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?
Consider a Spool Knitter that Feels Good in Your Hand
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!
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 Tutorial
Leather Cinch Supplies
Let me know what you think of my infinity scarf project. - Or what you think of spool knitting in general.
Kimberly Schimmel from Greensboro, NC on June 27, 2013:
I make my I-cord faster with a pair of double-pointed needles. I still have lots of spools and looms, though, in case my daughters want to knit in the round. They use straight and circular needles, but I haven't taught them to use DPNs yet.
JJNW from USA on March 14, 2013:
So cool! I love your leather cinch idea. That gives it a lot more fashion oomph. lol. SquidAngel Blessed and "Liked" by a Giant Squid : )!
GeekGirl1 on March 14, 2013:
thank you for sharing this lens.
Itaya Lightbourne from Topeka, KS on March 12, 2013:
This is new to me! I learned how to do loom knitting but didn't know about spool knitting. Not sure how it escaped me. Very nice article with lots of tutorials and inspiration! :)
inkymama on March 12, 2013:
Nice lens! I love to knit, but have never tried this method. I think this would be fun for a kid, too.
Tracie-Fisher on March 11, 2013:
Thanks, I've always wondered how spool knitting was done. Nice work.
Linda Jo Martin from Post Falls, Idaho, USA on March 10, 2013:
Verrrry creative! My daughter is starting to crochet and I'm tempted to get her one of these spool knitters. She would love it!
sarasentor lm on March 10, 2013:
Lens is so interesting and helpful.
anonymous on March 10, 2013:
I just noticed that in this you use 5 we only used 4 nails(for stitches) more work than when we did it. Shows how I must be lazy as I see the easier way hey.
ryokomayuka from USA on March 10, 2013:
this looks interesting.
anonymous on March 10, 2013:
Good ideas for me :)
dellgirl on March 09, 2013:
I like your lens and thank you for the directions on spool knitting, its very interesting!
hovirag on March 09, 2013:
I learnt it then forgot it... I love the French Knit Flowers :)
street2linen on March 07, 2013:
How fun! I can't wait to try it!
anonymous on March 07, 2013:
I learned when I was a kid. I used an empty thread spool and put 4 nails in one end and away I went. Place mats and rugs were my thing. My mother did the sewing. Great lens. It takes me back a long time. Thank you.
WhiteIsland on March 07, 2013:
I've never done this before, but I love the scarf, so I think I'd like to try! :)
Monica Lobenstein (author) from Western Wisconsin on March 06, 2013:
@MichaelDubrovnik: ha ha... That's really funny! My husband thought it looked like a sausage when I was making it too! Thanks for visiting!
MichaelDubrovnik on March 06, 2013:
For a second I thought it's a sausage lacklace! Great illusion :) Keep it up, lensmaster.
TheLoneWriter LM on March 05, 2013:
Neato! Guess l just found myself a new hobby! Not that I need another one...writing, carving, playing piano and violin, baking...it's no wonder my room is a mess and I'm behind on my homework. ;)
john9229 on March 05, 2013:
Nice Lens! Shared it to my wife :) She's going to love this scarf.
youndyd lm on March 05, 2013:
Very informational lens. Thanks for the tutorial.
Sunflower2423 on March 05, 2013:
Nice lens. I loved the scarf and tutorials. I will have to try doing this if I can. Very nice information on this lens. :)
SiochainGraSonas on March 05, 2013:
Beautiful scarf. I am more likely to purchase already made than make it myself. Thank you for sharing.
CherylTiegs on March 05, 2013:
Do you have any video guide? If you do, I would like to have a look.
hmommers on March 04, 2013:
I learned something new today. Thnx. :-)
birdsdword on March 04, 2013:
This will be good for my mother in law...just came from her house and she has yarn every where. I will facebook this to her...thanks
cleanyoucar on March 04, 2013:
Great tutorial, might forward this to my wife! :D
anonymous on March 04, 2013:
Great projects. Several ideas for me to work on now. Thanks
maryseena on March 04, 2013:
Great lens and wonderful projects to work on. I will come back for more info.
tobydavis on March 04, 2013:
Wow! Really interesting lens - loads of info and I loved all the step by step guides and wonderful different options and styles - your passion for this project shines through :-)
LeslieMirror on March 04, 2013:
I like to make various ornaments for my house. It always looks rather original.
asiliveandbreathe on March 04, 2013:
I use my chains to weave in & out of crochet or knitted pieces, for decoration eg round a neckline, the brim of a hat, cushions or on a wall-hanging.
SEOgeek1 on March 04, 2013:
rattie lm on March 04, 2013:
Children love to do French knitting. The scarf is a terrific idea.
The-Quirky-Banana on March 03, 2013:
Wowww... this looks great! I have some wool somewhere- this looks like a great use of it! :) Great lens- very creative, informative, and colourful!
candy47 on March 03, 2013:
This is a wonderful lens for experienced knitters and it's an inspiration for those of us who don't knit! I love the idea of an infinity scarf...I think I can do it!! Thanks for an in depth lens! Blessed.
RoadMonkey on March 03, 2013:
I learned French knitting as a child but never knew what to do with the results.
Shiponblog on March 03, 2013:
@EmmaCooper LM: I agree with you :) .It's a useful Post
CrystalNici LM on March 03, 2013:
I am about to teach my young son to French Knit and this article will be very useful, thanks!
EmmaCooper LM on March 03, 2013:
Great lens, blessed by a SquidAngel :)
LadyDuck on March 03, 2013:
Very useful lens, I found great ideas, thanks for sharing.
escapebox on March 02, 2013:
This is a very cool idea. I'd be sure to try it.
jlshernandez on March 02, 2013:
I used the i-cord for my felted wool purses. Infinity scarves are something new to me. Thanks for the ideas.
hotsquid on March 02, 2013:
I have an infinity scarve and I love it. Maybe I can make one myself after I learn the spool knitting. Thanks for sharing.
religions7 on March 02, 2013:
I did spool knitting in primary school - never thought you could make such a cute scarf out of it.
Mickie Gee on March 02, 2013:
I have become very fond on infinity scarves and have knitted several. Thanks for a new idea for me to try.
nicey on March 02, 2013:
Myreda Johnson from Ohio USA on March 02, 2013:
Spool knitting is what got me interested in knitting in the beginning. I learned how to spool knit at camp.
BGrimes on March 02, 2013:
I'd love to learn how to knit! Your infinity scarf is gorgeous. My grandmother used to knit all the time, but she never taught me.
Jogalog on March 01, 2013:
I'd love to be able to do this. My gran tried to teach me loads of knitting techniques when I was a child but unfortunately I didn't pick any of them up properly.
blessedmomto7 on March 01, 2013:
I really like the infinity scarf. I've never considered knitting one w/ french knitting. I think I will make one thanks to you!
Aibrean82 on March 01, 2013:
Loved the infinity scarf! Will definitely give that a go. I like traditional knitting as well, but I like to mix up the mediums now and then (read: I get bored easily...). I had a knitting nancy as a kid too, and remember Mom helping me sew one of my chains together in a spiral to put the teapot on, so that I could give it to gradma as a Christmas present. She loved it!
Torrs13 on March 01, 2013:
Very cool! I will have to learn how to spool knit... looks fun!
Wendy Leanne from Texas on March 01, 2013:
I crochet instead of knit, but that super cut scarf in the intro is enough to make me want to give knitting a try.
Rymom28 on March 01, 2013:
I think this something my sister would totally love, thanks for sharing!
Darcie French from Abbotsford, BC on March 01, 2013:
I've always admired those who can knit such beautiful garments
knitstricken on March 01, 2013:
Blessed! So much I-Cord magic here! Lovely!
miaponzo on March 01, 2013:
I have seen these before but didn't know what they were!!!! Now I do! I think doing this type of knitting looks like fun! Angel Blessings to you!!!!
thegreenninja on March 01, 2013:
I love the leather cinch!
anonymous on February 25, 2013:
great ideas on knitting...www,jankioiltools.com
Fridayonmymind LM on February 25, 2013:
I love your project and all of the other great ideas here.
Angela F from Seattle, WA on February 25, 2013:
Excellent tutorial *blessed