“I just want more of her.” A wonderful piece on the late lamented food writer, Laurie Colwin.

I’ve Come Over All Tutorial

icordsleeve.jpg
Dear Ann,
My applied i-cord adventures continue. Applied i-cord is the new dishrag. If it doesn’t move, you really ought to apply some i-cord to it.
A reader asks (and she’s not the only one): “What do you do when you get to a corner?”
I’ll tell you what I do: I stop. I wonder why I didn’t foresee this problem even once during the previous 6 feet of i-cord application.
I consider getting up off my hindquarters and pulling a book off the shelf. I consider googling: “applied i-cord corner”. Surely I am not the first i-cord artiste to run smack into a corner.
But that seems like an awful lot of work. So I sat there and made something up. I don’t think this is an invention, or even an unvention, because I don’t think there are too many ways to do such a thing as make an i-cord go around a corner without making the corner curl (which is what would happen if you just kept i-cording–there would not be enough ease at the corner to prevent it from curling). I think the fancy name for this is: SHORT ROW. On the knitter’s Swiss Army knife, the short row is the pen knife–you can solve a lot of problems with it.
Anyhoo, here’s how I do it. Feel free to tell me there is a better way. (I already know about using double-pointed needles to slide the stitches instead of slipping them back onto the right needle.)
icordsurprise.jpg
Today’s i-cord victim, by the way, is a Baby Surprise Jacket that I made a while back because I felt bad to be the last kid on my block to knit a Baby Surprise Jacket. I came across it recently when I was frantically rooting through old shopping bags looking for something to apply i-cord to. The idea was to run applied i-cord all the way around the thing, and while I was at it, to use the i-cord to join the shoulder seams. So far it’s working out OK. Fiddly doing the shoulder seams, but OK.
Applied I-Cord: How to Turn a Corner
Achtung! You are approaching the corner. Let’s review: until now, you have been working every row like this:
Pick up one stitch in the edge to which you are applying the i-cord and place it on the left needle, *slip the 4 stitches onto the left needle, k3, knit the 4th stitch together with the picked-up stitch, pick up another stitch from the edge and place it on the left needle; repeat from * until the edging is complete–OR UNTIL YOU COME TO A CORNER.
What you want to do now is work a couple of extra rows to ease the i-cord around the corner. At the same time, though, you want to keep those rows attached. Because otherwise it would be detached i-cord, or have a hole in it.
Work the next row, beginning at the *. as follows:
SHORT ROW:
Slip the 4 stitches onto the left needle, k4 (INSTEAD OF 3, and do not work a k2tog with the picked-up edge stitch), NOW GO BACK TO THE * and work a normal row of applied i-cord, then repeat the short row one more time before resuming normal applied i-cord.
In other words, you work an unattached extra row twice, once before the corner edge stitch, and once after. I think this will make sense if you read it with the needles in your hands. If not, do not hesitate to shout out in the comments or send me an email.
[EDITED TO ADD: Reader Gretchen helpfully checked Meg Swansen's instructions on turning a corner with applied i-cord. To turn an outside corner, Meg prescribes working 2 rows of unattached i-cord before attaching to the corner stitch, and 2 more rows of unattached i-cord after the corner stitch row. The extra rows give a little more ease to turn a sharp corner. My improvised way, which worked fine for this baby jacket, made a slightly curved corner that I have plucked at until it looks sufficiently cornerish. Thanks, Gretchen!]
[By the way, is anybody else coming to the conclusion that what I am talking about is not really a short row at all? It's an extra row that's not attached. Nothing "short" about it.]
[ANOTHER EDIT: To make the beginning and end of a blanket's applied i-cord edging meet up tidily, check out Purl Bee's tutorial. Warning: provisional cast on! Kitchener!]

icordcorner.jpg
See how neat it looks?
Other uses for this technique: It is handy to work an extra row of i-cord, without attaching it, whenever you get the feeling that your applied i-cord edging is too tight.
Carry on, naughty i-cord monkeys.
Love,
Kay

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35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. As one who asked the question, thank you, thank you, thank you! I love it! Now to study it, ponder, it, do it.
    It’s gawjuss! And I love your macro photo, very helpful.

  2. That’s a elegant baby jacket. Is it denim cotton?

  3. Very nice! I appreciate learning a new trick ;-)

  4. I am marking this one as educational. I know you’re on the Ravelry so you know what I mean.

  5. Here’s how I do it: when I have one more st left on edge A, before working it, I do one complete round on the i-cord. Then I work the i-cord with the last st, as usual. Then another extra round at the corner. Work the first st of the new edge, as usual. Then one more extra round before continuing with the second st. If that creates holes, I am unable to find them. Works like a charm and has exactly the amount of ease needed to make it around the corner.

  6. I cringe at the thought of i-cord when it’s NOT attached! I don’t want to think about the day I need to APPLY one. Much less, the day that I must apply one that needs to turn corners! Thanks for clearing up how to do it for that fateful day… On the other hand, there is no way to improve at i-cords or overcome my fear of applying one if don’t practice!

  7. I’ve never tried applied i-cord, since I always thought it looked like a lot of tedious work and figured I could accomplish more or less the same effect with a crochet edging (I actually like crochet, which I realize makes me a bit odd). But after hearing you rave about it, I might just have to give it a shot.

  8. i love i-cord love! And your jacket is super sweet! Thanks for the demo. I have always just done a couple rows of unattached i-cord to turn corners. You right, this is waaay better! –Jill P.

  9. Thanks for the tip! I love the clean, finished look of A-IC. I really loved doing my BSJ, too. So much so that I have become a garter stitch junkie and plan to make a S. Jacket for myself. Have just finished a garter stitch vest and I love it. Rock, er, Knit on!
    Love your blog and book.

  10. Naughty i-cord monkeys! HA! Craig Ferguson is my TV husband!
    Thanks for the great tutorial. I have less fear about trying my my hand at this technique now. :)

  11. Ooooo, thanks! I figured it was something like that, but I hadn’t tried it yet. I did something similar with an applied garter stitch edging on a log cabin…. short rows rules!

  12. Excellent tutorial, that all made perfect sense until we got to the part about the other uses…an extra not attached i-cord?

  13. I can now see why applied i-cord is so addictive. Sometimes, seeing the inherent coolness of a technique requires seeing a close-up. Sometimes it takes slo-mo. Wine helps, too.
    Thanks for sharing, and also for getting me thinking about a BSJ again. I still haven’t stepped up to the plate on that one, but I’ve got a key component: great-nephew born yesterday :)

  14. seriously? this is such a cute handknit, my teeth hurt! :o) and i must echo a previous commenter, is this the infamous DENIM???
    heehee! elaine.

  15. I see. You basically build some extra i-cord out there hanging loose then attach. This is a knitter’s version of easing bias tape around corners of sewn edges. Simple. Elegant.

  16. I read the title of today’s post about three times before I got it. My mind is so in the gutter.

  17. Yes! (I’m staying away from that yea-yay thing:)
    I felt the same way when I first finished a sweater with applied i-cord. In fact, I just took a break from the cuffs of my latest sweater, which is causing me no end of grief over its hemmed edges. How I wish I had just skipped the hems–I could be applying i-cord all over it right now!

  18. You are sooooo intuitive. This is the basically the sum and substance that Meg Swansen and EZ discuss in all their various books. Exactly. Well done!

  19. Now I’m the last kid to knit the BSJ. I keep wanting to. I have yarn. I have needles. I have the pattern! I love your icord edging!

  20. That cornering information is brilliant. I once I-corded my way around an entire Tomten jacket. It was a chore, but looked cool. That was quite a while ago, so thanks for the refresher – I will be I-cording aroung the neck and armholes of a vest soon and your tutorial will come in handy.

  21. I spy denim yard! Never having done applied I-cord, I was intrigued by your tutorial. Now I know where to look when the day eventually comes to do it, say, when I finish the BSJ currently in time-out b/c the recipient wasn’t getting pregnant fast enough.

  22. Okay, here’s another question. How did you do the sleeves? There’s a BSJ in my near future, to be knit with the yarn left over from doing the baby log cabin (not yet started, but hey, I just got the yarn today!). I’ve already been thinking about finishing the blankie with applied I-cord, and your BSJ sweater looks so cool, why not do it there, too? (Both are for the same baby, 13 days old today.) So please tell me how you did the I-cord at the end of the sleeve?
    Thanks!

  23. Oh M’Gosh–more applied I-cord! My hands are shaking, I’m getting a little weak in the knees; and, I see a bright light at the end of the tunnel…It’s an experience like no other!
    Goom-by-ya, m’Lord, goom-by-ya!
    Bless you, Kay.
    LoveDiane

  24. “Applied I-cord is the new dishrag.” But hey — you can apply I-cord to a dishrag, and just have your cake and eat it too!
    (I did it with a linen washcloth gift this past Christmas, to stabilize the edge and give it some body, it were fun. And had corners too.)

  25. Is that a Craig Ferguson reference, naughty monkey?

  26. What about starting and finishing the applied i-cord when working in the round? I just used applied i-cord to finish the neck of a sweater done in shaker knitting and it looks great–except for the point at which I cast on and cast off the i-cord. I used a provisional cast on, and once I’d worked the i-cord around the neck, I pulled the tail-end through the last row of stitches to secure them, and then undid the provisional cast on and did the same. Then I tidied it up when weaving in the ends. It’s probably only noticeable to a knitter’s eye, but if there’s a better way…?

  27. I’ve never I-corded, but I do love that jacket. Reminds me a bit of Sally Melville’s Baby Einstein, which is my favorite cotton baby knit, but I might just have to try this one.

  28. Sorry, I think that I mispelled the lyrics.
    Here is a revised version of that old knitting spiritual:
    Kum ba yah, I-cord, Kum ba yah…
    Someone’s knitting I-cord, Kum ba yah!
    (Knit me tightly into your prayers, I may be coming unraveled…..)
    LoveDiane

  29. On Kathryn’s question about joining two ends of I-cord. I think the provisional cast-on was the right start, but at the end, I’d open up the cast-on edge so both ends were live and graft (Kitchener stitch) the two ends together. That will give you a nearly invisible connection.

  30. Thank you! And your work is lovely. I am so glad to know this because I do a lot of test-knitting and I WILL run into this eventually. My first impulse was to think what would be done in crochet: work a couple of chains to get around the corner. So I’m pleased– that’s pretty close, isn’t it?
    Looking forward to your next book!

  31. You have inspired me to do an applied icord edging around the Baby Moderne blanket that should be finished any second now….
    Amy

  32. And there’s an unfinished BSJ in my stash; all knitted but the finishing isn’t done. Time to experiment! It’s been waiting for this moment for, um, about five years…

  33. That’s the most beautiful baby surprise jacket I’ve seen. Really. I love it!

  34. Thank You Thank You. I needed a border for my stepsons blanket and I really did not want to just knit a border on and then I read this post and Yes!! It looks great and I just wanted to say thank you from saving my sanity. =)
    Thank You Again
    =)

  35. Thank You Thank You. I needed a border for my stepsons blanket and I really did not want to just knit a border on and then I read this post and Yes!! It looks great and I just wanted to say thank you from saving my sanity. =)
    Thank You Again
    =)