Understanding i-cords

Hello knitters! I am here for help please.

I used a video to figure out how to knit i-cords with a pair of double pointed needles. I was working with 5 stitches and I ended up turning it into this snake. (It was near Halloween at the time.)

Now I have some questions about i-cords. What are the minimum and maximum amount of stitches that are used to make them? For example, is 5 stitches the lowest someone would knit? What the highest number of stitches someone would use to knit an i-cord?


5 stitches are actually about the MOST stitches you would want for an I-cord. Generally, it’s 3 or 4, but I should imagine you could do 2 stitches if you wanted a really small one. I have made a bunch of drawstring bags for my son’s gaming, and normally use worsted weight yarn for the bag, then use the same or coordinating worsted weight yarn for the I-cord and use much smaller needles (usually 3.25mm) and 3 stitches and get a perfect drawstring. Once you get into I-cords, you will start finding awesome uses for them everywhere you look!

You’re braver and more patient than me. I love the way i-cord looks, but hate knitting it. I use a lucet fork for two stitches, a French knitter for three to six ( can use heavier yarn), and if you’re really lazy like me, and tend to use lighter weights, you can use something like the EmbelishKnit. I’ve found some really cute patterns on Pinterest. I make a lot of coasters for gifts.

Thanks so much for this great information!

@Nyssareen - I was thinking of bags and wondering what other uses they had. I have not come up with much yet other than garland - I look forward to hearing about more.

@Reneelmt - Wow, I just looked up a lucet fork. That is interesting! I’ve seen the French knitters but I called them i-cord makers. Are those tools faster than double pointed needles? Those were the only items I was successful at making with the double pointed needles. Also, do you make coasters out of the i-cords?

I always put on a good movie or show or audiobook that I’m really into when I need to do mindless knitting like I-cords. Since it’s just the same thing over and over (and over, and over, and over…) you don’t have to pay too close of attention and they actually go really fast if you have a good distraction to occupy your mind.

@K2-Tog I have done a lot with I-cords for embellishment and such, but my favorite is for bags. These are some of the dice bags I made for my son and daughter-in-law. The purple one is made entirely from shawl-in-a-ball and since that yarn is very thin and I had to use size 3 needles, it took forever! But I love my dil, so I did it for her. The blue and purple is a shoulder bag I made my dil for her birthday last year, it has a drawstring to cinch it shut. I have one just like it and use it every day, it is SO useful, and since I drop my purse all the time, the drawstring was a must! I also used I-cord for the hanging loops on these grocery bag holders I made a while ago. I-cords were also used for the stems on this cute little pumpkin and the vines on the pumpkin hat. There are SO many fun uses for I-cords!
I need to look into the lucet fork thing, that sounds very interesting!

Lynnette Dice Bag.jpg

Zebra Dice Bag.jpg

Lynnette Purse.jpg

Grocery Bag Caddies.jpg

Gold Pumpkin.jpg

Pumpkin Hat.jpg

@K2-Tog I think the tools are faster, but then, I HATE dpns with a passion. I do make coasters, the spiral works well for everything, the Carrick mat is more decorative, but still useful for most cups.



@Nyssareen - Love all those! The yellow pumpkin seems to have some cable work on it? The vines with the leaves are like the garland I was thinking of!

@Reneelmt - I do hate dpn’s as well. I make hats for my hubby and develop a method to avoid them. I reduce stitches as much as possible and cinch up the top. Coasters are fantastic! What kind of yarn is needed for that? How do they stay in shape? I cannot figure out how you did the spirals to look Celtic knot-like.

Yes, the pumpkin is cabled. I made a bunch of them in various sizes and colors for Halloween and Thanksgiving in 2019. They are so cute, I kinda went a little crazy with them! For the pumpkin hat, I made the I-cord and then made the leaves and attached them at random intervals to the I-cord by their stems and it turned out super cute.

Oh wow! I didn’t realize that was a hat! Not sure how I missed it but how cool is that!

@K2-Tog Here’s a pic of my son wearing one of the pumpkin hats. They’re really cute.

Liam Pumpkin Hat.jpg

Tangent – I used to hate DPNs too until I tried making some Knitted Knockers and found that circs would. not. cut it. for me. Switched to Clover Takumi bamboo DPNs and I was off to the races. IMO, the Knockers are a great project for getting comfortable with DPNs because the pieces are triangular and work naturally with three DPNs. I do still refuse to work with non-bamboo DPNs, for grip purposes, and I’m not going to work with four needles because that’s just way too unstable.

The Embellish Knit will only work with DK and smaller, so I used Hobby Lobby’s Sugarwheel cotton. Glue holds everything together, just make sure it’s waterproof. Pattern for knotty coasters is here: https://mypoppet.com.au/makes/french-knitted-knotted-coasters/

Thanks for the tips and the link!

Yes, it is really cute! He looks like he is enjoying it too!

He’s a really good sport. He is not only willing to model my creations for pictures, but he shares the pictures with his own friends and even wears the finished articles in public of his own free will!

@Reneelmt I tried the pattern for coasters using i-cords. I made a coaster - it was 6 feet of i-cord so I got a lot of practice. The knotting process was difficult. I tried several times until I started to get it. I had to tape one end done to the table to work it into shape and I didn’t get it very tight. In fact, I skipped a 3rd pass around because of it. It’s in a color changing yarn called latte or some such so it will be great for my coffee cup. Here it is…

A big thank you to you and @Nyssareen for the help and inspiration! I had fun!


I love it! I’ve considered making something more than just drawstrings with I-cords, but I just haven’t gotten to it. I love Celtic knot stuff, so maybe I’ll try one like yours!

Oooo, I would love to see what you’d make considering how great the stuff you posted is already!

That’s great! once you get the hang of knotting, it gets easier. It can be a bit fiddly getting it tight, but so much fun.