I Cord Edging - how to knit applied I cord

I Cord Edging

Applied I cord is a great way to create a smooth, rolled edge on flat-knit projects. This no-fuss technique integrates a finished edge at the ends of a row as you knit. No extra steps needed!

Whether you’re looking for a simple decorative element or want to add functional structure and shape to a finished edge this simple technique is something you can add easily to any pattern!

How Does Applied I Cord Work?

The I cord edging is created by slipping stitches at the edge before knitting them on the next row. These slipped stitches wrap around the edge, creating a sturdy tube of stockinette stitches.

You can use applied I cord on one or two vertical sides of a project, but it does need to be done while working flat, back and forth. This technique doesn’t work for projects knit in the round.

What Projects are Good for Applied I Cord?

We love using I cord edging on flat projects that need to have edges that lie flat and look polished. Blankets, dishtowels, scarves, and headbands are all great projects to add I cord edging. In every case, the applied I cord technique creates an extra smooth, extra stable edge that won’t stretch or sag with heavy-duty use.

How to Add I Cord Edging to an Existing Pattern.

If you’d like to add an attached i cord edge to a pattern that doesn’t specify this finish then you’ll need to add the extra stitches before working this technique. Typically an i cord finish uses 3 extra stitches on each side it’s worked. If you’re working along just one side, cast on 3 stitches. If you’re working it along two edges then you’ll need a total of 6 extra stitches!

If your pattern calls for i cord edging then it already has the extra stitches added.

Materials & Skills


Skills You Need To Know

How to Knit Applied I Cord Edging

To start: cast on the number of stitches you need for your project, or want for a practice swatch. Remember, you need 3 stitches for each applied I cord edge. In this tutorial, the I cord is on two sides which means that 6 stitches have been cast on for the I cord in addition to the center stitch pattern.

Note: this tutorial shows garter stitch used as the central stitch pattern between the two I cord edges. You can choose any pattern you’d like in your swatch or project, just make sure you cast on the correct number of stitches.

applied I cord - casting on

Optional: use stitch markers to indicate the 3 i-cord stitches at both ends of the row.

applied I cord - step 1a

Step 1:

Knit the first 3 stitches.

applied I cord - step 1b

Slip the stitch marker (if using) from the left to the right needle.

applied I cord - step 2a

Step 2:

Knit across the row until you get to the second stitch marker (if using markers) before the last 3 stitches.

Note: if you’re using a stitch pattern that isn’t garter stitch, work that stitch pattern across the center stitches between the stitch markers.

applied I cord - step 2b

Slip the second marker from the left to the right needle (if using markers).

applied I cord - step 3a slipping stitches purlwise

Step 3:

Bring the yarn to the front of your work between the two needles.

applied I cord - step 3b slipping stitches purlwise
applied I cord - step 3c slipping stitches purlwise

Slip the last 3 stitches purlwise.

To slip purlwise: insert the right needle as if to purl (downward, from right to left) through the stitch on the left needle, slipping the stitch from the left to right needle.

applied I cord - finished swatch

You’ve now worked one row of applied I cord!

Repeat steps 1-3 every row until the piece is as long as you’d like.

applied I cord - how to knit the first stitches, inserting the needle
applied I cord - how to knit the first stitches, wrapping the yarn

Knitting the first stitch in I Cord

Because the last 3 stitches are slipped, your yarn will be positioned three stitches from the outer edge of the fabric. To knit the first stitch of every row you’ll pull the yarn across the back of those slipped stitches, this is what creates the curled edge!

Applied I Cord Edging Written Pattern

Row 1: Knit 3 stitches, work in chosen stitch pattern to the last 3 stitches, with yarn in front, slip 3 stitches purlwise. Turn.

Repeat Row 1 until your piece is the desired length!

Is I Cord Edging Easy for Beginners to Learn?

Yes! Applied I cord can be a good project for beginner knitters, as it requires only basic knitting skills and can be a fun and simple way to add a decorative touch to a knitted or crocheted item.

What’s the Difference Between the Different I Cord Techniques?

Knit I cord as a category of techniques covers a range of methods that create a rolled stockinette stitch edge on a piece of knitting. How, when, and where you use it can vary!

Luckily, there’s a technique for every situation you can imagine needing an I cord edge (and a few we bet you’d never thought of as well). Try mixing-and-matching these techniques to get just the right finish for every project.

  • I cord edging has a few different names: applied I cord, attached I cord, and integrated I cord. All of these names refer to the same technique and can be used interchangeably.
  • Basic knit I cord is a knit tube that is worked across a DPN (double-pointed needle). This type of I cord can be sewn onto the edge of a knit piece but is more typically used on its own as a drawstring on knits like hoodies or baby bonnets.
  • I cord bind off is a method of casting stitches off while creating a rolled I cord edge! This is a great way to create a smooth, polished edge on any knit fabric.
  • I cord cast on creates a rolled edge on knit fabric across the very first row!

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