When I first learned about I-cord, I was told that the name was short for “Idiot-Cord.” Supposedly it has this name because the first person who made I-cord did it on accident because she was an “idiot” who forgot to flip her knitting around when she started a new row. I think this is kind of mean. Especially since I-cord is super fun to make, useful, and more than a little ingenious. Maybe we’ll pretend the “I” stands for ingenious.
So, what is I-cord? It’s a very thin tube of knitting. It can be used as a tie or drawstring, and back in ‘ye olden times’ was used to make shoelaces before they were commercially available. I-cord is knit in the round, but on two needles, which makes it super easy to make. If you can knit a garter stitch swatch, you can make an I-cord.
Here’s how you do it:
Using double-pointed needles, cast on 3-4 stitches (you could cast on more stitches if you want a thicker cord, but I-cords with more than 4 stitches end up a bit wonky looking).
Usually at this point, you’d flip your knitting, so that the working yarn is on the right. But, since we’re making an I-cord, we’ll do something a little different. It’ll feel a little weird at first, but it’ll work, I promise.
Without flipping your knitting around, slide your stitches to the right hand end of the needle. The working yarn should be coming off the left side of your knitting. Take the needle with your stitches on it in your left hand, and your empty needle in your right hand. Knit across.
Do the same thing again. Slide you knitting to the right end of the needle, and knit all stitches. Repeat ad nauseum, making sure not to flip your knitting between rows.
See how your knitting is turning into a little tube? That’s an I-cord! Give the I-cord a little tug after every couple rows to settle the stitches into a nice even cord.
Keep going until your I-cord is as long as you want it to be, and then finish by either binding off, or sewing your tail through your active loops (like you do at the top of a hat).
Now, don’t you feel ingenious?