In the Bunny Ears Backpack pattern I released last week, I used an i-cord to cinch the top closed. I simply said “knit 34 inches of i-cord” in the instructions. A few days later I was thinking back on it and suddenly got time warped back to before I knew how to knit the i-cord… And I couldn’t find a single helpful blog post on it! Finally, after piecing it together from a few different articles and videos, I figured it out. And of course, its really not that hard. It’s just one of those things that makes you wonder who came up with it and how! So, here we go. Hopefully this post will be more helpful than the one’s I found all those years ago 😂
For this, you’ll simply need some yarn, two dpns (double pointed needles), and a yarn needle. There is also a way to do this with a crochet hook (if you are exclusively a crocheter) which I will include at the end.
You’ll want to start off by casting on 3 to 5 stitches with your desired cast on method. You won’t want to do more or less than this. You’ll see why in a second. For the purposes of this tutorial, I cast on 4 stitches.
Now this is important: push the stitches up to the end of the needle so that the working yarn is at the BOTTOM. Yes, the opposite of how you would do it normally. Knit into the first stitch, pulling the working yarn up to the first stitch from the bottom stitch. Then knit as normal across.
Once you’ve knit across all your stitches, your needle will look like this. Now, instead of turning your needle like you normally would to knit back across the backside, keep your needle where it is and push your stitches all the way over…
… to the other end.
Again, the working yarn will be coming out of the opposite end that you’re used to. Pulling the yarn up to the top stitch, knit across the row. After a few rows, this yarn that you’re stretching across the back of the piece will begin to pull the edge of the piece together, forming a tube. It’s magic! This is why you don’t want more than 5 stitches. The yarn won’t pull the edges together if there are too many stitches; there would just be visible strands of yarn carried across the back. Cast on fewer than 3 stitches and you’ll pretty much just be chaining – but with needles instead of a crochet hook.
Do this again and again until you have reached your desired length. Don’t worry if the edges don’t close up right away – it can take a few rows before that happens.
Once you’ve reached the desired length, cast of with your desired cast off method. Both ends of the i-cord will likely need a little bit of finish work to close them off. Thread a yarn needle and simply take one small stitch in the side opposite of where the yarn end comes out and pull tight.
Then, push your needle through the center of the i-cord for a few inches to hide the end inside.
If you’re really not comfortable with knitting or you don’t have any dpns, you can do the same thing with a crochet hook! The end result is exactly the same, the execution is just a little different. Start off by chaining 3 to 5 chains. I chained 4 here.
Insert your hook into the second chain from the hook and pull up a loop.
Without finishing a stitch, insert your hook into the next chain and pull up another loop. You’ll now have three loops on your hook.
Continue this all the way across.
Now is the tricky part… Drop all but the first stitch from your hook. Try to hold them between your index and thumb so that they don’t unravel. Now, as explained above with the knitting technique, pull the working yarn (gently, so as not to unravel your loops) from the back end of your piece to the front and yarn over and pull through.
Then, insert your hook into the next loop, and do the same thing. Yarn over and pull through.
Do the same with the remaining loops – insert your hook into the next loop, yarn over, and pull through. Do this until you’ve reached the end.
Now, repeat these steps (starting with dropping all but the first loop from the hook) until you have reached the desired length!
This is what it will look like after a few rows. Exactly the same as the knitted i-cord, only a little trickier.
Finish off your crocheted i-cord in the same way you would the knitted one and you’re ready for business! Use an i-cord to create straps for a tank top, a stem for a soft toy apple, or shoelaces for a baby booty. You can even sew some on as embellishment or as a finishing touch to the edge of your piece! The possibilities are endless.
How are you using an i-cord? Tag me in your posts about your projects with the hashtag #createdmakers!