The “I” is for idiot!
I went on an I-cord binge for today’s Sunday Stitch. Included here are three ways to make I-cord:
- as a cord,
- as an edge on the side, and
- as a bind off.
A little bit about I-Cord
Elizabeth Zimmermann says* we should never call it Idiot Cord. She thought the term was rude. It was called that (I guess) because before EZ, people made knitted cord with a spool that had nails hammered into it and then bent to catch the yarn, and any idiot could do it. You can buy the modern version of that spool in most craft stores.
EZ developed a way to make I-cord without the spool using two double pointed needles. Then she developed many, many variations and nifty ways to use it in knitting. This is from her lovely and equally talented daughter, Meg Swanson:
Today, most of the I-Cord variations you see so commonly used are directly from EZ’s knitting brain: the list includes I-Cord Cast On and Cast Off, Built-In I-Cord for a lovely selvedge on garter-stitch, plus a series of ingenius (sic) and beautiful buttonholes…
I need to admit something first. I think making I-cord is so very, terribly, soul-crushingly dull and if I have access to a spool thingy, I use that instead. Making I-cord, (the traditional, just-plain-cord) is boring. When I have to make a few feet of it by hand the slooooooooow way, I’m just a teeny bit whiny. I even whine some in the video.
But… making I-cord edges is much more interesting. I like doing that, it makes me feel clever. No whining in this one, I promise.
Lastly, here is how to finish your work with an I-cord bind off. This is, in my opinion, the best variation EZ came up with. It makes for a nice, firm edge and if you work it in a different color of yarn, it will look like piping along the edge. This technique can add a bit of something special to whatever you’re knitting.
* I say “Elizabeth Zimmermann says” a lot. A LOT. I’m sure its annoys the people around me. I should probably try to control myself. The problem is that EZ said and wrote so many witty, charming, super-smart things. and I’m just bursting to share them! So I’ll probably keep doing it.