Tutorial: Spool-Knitted Infinity Scarf
Have You Ever Wondered What to Do with I-Cord?
I-cord is another name for the yarn tube you make when you french knit or use your knitting nancy. It's fun and easy to do, but then what? This page is dedicated to "what to do with i-cord."
I recently saw a woman wearing a loopy infinity scarf and immediately thought, I can make that. And, even though I had never done any spool knitting before, I created the scarf pictured here in just a few days. I will share a tutorial for my adaptation of that loopy infinity scarf, plus... You know how on some DVDs, you can watch an alternative ending? This scarf has three alternative endings and they're all happy! The finishing techniques build on one another, so you choose which one you like best, or create your own (and hopefully share it with me so I can add it to this page for others to see).
All photos on this page are my own unless otherwise credited.
Do you enjoy spool knitting?
Do you enjoy spool knitting?
Infinity Scarf Tutorial
Consider a Spool Knitter that Feels Good in Your Hand
I like a spool knitter that feels good in my hand, and they're affordable so you can test a few options before narrowing it down to the one that works best for you. I like this one because it's cute and small for traveling. There are other larger models made of plastic or wood that you might also consider. Click on this model to see more options that are similar, ranging from simple and practical to beautifully crafted.
Step 2: French Knit a Long Chain
You have more choices to make right at the start.
1) How many colors do you want? - I went for a variable multi-colored effect, so I chose 2 colors - 2 skeins of yarn - to knit with at the same time. This is a little more challenging, but was worth it to me.
2) How thick do you want your cord? - Mine is about 1 inch in diameter. I used 5 pegs on my spool, which adds thickness. Using two colors of yarn also added some bulk.
3) How long do you want your cord? - Don't worry about measuring it. I just took 2 new skeins of yarn (223 yards long) and kept going until one was gone. However, if your cord is thinner (i.e. knitting on fewer pegs and/or using only one color of yarn), a skein will make a longer chain. So do you want a longer, skinnier chain with more loops, or a shorter, thicker chain with fewer loops?
When you have these questions answered, get going. Use the link below if you don't know how to get started. After you've learned to do the basic "stitch" it's simple repetition, so just keep stitching.
Step 3: Keep Going
Things to do while your hands keep working.
1) Listen to a book on tape.
2) Check out some new stations on Spotify.
3) Have a craft night with some friends.
4) Catch up on your DVR (if you can watch and knit at the same time).
5) Just be.
This project is very meditative and relaxing. Especially when you're knitting to inifinity... (insert echo-y voice)
Step 4: Finish Your Ends
My Lazy Method
I (officially) encourage you to use the correct method of casting off explained in the link above.
Unofficially, I have a lazy method of casting off. Since I used two yarns in my project, I threaded one strand of yarn on a darning needle, and stitched through each loop, taking it off the peg after it was securely on my needle. When all loops were on the strand (shown here), I threaded the other yarn color on the needle and stuck it straight through the end of the knitted chain so that the strands were coming out of opposite sides. Then, I simply tied them in a square knot (below).
I'm okay with the lazy way, because I'm going to hide this part anyway. But, again... officially, I recommend following the rules. :)
A Close-Up of the Square Knot Finish
Loom Knitting Tools
Take it from someone who spent the whole weekend french knitting with just my fingers. You want to use a tool for lifting loops. Your fingers will thank you!
You could buy a loom hook or a crochet hook to help lift your knit stitches over the pegs on your French knitter, but I like to use something I'm going to find useful for other things - like cracking nuts. Many people use nut/seafood picks for lifting stitches (and it works double duty when you have a walnut you need to dig out of the shell). Another option to consider is a simple crochet hook.
Infinity Method A: Simply Stitching the Ends Together
In the first method, I simply stitched the ends together. Nothing fancy or decorative. Just end to end.
What I like about this method is that my scarf loops around my neck can be varied - as long or as short, as many or as few as I like. However, I didn't like that the layers of loops around my neck felt rather bulky.
I decided to take my finishing technique to the next level, but if you like it, you can feel free to stop here.
Infinity Method B: Wrapped Yarn Cinch
With the ends stitched together (Method A), I created long loops similar to any other infinity scarf but with 4 long thin loops instead of 1 bulky one. Then, I took about 2 yards of yarn in one color and tied it tightly around the 4 loops near the spot where the ends were stitched together. I left one short end and one long end.
Holding the short end along the scarf, I began wrapping the long end around and around the gathered loops, making sure to keep the wrapping tight. Each wrap laid neatly next to the one before until I had wrapped about 3 inches of the gathered loops. I then tied the long and short ends into a knot and tucked it under the wrapping.
This method was inspired by hair wrapping, so if it helps, you can use the video below to get a clearer idea of how this yarn wrapping method works.
I liked how the yarn wrapping controls the I-cord chain a bit, while leaving me a lot of freedom to play with my scarf. It also cinches the section at the neck to decrease the bulkiness.
Infinity Method C: Leather Cinch
For this method, I used some scrap leather I had on hand and cut a rectangle narrow enough that when wrapped, it would cinch the bulky yarn chain loops together. It helped a lot that I had already done the yarn wrapping which held everything in place. I punched holes (mine is a vintage hole punch, but I highly recommend the leather hole punch below as I have used that style too) along two edges of the leather and stitched them together as shown in the photo tutorial below. Using the "x" pattern allowed me to stitch more easily than the running stitch I originally thought of using.
Note: Some strong fabric will work for this method too if you have a color or pattern you like.
I like that the Leather Cinch adds a touch of decoration to the scarf and breaks up the monotony of the knitted chain. I think it looks a little more finished this way.
Leather Cinch Photo TutorialClick thumbnail to view full-size
Leather Cinch Supplies
I like to have leather scraps on hand for a variety of projects. You just never know when it will come in handy, and these are an affordable way to get a bunch of different colors and weights of leather.