PlanetJune Craft Blog

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how to crochet an i-cord

Link easily to this tutorial in your patterns: www.planetjune.com/icord

Have you ever tried to crochet a really tiny tube or cylinder? I find that single crocheting in a ring with 5 stitches is challenging enough; let alone trying to make a 4-sc cylinder, or, almost impossibly, a 3-sc tube.

Knitters are lucky; they have a great way to make a very fine tube – it’s called an i-cord and it’s really easy to knit up on dpns (if you knit). But I have great news for you: you can also make i-cord using your crochet hook!

how to make a crocheted i-cord by planetjune

It’s very simple once you get the hang of it, and it’s an easy way to make fine tubes, as long as you like. You can use i-cord in amigurumi, as trim, or even to make bag handles. It’s versatile and works up quickly.

Note: you can also make a wider i-cord tube, by starting with more chains and dropping all but one loops off the hook. I’d recommend you don’t go too wide though, as it’s easier to accidentally pull out one of the dropped loops when you have more of them in play. I’d recommend you stick with a 3-ch or 4-ch crocheted i-cord. For anything wider than that, make a sc spiral (or learn to knit it on double pointed needles).

The easiest way to explain it is to show you, so I’ve made a video showing how to crochet an i-cord. And because I’m nice like that, I’ve done right-handed and left-handed versions.

Crochet an i-cord (right-handed)


Click to watch this video on YouTube.

Crochet an i-cord (left-handed)


Click to watch this video on YouTube.

See – it’s easy!

If you’d like to practice crocheting i-cord, I’ll have a new pattern that uses this technique available in a few days…


UPDATE: By request, here are my written instructions to crochet i-cord:

Crochet an i-cord (text instructions)

  • Ch 3. Insert hook into 2nd ch from hook, yarn over and draw up a loop, insert hook into next ch, yarn over and draw up a loop (3 loops on hook).
  • Row 1: Drop 2 loops from hook. Hold onto the dropped loops with your non-hook hand so they don’t come undone. Yarn over and draw through remaining loop on hook. Insert hook into first dropped loop, yarn over and draw through (2 loops on hook). Insert hook into second dropped loop, yarn over and draw through (3 loops on hook).
  • Repeat Row 1 for desired length of i-cord. Cut yarn, leaving a long yarn end. Draw end through all 3 loops on hook and pull tight to fasten off.

That’s it!

95 Comments »

  1. Michelle said

    Just when I think I there’s nothing new to learn with crochet. Thanks for this!

  2. Rhian said

    Oh my gosh this method is soooo much better than sc around like I usually do. Thanks so much!

  3. Really clever idea!

  4. Ooh, that’s neat! I’ve been putting off making your poison dart frog because of its very thin legs (I have enough trouble doing 5sc around – no idea how I can do only four!), but now I think I’ll use this method instead, even though it gives a different look :) Thanks!

  5. Cassie said

    Fantastic!! I am in love with this technique! Thanks for sharing it!

  6. Neat! Thanks for sharing that.

  7. Vicky said

    I apologize in advance if this sounds weird, but you have a very pretty voice :D
    I’ve seen one or two crocheted i-cord tutorials out there which are nothing more than really thin tubes, but I really like the look of yours. I imagine I’ll still use my Clover contraption if I need to make a bazillion i-cords, but I’ll definitely start using your technique with individual projects.

    • June said

      Oh, thank you! Today is the first time anyone’s ever complimented me on my voice :)

  8. Amanda said

    Amazing tutorial! Very easy to understand and I’m am SO excited to try it out! Thank you, June!

  9. Elisa said

    That is awesome. I can already think of several ways to use crochet i-cord. Thanks for the idea and the tutorial.

  10. June said

    Awesome! Thanx for the neat technique June! And thanx for including us southpaws too! LOL

    Looking forward to your clever creations for using this technique!

  11. Kristin said

    Oh wow. This is wonderful! Thank you so much!

  12. Jessica said

    I’m going to have to have a go at that. Also looks like the cord you get from a knitting nancy – however it has 4 chain like sides to it.

    • June said

      Good point – yes, Knitting Nancy is another way to achieve the same thing (although if you crochet/knit i-cord instead, you can vary the diameter of the tube formed by using a different sized hook/needles and/or different number of starting chains).

  13. Jana said

    Super, June! I only have one question? What do you do when you have the length you want? How do you “finish off”? Thanks! (Okay, TWO questions!) :D

    • June said

      Good questions, Jana!

      The easiest way to end the final row is to cut the yarn leaving a long end, draw the end through all 3 loops on the hook, and pull tight. This will draw the end into a point; if you don’t want that, wait till you have all 3 loops on the hook, then sl st through each loop in turn, fasten off, and use the yarn end to stitch the first and last st sls together into a circle.

      As for finishing, it depends on what you want to do with the i-cord! Use the ends with a yarn needle to stitch the it to something else, or hide the ends by weaving them up through the middle of the tube.

  14. Michal said

    Such a lovely tutorial! Thanks a lot!

  15. Amy said

    Great video of a brilliant technique! I hate knitting i-cord, I’ll crochet it from now on. Thanks so much for taking the time to make the tutorial, I posted a link to the Crochet Partners Yahoo Group.

  16. June, this is brilliant!! I love it, thank you!!

  17. Amanda said

    “It’s my friend, June!” I explained to my husband, who finds it very curious that whilst “normal” people are watching videos of crashing cars and dancing kittens on YouTube, I am watching videos of crochet techniques. :)

    My favorite part of this technique is you do not have to stuff it! LOVE it!

    I have already used the i-cord… as a belt for my baby’s Jedi Knight Halloween costume. I made a 3/4 inch diameter “rope” by making a 2ch i-cord, holding two strands of worsted Fisherman’s Wool together and working loosely with a size P hook. Brilliant! I was dreading making it the only way I knew how…, sc 3, ch1, turn, sc 3, ch1, turn, sc 3, ch1, turn… Besides, it would have been a flat strip instead of a true rope.

    Thanks again for your magnificence, June! <3

  18. […] PlanetJune by June Gilbank previous post: how to crochet an i-cord […]

  19. val said

    that is an incredible stitch tip …clear and easy to understand, thanks for showing us!

  20. shawna said

    this was wonderful, thank you. exactly what i needed and i found you by google. was totally surprised that it’s a recent post! thanks for doing it. your videos are very clear and helpful. keep it up!

  21. Ravens' Lane said

    I had no idea this existed. Thank you!

  22. Bri said

    Thank you! I’ve always been so envious of knitters ability to make i-cords…..now I can do it! Thanks a lot! Your tutorials are THE best!

  23. Unforth said

    Super useful, thank you! Is this your invention? Would it be alright if I used it in a pattern I’m designing (and will ultimately sell)?

    • June said

      Nobody can copyright a technique! Of course you can use it – just don’t copy my explanation word for word.

      If you’d like to link to my videos in your pattern, that would be great for me, and might also save you some time trying to explaining the technique! You can use the short link http://www.planetjune.com/icord (which links back to this page).

  24. franky said

    such an excellent technique, and you explained it so well! thank you.
    this also only furthers my belief that anything knitters can do, crocheters can do better! :)

  25. Sonja said

    You amaze me. That is exactly what I’ve been needing for some of my critters. Problem solved, thanks to June.

  26. silvia said

    Hi!
    I linked this post here
    http://laraccoltadisilvia.blogspot.com/2011/01/folgorata-da-un-cordoncino.html
    Thank you
    SIlvia

  27. Resmi said

    Hi June,

    Thanks a ton for this tutorial. I came upon this tutorial right in time. I was thinking of ways to attach together some flowers for a flower string hanging. I wanted it to be strong and visible (not thin and always turning around when hung). Well I would use this icord for my project.

    And about the demo, it was awesome – neat and crisp. I loved the clarity of the details. Thanks again! :-)

    Regards,
    Resmi

  28. Judith said

    I love this tutorial! I am going to see if this works as a form of bead crochet; the effect could be quite different.

    Crochet I-cord would be great as a handle for a little purse, cell phone case, etc. (And I think your voice is lovely, too-easy to listen to, along with very clear instructions and excellent camera work.)

  29. LamLinh said

    Amazing! Thank you.

  30. Judy Webb said

    Brilliant!!!!

  31. Kara said

    Hi June! I have a question. I am normally a knitter and have just fallen in love with crocheting. I am crocheting a chameleon for my daughters Halloween costume, and the pattern says to sc 4 around to make a tube. I had found your video, and so I did this instead. It looks awesome, and my tail is perfect, but I don’t know where to go from here! I don’t want to fasten off, I want to start increasing my sts and crochet into the body of the chameleon. Does that make sense? I will appreciate any help that you can give me!

    • June said

      Hmmm, well the i-cord isn’t really designed as something you can segue into regular crochet; I’d recommend you fasten off at the end of the icord, start your next piece with the magic ring, and stitch the i-cord piece over the magic ring, to give the neatest effect.

      But, if you’d prefer not to do that here’s something you can try:

      When you have all three loops on your hook, work them off as you would for Tunisian crochet (yarn over and draw through 1 loop on hook, yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook, yarn over and draw through 2 loops on hook). That will leave you with a short flat row across the top of your icord.
      Curl the start of that row around to form a tube, so the far end is in front of your hook, than start to sc into the top of it (you won’t have the usual sideways ‘V’s to crochet into, so just space out the number of sc you need to make around the circle you’ve just formed.
      Once you’ve completed one round like that, you’ll be able to continue to crochet around in a spiral as normal.

  32. Val said

    How can I icord around something, like a rope or another string? I’ve seen it mentioned on other blogs, but no directions. I’ve played around with it some but can’t get anything perfect. Any ideas?

    • June said

      I’ve never tried it, but I think it would be very difficult with the crocheted i-cord, as you’re already wrangling dropped loops and trying not to unravel them – adding a rope into the mix would make it much trickier! If you had a thin enough rope you could try threading it through after you crochet the cord.

  33. Ruth said

    Thanks for this! I made a drawstring for my pajama bottoms and it worked great! Very easy and it didn’t take long at all.

  34. Fatima Rosales Naya said

    That’s just so clever! What would you actually use it for? Trimmings?

    • June said

      Yes, you can use it for trim, to make thin parts of amigurumi (tails, legs, etc), to make thin cord handles for bags, as a drawstring, as curtain tie-backs… Anything you want!

  35. De Baggis said

    Hi, watching this gave me an idea for the tie on a cape I am crocheting. As the cape is in three coloured stripes i am wondering how I will go doing all three colours held against each other so that I will have nine loops and work them off in sequence. Off I go to experiment. Thank you for a clear conscise video!!

  36. brenda said

    i am wondering if this would work for a beaded bracelet? but my bigger question is …. what do you do if you lose one of your loops!??

    • June said

      1. I think the beads would end up on the inside of the tube, so no, I don’t think this is a good method for a bead crocheted bracelet!

      2. If you lose one of the loops, it can make a ‘run’ and unravel all the way down to the bottom, in the same way as knitted stitches can. You’d need to insert your hook into the loop below, grab the strand of yarn (that used to be a loop and is now a horizonal strand) and pull it through so it becomes a loop again. You can repeat this as many times as you need, to fix the run from the bottom up to the top, but my advice is to go slowly so you make sure not to lose a loop in the first place!

  37. […] The other change I made to this pattern was crocheting an i-cord to weave in under the bust area. I wanted more of a fitted look that would compliment my dresses.  The tutorial for crocheting an I-cord can be found here […]

  38. pearberry said

    Hi! I’m just a beginner with crochet so your tutorial is very useful!
    I noticed that when I crocheted this, the backside ends up a little loose. Is there anything I can do to tighten it? Thanks.

    • June said

      Just make sure you don’t leave any slack in the yarn after you’ve dropped loops 2 and 3 and are drawing up the loop in the first stitch of the next row – with practice you should be able to even out your tension.

  39. Ilona van Berkel said

    Would you be able to make a blanket with this pattern? ORw ould it be too hard to go from row to row. I was thinking I could do a row of sc in between each of the icord rows…..

    • June said

      I wouldn’t recommend it, Ilona. The crocheted i-cord is a bit of a slow and fiddly technique because you have to keep dropping loops from the hook; it’s very handy as a stand-alone cord, but much slower than standard crochet.

      You could certainly crochet back along the length of a completed i-cord, but, to add a new i-cord to the existing sc row, you’d have to do an extra step on each row (inserting your hook through the next stitch on the blanket and drawing up a loop through both that stitch and the next loop on the hook) to attach the i-cord to the previous row. So, while it is possible, a blanket is such a large project, it’d take forever to make from crocheted i-cord!

      If you’re wanting a ridged blanket, there are far easier ways to accomplish that effect, for example, working in BLO (for horizontal ridges) or columns of post stitches (for vertical ridges).

  40. Amanda said

    I just have to say thank you so much for sharing this technique! I am working on a gift for my sister and I really did not like the directions that came with it for the drawstring. This is exactly what I wanted but didn’t know how to do!

  41. Stephanie said

    Hi there — I just found this, and I am SO HAPPY!! I shared it with the group at http://www.knittingparadise.com, and here’s the link: http://www.knittingparadise.com/t-126485-2.html#2414342.

    Just one of the comments:

    KnPar: Steph – I’m calling the workshop chairwoman of our Sacramento Guild. This technique is going before the entire guild at our January meeting ……… December is a Holiday Party which even I would not upset with an I-cord!!!

    Steph: WOW!!!! I’m so happy everyone likes this — I sent it to TECHKnitter & she’s sending it out in one of her upcoming “outside sources” posts.

    So I thought I’d share all this with you! I know you’ve heard it before, but still….. :))

  42. Plant Woman said

    Thanks so much for the fantastically clear video to make the i-cord. I’ve used your magic circle one too, and they are so clear – definitely the best I’ve seen!

  43. MissDaisy said

    Thank you very much. I use an auxiliar hook. I think to use to make some bracelets, with a flower or other embellishments.

  44. Suse said

    Genius!

  45. Vicki Anderson said

    Thanks for the very clear video, I think I’ll be able to do this!

  46. Irene said

    Here I am, all set to learn something new and the video tells me an”error” occured and I should try again later. I REALLY wanted that necklace tonight!

    • June said

      Try refreshing the page and loading it again, Irene – it must have been a momentary YouTube problem; it’s loading for me now…

  47. Kina said

    Thank you so much! I just finished this and added to a Hello Kitty purse that I needed to make a strap for!

  48. Irene said

    What a cool idea! I’m @ the library(next day) & the video loaded so that I could watch it. Now I know & won’t EVER forget. Thank you so very, very much!

  49. Karen Christ said

    Just wanted to say that after 50 years of crochet I thought I had all the basics. Wrong! Thank you for this new technique to use.

  50. zenaide tuzzo said

    woderfool-grato

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