
Pros Cons
  • Can add unique elements to your designs
  • Allows for experimentation and creativity
  • Can add texture and dimension to your projects
  • Requires some additional skills and techniques
  • May increase the complexity of your projects
  • Can be time-consuming

Overall, knitting barber cords offer a range of possibilities for advanced knitting techniques. Whether you’re looking to add color, texture, or unique embellishments to your projects, knitting barber cords can provide the tools you need for creative and innovative knitting designs.

Creating intricate patterns with knitting barber cords

If you’re looking to add some complexity and visual interest to your knitting projects, using barber cords can help you achieve intricate patterns. These cords, also known as kumihimo cords, are versatile and can be used to create various designs, ranging from simple braids to complex geometric patterns.

Here are some techniques and tips to create intricate patterns with knitting barber cords:

  1. Choose the right cords: Select barber cords that complement your knitting project. Consider the color, thickness, and texture of the cords, as they will influence the final pattern.
  2. Start with basic braids: If you’re new to using barber cords, begin by practicing basic braiding techniques. This will help you understand the mechanics of working with the cords and ensure a solid foundation for more complex patterns.
  3. Experiment with different cord arrangements: Barber cords can be arranged in various configurations to create different patterns. Try exploring different layouts, such as diagonals, chevrons, or waves, to add visual interest to your projects.
  4. Introduce color variations: To make your patterns stand out, incorporate different colored cords into your designs. Mixing colors can create stunning contrasting or complementary effects.
  5. Combine different cord thicknesses: Another way to create intricate patterns is by using cords of different thicknesses. Thin cords can be used to add delicate and intricate details, while thicker cords can create bold and prominent elements.
  6. Experiment with stitches: Don’t limit yourself to simple braids. Explore different knitting stitches, such as slip stitches or cable stitches, and incorporate them into your barber cord patterns. This can elevate your designs and make them even more unique.
  7. Use charts and diagrams: For complex patterns, it can be helpful to refer to charts or diagrams. These visual aids provide a clear roadmap for your knitting and help ensure that you follow the pattern correctly.
  8. Practice and patience: Creating intricate patterns with barber cords requires practice and patience. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempts don’t turn out as expected. Keep practicing, learning from your mistakes, and soon you’ll be able to master more complex designs.

Remember, the key to creating intricate patterns with barber cords is to experiment and have fun. Don’t be afraid to try out new techniques and let your creativity guide you.

Tips for maintaining knitting barber cords

Knitting barber cords are essential tools for knitters, allowing them to easily create beautiful barber cord patterns. To ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your knitting barber cords, here are some tips for proper maintenance:

  • Clean the cords regularly: Dirt and debris can accumulate on the knitting barber cords over time, affecting their smoothness and flexibility. To clean them, gently wipe the cords with a damp cloth or sponge. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the cords.
  • Store them properly: When not in use, it’s important to store your knitting barber cords in a safe and organized manner. One way to do this is by using a cord organizer or a plastic container with dividers. This will help prevent tangling and minimize the risk of the cords getting damaged.
  • Avoid excessive tension: While knitting, be mindful of the tension you apply to the cords. Applying excessive tension can cause the cords to stretch or warp, making them less effective for creating even and consistent barber cord patterns. Maintain a gentle but firm tension to prolong the lifespan of the cords.
  • Inspect for damage: Regularly inspect your knitting barber cords for any signs of damage, such as fraying or unraveling. If you notice any issues, it’s important to address them promptly. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to repair or replace the cords to ensure optimal performance.
  • Keep away from pets and children: Knitting barber cords can be attractive to pets or curious children. To prevent accidents or damage, keep your knitting barber cords out of their reach. Store them in a safe place where they won’t be easily accessible to pets or children.
  • Use with care: When using knitting barber cords, handle them with care to avoid unnecessary strain or stress. Pulling or tugging on the cords too forcefully can lead to damage or breakage. Follow the instructions provided with the cords and use them in a way that minimizes any potential harm.
  • Replace as needed: Over time, knitting barber cords may wear out or lose their elasticity. If you find that your cords are no longer performing as intended or are showing signs of deterioration, it may be time to replace them. Investing in new cords will ensure that your barber cord patterns continue to be of high quality.

By following these tips, you can maintain your knitting barber cords in excellent condition, allowing you to enjoy seamless knitting and create stunning barber cord patterns for years to come.

Exploring different materials for knitting barber cords

When it comes to knitting barber cords, the choice of material can greatly affect the outcome of your project. Different materials have different properties, including flexibility, stretchiness, and durability. Here, we will explore some common materials used for knitting barber cords.

  • Cotton: Cotton barber cords are soft and comfortable to wear. They have minimal stretch, which makes them ideal for projects that require stability and structure. However, they may not be as durable as other materials.
  • Wool: Wool barber cords are warm and insulating, making them perfect for winter accessories. They have a natural elasticity, providing some stretch to the cords. However, they may shrink or felt if not properly cared for.
  • Acrylic: Acrylic barber cords are affordable and easy to care for. They are lightweight, making them suitable for garments and accessories that need drape. However, they may not offer as much warmth as other materials.
  • Silk: Silk barber cords have a luxurious feel and a natural sheen. They are strong and have good elasticity, making them suitable for a variety of projects. However, they tend to be more expensive and may require special care.

You can also consider blending different materials to take advantage of their combined properties. For example, a blend of cotton and wool can provide both warmth and stability. Experimenting with different materials can help you achieve the desired look and feel for your knitting barber cords.

Remember to always read the care instructions for the materials you choose, as some may require special handling or washing techniques. With the right material, you can create beautiful and functional barber cords for your knitting projects.

Knitting Barber Cord Accessories and Tools

Knitting barber cords are versatile accessories that can be used for various purposes in knitting projects. In addition to the basic cord, there are several useful accessories and tools that can enhance your knitting experience. Here are some commonly used knitting barber cord accessories and tools:

  • Cord connectors: Cord connectors are useful tools that allow you to connect multiple cords together to create longer lengths. These connectors are easy to use and provide flexibility when working on large or intricate projects.
  • Cord stoppers: Cord stoppers are small accessories that can be inserted into the ends of the cords to prevent stitches from falling off. They are especially handy when you need to set aside your project and want to keep the stitches secure.
  • Cord holders: Cord holders are designed to keep your cords organized and prevent tangling. They are usually made of durable materials and come in various sizes to accommodate different cord lengths.
  • Stitch markers: Stitch markers are essential tools for marking specific points in your knitting. They can be attached to the cords to mark pattern repeats, increases, decreases, or any other important instructions.
  • Cord connectors: Tapestry needles are commonly used for seaming and weaving in ends. They have a large eye that allows thread or yarn to easily pass through.
  • Row counter: A row counter is a useful tool for keeping track of the number of rows you have knitted. It can be attached to the cord and rotated to count each row as you complete it.
  • Cable needles: Cable needles are handy tools for creating cable stitches. They have a U or V shape and can hold stitches temporarily while you work on other stitches.

These accessories and tools can greatly enhance your knitting experience and make your projects more enjoyable. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced knitter, investing in a few knitting barber cord accessories and tools can help you achieve better results and create more intricate designs.

Where to buy knitting barber cords

If you are looking to buy knitting barber cords, there are several options available to you. You can find them both online and offline, depending on your preference.


There are various online retailers that offer knitting barber cords. Some popular online marketplaces where you can find these cords include:

  • Amazon: Amazon offers a wide range of knitting supplies, including barber cords. You can find different types, sizes, and colors of barber cords on their website.
  • Etsy: Etsy is a platform where independent sellers offer handmade and unique items. You can find a variety of knitting barber cords made by independent artists and crafters.
  • Knitting specialty stores: Many knitting specialty stores have online websites where you can purchase barber cords. These stores often offer a wide selection of knitting supplies and accessories.


If you prefer to see and feel the knitting barber cords before purchasing them, you can also find them in physical stores. Some options include:

  • Local craft stores: Visit your local craft stores that offer knitting supplies. These stores usually have a section dedicated to knitting accessories where you can find barber cords.
  • Yarn shops: Yarn shops specialize in selling different types of yarn and knitting supplies. They often carry barber cords as well.
  • Knitting conventions or workshops: Knitting conventions or workshops are great places to find unique and specialized knitting supplies, including barber cords. These events often have vendors selling their products.

Regardless of whether you choose to buy knitting barber cords online or offline, make sure to read reviews and check the quality of the cords before making a purchase. It’s important to choose cords that are durable and suitable for your knitting projects.


What are knitting barber cords?

Knitting barber cords are flexible cords with a loop at each end that are used to secure loose stitches in knitting projects. They help prevent stitches from unraveling or slipping off the needles.

How do I use knitting barber cords?

To use knitting barber cords, simply slide one loop onto the knitting needle, then slip the loose stitches onto the cord. Once the stitches are secure on the cord, slide the second loop onto the needle. This will hold the stitches in place while you work on other parts of your project.

Can I use knitting barber cords with any type of needles?

Yes, knitting barber cords can be used with any type of knitting needles, whether they are metal, wooden, or plastic. The size of the needle doesn’t matter either, as long as the cord fits comfortably on the needle.

Are knitting barber cords reusable?

Yes, knitting barber cords are reusable. After you finish using them on one project, you can simply remove them from the knitting needles and store them for future use. They can be used again and again for securing loose stitches.

Are knitting barber cords suitable for beginners?

Yes, knitting barber cords are suitable for beginners. They are an easy and practical tool to help prevent stitches from unraveling, and they can give beginners peace of mind while they work on their knitting projects. With a little practice, using knitting barber cords will become second nature.


The Skein Scoop Podcast / Ep. 4 / Knitting Barber Cords, Giveaway, WIPs and FOs!

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