There is no doubt that an i-cord edging looks great. Last week we discussed how to create an i-cord and bind off stitches at the same time. It’s an excellent solution for finishing necklines, cuffs and pockets.
But what to do when we knit a blanket, or a poncho, or a washcloth? It’s not enough to have only a bind off edge decorated with an i-cord. Our blanket will look much better with an i-cord all around it. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to make it happen 🙂
Because we’ll be knitting an i-cord, use a pair of double pointed needles. As to the yarn, you can use any yarn you like, but it’s easier to get a perfect i-cord edging if you use the same yarn that you used for the project itself.
Feel free to play with different colours – the edging doesn’t have to be in the same colour as the project. The swatch I made for this tutorial has a contrasting edging, but both the swatch and the edging are knit using the same yarn.
Ok, now that we have our supplies ready, let’s get started.
If you closed the stitches of your project using an i-cord bind off, that means you’ve started the i-cord already. So skip this part and move on to “Knitting the i-cord”.
Make sure you DON’T cut the yarn and finish off the i-cord as it is shown in this part of the video tutorial.
If you used a regular bind off, and now want to make an i-cord around your project, follow these steps:
1. Choose any corner of your project, and find a spot that is a few stitches or rows to the left of it. Now insert one of the needles from front to back between the first two stitches or rows in that spot.
I keep saying “stitches or rows” because it depends on the corner you choose. If you start along the side of the work, insert the needle between the first two stitches that are a few rows to the left of the corner, as it is shown in the photo below:
If you start along the cast on or bind off edges, insert the needle between the edge and the next row, in a spot that is a few stitches to the left from the corner.
2. Wrap the tip of the needle with the yarn and pull the wrap through the work. This is the first stitch of the i-cord.
Leave a small tail about 10cm / 4″ long. Later on, when you finish making the i-cord, use this tail to adjust the tension of the first stitch, then secure the tail and hide it inside the i-cord.
3. Cast on 3 more stitches using the knitted cast on (insert the right needle into the stitch, wrap the tip of the needle with the yarn, pull the wrap through creating a new stitch, and return this stitch back to the left needle).
That’s it. Now we are ready to knit.
KNITTING THE I-CORD
If you are a visual learner, click here to watch how to knit the i-cord in a video tutorial.
The general idea is to pick up a stitch along the edge of the project and to work it together with the last stitch of the i-cord in the next row. Here’s how it happens step by step:
1. Take the needle with the stitches in your right hand.
2. Insert the tip of that needle into the next stitch (if you are working along the cast on or bind off edges) or row (if you are working along one of the sides) from front to back. Wrap the tip of the right needle with the yarn and pull the wrap through the work = 5 stitches on your right needle.
3. Slide all stitches to the other tip of the needle. Take this needle in your left hand. Don’t turn your work!
4. Knit the first three stitches of the i-cord.
5. Slip the next stitch knitwise, return it back to the left needle, and knit it together with the last stitch through the back loop. Basically, we are making [a variation of the SSK decrease], when we slip only one stitch knitwise. This variation is faster than the “true SSK” and looks slightly better.
Now repeat steps 2 to 5 to decorate this edge of your project with an i-cord.
To make sure the i-cord lays flat and doesn’t stretch or jam the edges of your project, it is important to consider the stitch pattern of your project when you pick up stitches.
If your project is knit in a stitch pattern that is based on the stockinette or seed stitches, pick up one stitch from each row along the sides of the project.
If the project is knit in a garter stitch based pattern, pick up one stitch from every two rows along the sides of the project. Simply put, pick up one stitch from each space between garter ridges.
When you pick up stitches along the cast on and bind off edges, remember to pick up 3 stitches from every 4 stitches of the edge, if the main pattern of your project is based on stockinette, seed stitch, garter stitch or any similar stitch pattern.
When it comes to picking up stitches at the cast on and bind off edges of ribbing or cable pattern, the only piece of advice I have for you is to be creative. The gauge of various ribbing and cable patterns can be very different.
Besides, a lot depends on your preferences – whether you prefer to stretch the ribbing or cable pattern a bit, or whether you want to keep your project highly textured. So there is no guideline that will work for all of those variations.
The best thing to do is to test. Start by picking up 2 stitches from every 3 stitches of the cast on or bind off edge. See how you like it. If the i-cord is stretched too much, pick up 3 stitches from every 4 stitches of the edge. If the edge is stretched too much, pick up 1 stitch from every 2 stitches.
Experiment and find the way that looks best on your project.
Another issue becomes obvious when we finish attaching the i-cord to one of the edges and arrive at a corner.
If we continue working around the corner in a usual way, the corner will get rounded. If that’s what you want, continue making the i-cord the same way as we’ve been doing it so far.
If you want the corner to remain square, here’s a video tutorial that shows how to turn a corner with the i-cord.
When you add an i-cord around all edges of your project and arrive at the place where we started (the one described in the “Beginning” part of this tutorial), seam the stitches of the i-cord you have on your knitting needle together with the cast on edge of the i-cord.
The easiest way to do it is to use a simple overhand stitch.
The best way to do it is to graft the stitches so that the i-cord looks seamless.
Even if you choose the easiest way, the seam won’t be too obvious, because we started making the i-cord from a discreet spot close to a corner. It is usually less visible than the corner itself or a spot at the centre of one of the edges.
If you enjoyed this tutorial,
here’s something else you might find helpful:
“Neat Side Edges” Book
Learn twelve ways to make side edges of a knitted project nice and tidy. Plus, ways to fix side edges, and a way to improve edges of finished projects.