Step-by-Step Guide on How to Knit an I Cord

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Knit an I Cord

If you’re a knitting enthusiast looking to take your skills to the next level, learning how to knit an I-Cord is a must. This simple but versatile knitting technique can be used to create straps, decorative edgings, and even stand-alone accessories like headbands or bracelets. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the process of knitting an I-Cord like a pro.

The I-Cord, which stands for “Idiot Cord” (but we prefer “Incredible Cord”), is a tube-like structure that is created by knitting a few stitches in a continuous loop. Its simple construction and endless possibilities make it a favorite among knitters of all skill levels. Whether you’re just starting out or an experienced knitter, this guide will break down the process into easy-to-follow steps.

Before we begin, make sure you have the necessary supplies: a pair of knitting needles (size will depend on your project), a ball of yarn, and a tapestry needle for finishing. With these basics in hand, you’ll be ready to tackle the I-Cord and create beautiful and functional knitted items.

Note: The steps provided in this guide assume basic knitting knowledge, such as how to cast on, knit, and cast off. If you need a refresher on these techniques, check out our beginner’s guide to knitting.

Now, let’s get started on this exciting knitting journey and master the art of knitting an I-Cord to take your knitted creations to the next level!

Choosing the Right Yarn and Needles

When it comes to knitting an I-Cord, choosing the right yarn and needles is important to ensure the best results. Here are some tips to help you make the right choices:



1. Weight: Opt for a lightweight yarn, preferably a fingering or sport weight yarn. Avoid using bulky or super bulky yarns, as they will result in a less defined I-Cord.

2. Composition: Consider the composition of the yarn. Natural fibers like cotton, wool, or bamboo are excellent choices as they have good stitch definition and will create a smooth and polished I-Cord. Synthetic fibers like acrylic can also be used, but they might not have the same stitch definition as natural fibers.

3. Color: Choose a yarn color that complements your project. For a classic look, opt for a solid or subtle variegated yarn. If you want a more vibrant I-Cord, go for a multi-colored or bright yarn.


1. Size: Use double-pointed needles (DPNs) or circular needles in a size appropriate for your chosen yarn. The exact size will depend on your gauge and the desired width of your I-Cord. Smaller needles will result in a tighter and narrower I-Cord, while larger needles will create a looser and wider I-Cord.

2. Material: Choose needles that feel comfortable in your hands. Commonly used materials for needles include bamboo, wood, metal, and plastic. Each material has its own characteristics, so pick the one that suits you best.

3. Length: If using DPNs, make sure they are long enough to accommodate the stitches comfortably. Circular needles can also be used, especially for longer I-Cords. The length of the circular needle should be longer than the desired length of your I-Cord.

By selecting the right yarn and needles, you will set yourself up for success in knitting an I-Cord like a pro. Experiment with different yarns and needle sizes to find the combination that works best for you and your project.

Casting On

Before you can begin knitting an I-Cord, you’ll need to cast on your stitches. The number of stitches you cast on will determine the width of your I-Cord. Here’s how to cast on:

  1. Create a slipknot: Take the end of your yarn and form a loop, leaving a tail of several inches. Insert your knitting needle through the loop and pull the yarn snug, creating a slipknot on your needle.
  2. Hold the needle with the slipknot in your right hand: Position the needle so that the slipknot is on the right side, with the long tail hanging down.
  3. Wrap the yarn around your left hand: Take the yarn coming from the slipknot and wrap it around your left hand, going over your thumb and behind your other fingers.
  4. Insert the needle into the slipknot: With your left hand, grab the yarn that’s wrapped around your thumb and use it to lift the slipknot up onto the needle. Insert the needle into the slipknot from left to right.
  5. Pull the yarn to tighten the stitch: Use your right hand to pull the yarn coming from the slipknot, tightening the stitch around the needle.

Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have cast on the desired number of stitches. Make sure to keep your tension even as you go. Once you have cast on all your stitches, you’re ready to start knitting your I-Cord!

Knitting the I-Cord

To knit an I-cord, you will need to have basic knitting skills and be familiar with simple knitting techniques.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to knit an I-cord:

  1. Start by casting on the desired number of stitches onto a double-pointed needle (DPN). Typically, an I-cord is knitted with 3 stitches, but you can adjust this number depending on your project.
  2. Hold the DPN with the cast-on stitches in your right hand and the working yarn in your left hand.
  3. Slide the stitches to the other end of the needle so that the working yarn is at the back.
  4. Knit the first stitch of the I-cord, but instead of turning the work, slide the stitches to the other end of the needle again.
  5. Repeat step 4 until you reach the desired length of your I-cord. Make sure to keep the tension even throughout.
  6. When you have reached the desired length, cut the working yarn, leaving a tail.
  7. Thread the tail through the last stitch of the I-cord and pull tight to secure.

Tips for knitting an I-cord:

  • Use a smooth and firm yarn for a neat and well-defined I-cord.
  • Practice knitting with double-pointed needles if you are new to them, as they are commonly used for knitting I-cords.
  • Experiment with different stitch counts and yarn weights to create different thicknesses of I-cords.

An I-cord is a versatile knitting technique that can be used to create various projects such as cords for drawstrings, handles for bags, or decorative accents for garments and accessories. With a little practice, you’ll be knitting I-cords like a pro!

Creating the I-Cord Edges

Once you have cast on the desired number of stitches for your I-cord, it’s time to start creating the edges. Here’s how:

  1. Start by knitting the first row of stitches in your I-cord.
  2. When you get to the end of the row, instead of turning your work, slide the stitches back to the other end of the needle without turning.
  3. Insert the right needle into the first stitch on the left needle, as if to knit.
  4. Knit the first stitch, pulling the yarn tight to create a snug edge.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until you have reached the desired length for your I-cord.

Remember to always keep the tension tight when knitting the I-cord edges to ensure a neat and polished look. It’s important to maintain the same tension throughout the entire I-cord project.

If you want to add more definition to the edges, you can also consider using a contrasting color yarn or adding a slip stitch at the beginning of each row.

Once you have finished knitting the I-cord, securely bind off the stitches to complete the edging. Trim any excess yarn and weave in the ends to give your project a professional finish.

Adding Buttonholes

If you want to add buttonholes to your knitted project, follow these simple steps:

  1. Decide on the placement: Determine where you want your buttonholes to be located on your project. Mark these positions with stitch markers or safety pins.
  2. Create the buttonhole: To create a buttonhole, work to the marker or safety pin on the right side of your work. Slip the next stitch from the left needle to the right needle without knitting it. Then, yarn over and knit the next two stitches together.
  3. Continue knitting: Once you have completed the buttonhole, continue knitting the remaining stitches as usual.
  4. Repeat for each buttonhole: Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each buttonhole you want to add.
  5. Finishing: When you reach the row where you want to place the buttons, bind off the stitches as normal. Sew your buttons onto the opposite side of the buttonhole positions.

With these simple steps, you can easily add buttonholes to your knitted project! Happy knitting!

Finishing the I-Cord

Once you have completed knitting the desired length of your I-Cord, it’s time to finish it off. Follow these steps to properly finish your I-Cord:

  1. Cut the yarn leaving a tail of about 6 inches.
  2. Thread the tail of the yarn through a yarn needle.
  3. Slide the needle through the stitches of the I-Cord, starting from the last stitch.
  4. Remove the knitting needle from the I-Cord, being careful not to let the stitches unravel.
  5. Gently pull the yarn tail through the stitches, one by one, until the knitting needle is completely removed.
  6. Make sure the I-Cord is lying flat and has a nice, even tension.
  7. Hold the tail of the yarn securely and pull it tight to close up the end of the I-Cord.
  8. Tie a knot at the end of the I-Cord to secure the yarn tail.
  9. Weave in the loose ends of the yarn into the I-Cord using a yarn needle.

After finishing the I-Cord, you can use it to add decorative elements to your knitted projects, such as purse handles, drawstring closures, or even as a standalone embellishment. Experiment with different yarn colors and textures to create unique I-Cords that complement your knitting projects.

Tips and Tricks for a Professional Finish

  • Add a Slip Stitch: To give your I-cord a polished look, start by adding a slip stitch to the beginning and end of your cord. This will help prevent the edges from curling and give it a neat finish.
  • Use the Right Yarn: Choose a smooth and tightly spun yarn for your I-cord project. This will ensure that your stitches are even and that the cord has a professional appearance.
  • Tension is Key: Maintain an even tension while knitting your I-cord to achieve uniform stitches. Avoid pulling the yarn too tight or leaving it too loose, as this can result in an uneven and sloppy-looking cord.
  • Block Your I-Cord: Blocking can make a significant difference in the final appearance of your I-cord. After knitting, wet block the cord by soaking it in warm water and gently shaping it. This will help even out the stitches and give the cord a smooth and professional finish.
  • Add Embellishments: If you want to take your I-cord to the next level, consider adding embellishments such as beads or contrasting yarn. This can add visual interest and make your cord look even more professional and unique.
  • Joining Multiple Cords: To join multiple I-cords together seamlessly, use the grafting technique or simply sew them together using a tapestry needle and matching yarn. This will create a smooth and cohesive look.
  • Practice and Patience: Like any knitting technique, mastering the I-cord takes practice and patience. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempts don’t turn out perfectly. Keep practicing and experimenting with different yarns and techniques to achieve that professional finish.

By following these tips and tricks, you can create I-cords like a pro and incorporate them into your knitting projects with confidence. Whether you’re adding handles to a bag, creating decorative trims, or experimenting with unique designs, a well-executed I-cord will elevate your knitting to the next level.


What is an I-cord and why is it used in knitting?

An I-cord is a knitted cord that is made using a few stitches and is typically used as a decorative element in knitting projects. It can also be used to create handles, drawstrings, and other details in knitted items.

How do I start knitting an I-cord?

To start knitting an I-cord, you will need double-pointed needles or a circular needle. Cast on the desired number of stitches, usually between 3 and 5, and then knit every row until the cord reaches the desired length.

Can I use a different type of needle to knit an I-cord?

While double-pointed needles or a circular needle are traditionally used to knit an I-cord, you can experiment with using other types of needles, such as straight needles or even a loom. The technique may vary slightly depending on the type of needle used, but the basic concept remains the same.

What is the purpose of knitting an I-cord?

Knitting an I-cord can serve various purposes. It can be used to add a decorative border or edging to a project, create a sturdy handle for a bag or purse, or even make drawstrings for hoodies or bags. It is a versatile technique that can add visual interest and functionality to your knitting projects.

Is knitting an I-cord difficult?

Knitting an I-cord is not difficult once you understand the basic technique. It involves knitting a few stitches in a continuous loop, so it requires some familiarity with basic knitting stitches. However, with practice and patience, anyone can learn how to knit an I-cord like a pro.

Can I use different colors of yarn to make an I-cord?

Absolutely! Using different colors of yarn can add a unique and eye-catching element to your I-cord. You can knit with multiple strands of yarn, or change colors at specific intervals to create stripes or other color patterns. Get creative and experiment with different color combinations to personalize your knitting projects.


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