Intertwisted – Part 2


I hope you enjoyed the “Go-To” pattern in Part One.  This first piece should be resting on a stitch holder anxiously awaiting its next assignment as we work on Part Two.

Have you ever wished that you could knit in your sleep?  I have often longed for that ability when trying to meet a knitting deadline.  I haven’t quite mastered sleep-knitting, but Part Two brings you a pattern so utterly simple that you only need to be partially awake!

Part Two brings us the I-cord.  The I-cord was given its name by Elizabeth Zimmerman who referred to it as an “Idiot-Cord”.  I imagine she coined the phrase to emphasize its easy construction.  The name has been shortened over the years to its friendlier moniker, I-cord.  Yes the I-cord is simple, but smart knitters use it in many clever and ingenious ways.

  • Ties – thread it through a row of eyelet to cinch a waist, bonnet or bag.
  • Cords – excellent as purse straps, especially when felted.
  • Button Loops – a short, thin I-cord makes a great loop for a toggle button and eliminates the need for a buttonhole.
  • Embellishments – appliqué onto finished pieces to create intricate patterns.
  • Bind Offs and Borders – the technique is used to create sturdy, decorative and defined edges to garments.

Because of its many applications, the humble I-cord is really a great little workhorse of knitting.  While it’s not obvious to you yet, our I-cord serves a purpose to be revealed in the finishing.

To make an I-cord, cast on the required number of stitches onto a double pointed needle.  Knit across the row.  DO NOT TURN!  Slide the stitches to the other end of the needle.  Pull the yarn firmly across the back of the stitches and knit across the row.  This is repeated until the I-cord reaches the desired length.  See I-cord Video

An I-cord may also be worked with a circular needle but it does slow the process down with the added length.  This version is demonstrated at the end of the I-cord video.  Keep those double points handy as we have a future use for them.

When knitting an I-cord, be sure to pull the yarn firmly across the back of the row just knit to prevent a ladder, or gap, up the back of your cord.  Should this happen, try this tip:  Use a crochet hook to pick up an extra stitch inside the “ladder” and work it up from the bottom to the top in the same manner as a dropped stitch.  See Dropped Stitch Video

Enjoy this quick section of knitting and use the extra time to catch up on your other projects.  Next week brings us a beauty of a pattern that will require your FULL attention – no more “sleep knitting”!

Part Two – Knit In Your Sleep

Click here to download printable version

I-cord – Cast on required number of stitches onto a double pointed needle.  *Knit across the row.  DO NOT TURN!  Slide the stitches to the other end of the needle pulling the yarn firmly across the back of the stitches.  Repeat from *.  See I-cord Video

With waste yarn, cast on 7 stitches using Provisional Cast On.  See Provisional Cast On Video

With working yarn, work an I-cord until piece measures 27”.

DO NOT BIND OFF!  Place stitches on a stitch holder.

44 thoughts on “Intertwisted – Part 2

  1. Thanks! I’m really enjoying the last 2 KAL. Thanks for all you do for us!
    I know it takes a lot of time to put these together.

  2. Yes, cut your yarn leaving an 18″ tail and put the I-cord on a stitch holder. You should have plenty of Simpliworsted yarn left over to make Part 3. I would make Part 3 with the remainder of your skein from the I-cord. If you use all of this skein (not likely) then you can join the remainder of the skein you used for Part 1.

  3. OK, so now I’m done with the I cord. Do I bind off or break yarn and put on stitch holder (how long should I leave dangling?). Also, do I use the skein I did the I cord on to make part 3 (will I have enough?). Hurry, Michelle, and answer so I can start part 3!!!

  4. Thanks Michelle. I finally got it last night. I was stressing! It’s all good now and I’m on working on part three.

  5. Please don’t stress over the I-cord. If you have success with the 5 stitch I-cord then go ahead and use that number for your cowl. It will still work out in the finishing.

  6. For the life of me, I canot get the 7 stitch icord. I can do 3 or 5 maybe even 6 but when I try to do 7 the end stitch gets looser and looser on every round until it is like an inch long and then I just have to rip it out. What can I do??? Will a 5 stitch icord suffice?

  7. I made the part one 27″ (measuring flat)’
    And did the Icord same length.
    Both are on the stitch markers, and when I hold them up, the part one stretches to about 33″

    Which measurement should I use?

  8. Break the yarn from Part 1 leaving an 18″ tail. I would use my second skein to work the I-cord then you won’t have to join a second skein midway through the cord. Good luck with the “catch-up” knitting!

  9. OK, Michelle, another dumb question! Since I’m way behind, do I break the yarn from part one and begin there for the second part OR leave yarn attached and use second ball for I Cord?

  10. Try these tips for your I-cord: tighten the yarn as it comes across the back of the stitches at the beginning of each row, knit the 1st two stitches of each row firmly, and lastly, give the piece a downward tug every few rows holding onto the cast on end of the I-cord and this will help coax the stitches into a tube. I hope this helps!

  11. It is a great idea to lay the I-cord on top of Part 1 to insure that the pieces are the same length. I’m looking forward to releasing Part 3 tomorrow!

  12. I’m a long time knitter who is enjoying the Intertwisted KAL so much! In all these years, I’ve never tried the I-cord. It’s an interesting technique that is not looking as good as I would like it, particularly on the back side. I’ve ripped it out and started over several times. It seems to look better the longer it gets. How critical is the back side? It just doesn’t match up the pictures that are posted. Any suggestions to help with this?

  13. I love this KAL but I’ve noticed the yarn is very “bouncy” so I have done my measuring on a table top. My I-cord is less “bouncy”. Would it be best to lay my I-cord on the table top next to Part 1 so that they end up being the same length? I can’t wait for Part 3!

  14. You are very welcome! I’m glad it worked for you. I don’t like DPNs, so I just don’t have many and this is my go-to for i-cord!

  15. Perhaps a silly question but since I’m still learning new things with every KAL I join it seems all I can do is ask: are these pieces measured at 27″ before blocking or after? Thanks for the help!

  16. Thanks for knitting with me on Building Blocks and the KAL! There is no such thing as a dumb question. If your tail is shorter at the end of Part 1 it will not be a problem. It is normal for many knitter to have to really tug on the yarn to avoid the ladder problem in I-cords. Try pulling the cord from the bottom at the cast on to help coax the knitting into a tube. Visit the Knit Purl Hunter group on Ravelry to see photos of fellow KALer’s I-cords. I hope I have addressed all your concerns. Please don’t hesitate to keep the questions coming.

  17. KimKat… thanks for the suggestion on using the interchangeable circular needles. I had no#10 DP needles so tried what you suggested and it worked GREAT.

    Michelle: I love the I-Cord. Thanks so much for incorporating it into this Knit-Along. I love your videos. They are so helpful.

  18. Three problems. I am truly a novice, have just started knitting using your new book and am only on square 5. Thank you for the videos. Hope my questions are not too dumb 🙂 I didn’t leave an 18″ tail on part 1. Is this going to cause a problem later or will I be able to just tie on? On part 2, I am having to pull really really tight to make a tube without the “ladder” effect. I’m not sure what it is supposed to look like with seven stitches. Is there somewhere I can go to see it before next Thursday?

  19. If you made Part 1 more than 27″ long, should you make the I-cord the same length as your item?

  20. I was a little to ambitious with part one, and it measures 28″, should I extend the length of my i cord to match?

  21. I haven’t heard of any problems from other knitters. The downloadable pattern is the same format I always use. Please let me know if the problem persists.

  22. Dumb question…..are we supposed to cut the tail of the piece we put on stitch holders then start the I cord? How long of a tail do we need to leave

  23. The larger needle will result in bigger stitches. Knit a few rows and see if you like its appearance. If you do, then just keep knitting and you will be fine.

  24. Your choice. I have done it both ways. If you start with the second ball you will have enough for the entire I-cord without needing to join a new yarn. Some knitters find that awkward.

  25. Just a suggestion for anyone else using interchangeable circular needles like I am: Remove the tips from the cord and they work just like DPNs. It’s faster than if you leave the cord attached, much less sliding.

  26. I assume that if you made your Clue 1 section longer, say 30 inches, then your I-cord should also be 30 inches. Correct?

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