Attached I-Cord Tutorial


The pink edge in the image above above is an Attached I-cord.  Attached I-cords are a great way to finish a knit edge. They're a clean alternative to messy selvedges; they help flatten a rolling edge; and they can add an exciting blast of color. There are lots of ways to knit an attached I-cord. Here's how I do it. --Whitney

If the cast on end of the I-cord is going to meet the bind off end, I suggest using a provisional cast on so you can graft the two ends for a neat finish (for instructions on grafting two live ends, please visit our Kitchener Stitch Tutorial). If the ends aren't going to meet, use a regular long tail cast on. Since this tutorial comes from the Mary Jane Slippers where the ends do meet, I'll use a provisional cast on here (see our Provisional Cast On Tutorial for help).


After casting on, do not turn the work the way you normally would to knit the next row. Instead, slide the stitches down the double pointed needle to the right end. The working yarn is coming from the far left stitch. Bringing the yarn around the back, knit the first stitch. (If you've never knit an I-Cord, you may want to consult our basic I-Cord Tutorial for in-depth instructions of the steps.)


Knit until there is 1 stitch remaining on the left needle. Slip this stitch as if to purl.

Bring the yarn forward in a yarn over. Dip the needle into the edge of the knitting, and bringing the yarn around to knit, pick up a stitch.


There are now 2 more stitches on the needle than the original cast on (in this case, 6). Pass the 2nd and 3rd stitches (ie the slipped stitch and the yarn over) over the picked up stitch. You should now have the original number of stitches on the needle (4).


Slide the stitches down to the right end of the needle and repeat the process: k to the last stitch, slip 1, yo, pick up a st, sl 2 st over.

Note: These instructions are especially suited for a contrasting color I-cord. If the I-cord is the same color as the knitting, you don't need to yarn over and you can just slip the last stich, pick up a stitch, and pass the slipped stitch over the picked up stitch.

If you are following this tutorial in order to make the Mary Jane Slippers, you will complete the two ends of your Attached I-cord by grafting them together using the Kitchener Stitch.  Please visit our Kitchener Stitch Tutorial for complete instructions.  


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29 Responses to Attached I-Cord Tutorial

  1. Therisa says:

    This is great! Thank you for posting these instructions. I’ve put off finishing my EZ February sweater because I couldn’t figure out the icord edge. With these instructions, I can finish the project and my hubby will be very happy to get the unfinished sweater off his desk.

  2. Laurel says:

    Thank you SO much! I had just finished the contrast i-cord edge on a Tomten Jacket for my son and it looked so messy with all of the sweater color showing through… so I ripped it all out. For my second try I used this tutorial and now it looks great! Thank you for the clear pictures and that helpful yarn over tip!

  3. melissa says:

    thank you for so much for this tutorial! very helpful and precise instructions. i was struggling with how to do this technique and after just one look at your photos it made perfect sense. thank you!

  4. tammy says:

    How many stitches should be picked up when knitting the attached i-chord? Also, I completed the a.i.c. and it turned out very tight, barely allowing me to get the slipper on my foot. Any suggestions?

  5. heidi says:

    I am ready to put the i cord on the tomten jacket, but I have one question… When attaching an i cord to the edge of garter stitch, do you pick up every stitch or only every other?

  6. purl bee says:

    Hi Heidi,
    On garter stitch, just pick up one stitch every ridge (which is every other row). Good luck!

  7. KATHERINE says:

    when picking up stitches for the sleeve of tomten jacket is it a
    total of 56 stitches that are picked up around the ridges. thanks. katherine

  8. Stephanie says:

    This is so cool! I’ve never seen this before. Thanks for the tutorial.

  9. Kristen says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial, it will be really useful for making projects extra special!

  10. Jean says:

    Thank you so much for these slipper instructions. They are great!

  11. Chrisitine Guest says:

    May I link to this tutorial from a free pattern that I will be posting on Ravelry soon? Yours is so clear and pretty.


    Christinethecurio on Ravelry

  12. purl bee says:

    Hi Christine,
    Yes, we would love it if you linked to our tutorial! Thank you so much.

  13. Jennifer J says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! Very easy to understand – helped me tremendously.

  14. Nadia Lewis says:

    Thank you for this simple and clear tutorial! :D

  15. Andrea says:

    I am doing this up the side of a garment with a selvedge edge, it won't be meeting itself in a circle as with your slippers. So, my question is, what do you do after you've picked up the last stitch? How do you neatly dispense with those last four stitches on the needle w/out having a little tail of I-cord at the edge of the garment?

  16. purl bee says:

    Hi Andrea,

    Great question! Try binding off the row before you pick up the final stitch, then pick up the stitch and bind it off. I think this'll do the trick! Let me know and thanks for asking!


  17. kathryn says:

    thank you so much for this great tutorial. i found lots of different techniques online, and tried them. but your's creates the best clean attached edge. i was worried i wouldn't be able to follow, but your pictures and descriptions are excellent! thank you for posting. i love this site!

  18. kathryn says:

    Oh, I also linked to your site's homepage…I saw other requests, so it looks like it's ok to do that. Let me know if it's not ok and I'll change :) I'm using up my stash, and made a bigger version of your modern baby blanket with an i-cord. I thank you, and my giant stash pile thanks you!

  19. martha says:

    Thank you. My sanity is restored.

  20. Arlie says:

    I am wanting to use this as an edging for a baby blanket but can't figure out how to make neat corners. Would really appreciate suggestions. Thanks!

  21. Lilian Doyle says:

    I was just flicking through the purl bee. I am so pleased I found it. It is so informative
    I just had to send an email. I have only been a member for about 2 months.
    I hope I am doing the right thing. I have been knitting for the last 60 plus years. I still find looking at wool and patterns. My grandchildren and great grand children do not like hand knitting garments any more. Regards Lily

  22. purl bee says:

    Hi Arlie,

    I love this question because there's a great answer! When you get to a corner, knit 1 row of the I-cord without attaching it (in other words, just knit the I-cord stitches and slide them to the right end of the needle), then pick up a stitch at the corner (i.e. knit one row of Attached I-cord), make 1 more row without attaching, and then continue the Attached I-cord as usual.

    I hope this helps and thanks so much for asking!


  23. Susan says:

    When knitting the attached i cord to the Eleventh hour Blanket, is it attached to every purl row or every row?
    Thank you.

  24. purl bee says:

    Hi Susan,

    It's attached to every row, but if you find that your I-cord is a little too taut or a little too bunchy (because of gauge issues), you may want to adjust your ratio!

    Thank you so much for asking and please let us know if you have any others!


  25. Emily says:

    I'm looking for instructions to graft together a built in I-cord (such as some of the bonnets have in Knit One, Knit All by EZ). Is it really just kitchener too? I don't want to start until I know for fear of really making a mess! Thanks!

  26. purl bee says:

    Hi Emily,

    If you used a Provisional Cast On for your Attached I-cord, then yes, you do use the Kitchener Stitch to graft the two ends together. However, if you cast on the I-cord using a regular long tail cast on (or something like it), then you'll have to bind off the I-cord and just sew the ends together, which creates a seam and so isn't quite as neat a solution!

    Thanks for asking! Please let us know if you have any other questions!


  27. Nicole says:

    Is there a recommended limit to how many stitches around the I-cord can/should be?
    Also, do you have any tips for using an attached I-cord to finish the work when it will run across a row of live stitches?
    Thank you very much!

  28. purl bee says:

    Hi Nicole,

    I don't know that there is any limit to how many stitches an I-cord can be! My best recommendation would be that the I-cord be whatever size is in good proportion to the thing it is attaching to.

    I have never attached an I-cord to live stitches (that I can remember!), but you should be fine if you simply knit the live stitch (at the end of the I-cord row) instead of picking up a stitch. Try it!

    Thanks so much for your questions. Please let us know if you have more and good luck!


  29. April says:

    This is my first time on your site. I was specifically looking for this tutorial. Thank you so much for the pictures. I am a left-handed knitter so seeing it as well as reading the instructions helps me to work it correctly on my projects.

    Thank you again!

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