I-cord scarf Pattern

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I-cord Scarf​ Pattern


I-cord scarfSkills:

Knitting this scarf requires the following techniques:

  • casting on,
  • knitting & purling,
  • switching to a new ball of yarn,
  • casting off,
  • i-cord edge knitting. 

Suitable for beginners: the tutorial in this pattern is for the real novices. All these techniques are explained step by step. You can learn to knit with this project. 

Do you already know how to knit? If you just want to knit the scarf with the i-cord method, just use the Quickstart Pattern and, if necessary, the i-cord tutorial in this pattern. 


I-cord sjaal in wording met HiyaHiya naaldenRequired materials:



With 5 skeins of Supertwist, your scarf will become approx. 19 cm wide and 150 cm long. You can easily make it smaller or bigger.  

If you want to knit a longer scarf, you need another skein of Supertwist for every 30 cm you want to add. So for a 2,10 meter scarf you need 7 skeins of Supertwist. 


TABLE OF CONTENTS / go straight to:




- the knit stitch

- the purl stitch


- knitting the i-cord

- switching to a new ball of yarn


- casting off

- finishing


About this project

The I-cord Scarf is a nice project in its own right, and also a fun way to practise i-cord knitting. The i-cord method makes a beautiful finishing edge along the sides of your scarf.

The i-cord edging method is a skill - but easy to master. When you consider the stitches and technique it's absolutely easy. (Knitting and purling, no more than that.) The knack is getting the tension right. When you pull too tight the edge will be too rigid and/or the stitches will be all ahoo. When you don't pull tight enough, your edge will be too slack and the stitches will sag.

The sweet spot also depends on the yarn and project. There are different ways to get the tension right - although on youtube I mostly see people just pulling the yarn madly.

In the tutorial I explain a method, which I believe works well on most - if not all - yarns and projects. 

I used 5 skeins of Supertwist Merino DK colour Vintage Rose. This yarn has a high elasticity, which is ideal for an i-cord. And it's soft and squishy, which is nice for a scarf. Besides, the lively handdyed colours come into their own beautifully with a simple garter stitch.

As I try out, I also cast on with the i-cord method. That didn't suit at all, so I did not include this in the pattern. The i-cord was hardly visibly and the change from i-cord to garter stitch didn't look good. We'll use the i-cord cast on some other time, on a different project. 

FYI: there is also a separate icord tutorial.


Chapter I


If you already know how to cast on, knit, purl etc, you don't need the tutorial. Go ahead and start knitting with this Quickstart Pattern! 

Carefully cut open a skein of wool and twist it into a ball. (Knitting straight from the skein is possible in theory, but will quickly result in a sad mess. Besides, twisting the ball will give you a feel for the yarn and its tension.) 

  1. Loosely cast on 36 stitches (30 for the scarf and 6 for the i-cord on each side).  
  2. Slip the first 3 stitches purlwise.
  3. Knit all stitches until the last 3 stitches on the needle.
  4. Purl these last 3 stitches.
  5. Repeat step 2-4 until your scarf measures the desired length.
  6. Cast off and weave in the loose ends on the inside of the i-cord. 

Would you rather have some visual illustration for knitting the i-cord? You can find it further on in this tutorial


Chapter II


Please note! It’s important that you cast on very loosely. Better too loose than too tight. 

Unwind the ball of yarn so that you have a thread of approx. 75 cm.

  • Wind the yarn around two fingers. Wind over the two fingers again to the back of the first thread. This makes a “cracknel” shape as shown in the image. You can also shape the yarn this way on the table in front of you.


  • Use a knitting needle to pull the back thread through the front one to form a loop:


  • Pull gently on the end to shape the first loop:


  • Hold the knitting needle in the right hand. Wind the loose end of the yarn around the left thumb from front to back:


  • Insert the knitting needle between the yarn and the thumb:


  • Wind the yarn on the ‘ball end’ around the needle from back to front:


  • Pull the loop through to make another stitch:

Keep it nice and loose!


  • Remove your left thumb and gently pull to secure the stitch:


There are now two stitches on your needle. 

For this project it’s very important that the cast on stitches are big and loose. They should look like they’re just a bit too big for the needle. 

Repeat this until you have 36 stitches on your right hand needle. (Between you and me, a stitch more or a stitch less doesn't signify for this project.) 

Now it's time to start knitting!


Chapter III


First, I’ll explain the knit stitch and the purl stitch. In Chapter IV it all comes together in knitting the i-cord scarf.

The knit stitch

There are 2 ways to hold the needles and the working yarn. Please check the knitting tutorial for this. 

  • Take the knitting needle with the cast on stitches in your left hand and the empty needle in your right hand.
  • Insert the right hand knitting needle from front to back through the first stitch on the left hand knitting needle:


  • Wind the yarn over the right hand knitting needle:


  • With your right hand knitting needle, pull through a loop:


You have knit a stitch! Your new stitch is on the right hand knitting needle, but still stuck to the old stitch on your left hand knitting needle. 

  • Carefully slip the original stitch off the left hand knitting needle: 



The purl stitch

There are 2 ways to hold the needle and working yarn. Please check the purling tutorial for this. 

When you purl a stitch, it’s sort of back to front. One can make endless patterns and variations by alternating knit and purl stitches.

When purling, the yarn will be on the other side of the work, on ‘your’ side as it were.

  • With the working yarn at your side of the knitting, insert the right hand needle from right to left through the front of the stitch on the left hand knitting needle.


  • Wind the yarn around the right hand knitting needle, from right to left:


  • Draw a loop through:


  • You have made a purl stitch! Just as before, the new stitch is still stuck to your left hand knitting needle, via the original first stitch. Carefully slip the original stitch off the left hand knitting needle:



Chapter IV


You have cast on 36 stitches with knitting needles 5 mm and Supertwist DK. We're moving straight on to the i-cord:

This is how you knit your i-cord edge:

  • Insert the right hand knitting needle purlwise through the first 3 stitches and slip them onto the right hand needle. (Slipping a stich: literally slipping it from one needle to the other, without knitting it.)
    You can also slip them one by one.

i-cord knitting 1


  • The slipped stitches are on the right hand needle.  

I-cord knitting 2


  • The working yarn passes behind the work:

I-cord knitting 3


  • Knit the next stitch (the fourth stitch). A regular ol' knit stitch:

I-cord knititng 4


  • See the yarn running behind the 3 slipped stitches?

I-cord knitting 5


Now you come to the point where you might need to develop some feeling for the tension. You'll want to tighten the i-cord, but not too much. The sweet spot differs per yarn and per project. I found this worked best:

  • Pull simultaneously at the yarn and the i-cord. (The first few rows, there's not much of an i-cord yet. Just grab the bottom right tip of your work.) Not very hard, just put some tension on them both. Now wiggle your right hand needle forwards and backwards. This way you wriggle the yarn and the stitches neatly in line, without tightening the one stitch too much and the other too little.

I-cord knitting 6

Slight tension on the i-cord and the working yarn, and wiggle away! 


  • Continue knitting all stitches until you reach the last 3 stitches on your left hand needle. Keep a normal tension on the working yarn.

I-cord knitting 7


  • Last, but not least! Purl the last 3 stitches. 

I-cord knitting 8


Once you have reached the end of your row (knitted all stitches on your left hand needle), swap needles. Your left hand holds the knitting again and your right hand holds the empty needle. And you start all over. 

Relax! You’re doing this for fun, remember? 

First and foremost: chill! Tight stitches ain’t pretty. Besides, it’s no fun at all to be stressed while knitting. So don’t be stressed! It’s nice if you can keep the tension a bit constant, but it’s not really a big deal for this project if some stitches are bigger or smaller than others. Especially not with this yarn.

Be prepared to learn as you go along, and even to pull out bits and starting again if necessary. It’s all part of the game of learning. 

Allow yourself to knit a couple of rows before you judge whether or not you got the tension right. It really takes a while for the i-cord to settle and take shape.

Continue knitting until your first ball of Supertwist is almost finished. (If you have approx. a meter of yarn left, you can safely start on a last row. If not, play safe and switch to a new ball of yarn already.) 


Switching to a new ball of yarn

The general rule is: always switch at the start of a new row. Otherwise, chances are that you will see the knot or loose ends once it’s finished. 

  • Tie the new yarn to the old thread, as closely to the knitting as possible. Use a simple knot that can be easily undone later on.
    • Tip: When you have long threads dangling from your knitting, things might get tangled. If you like, you can cut off the loose ends of yarn at approx. 10-15 cm.
    • Make sure you don’t cut the yarn on the ‘ball-end’, though!
  • Continue knitting with your new ball of yarn. Make sure you get the right thread when you continue! 
  • Now that you're knitting an i-cord edge, the knot will be taken along when you slip and twist the first 3 stitches. This is fine. When finishing your scarf, the knots and threads will be almost invisible. 


Chapter V


Casting off

Once your scarf has reached the desired length, it's time to cast off.

Casting off is done at the end of the knitting. This secures the stitches so your beautiful knitting is safe and will not unravel. 

It’s important to cast off very loosely. The stitches should be bigger than usual. If you cast off too tightly, the edge of your knitting may not stretch enough or may look narrower than the rest of your knitting. Not pretty.

  • Start with a new row, so your right hand needle is empty and your left hand needle holds the knitting. 
  • Knit the first two stitches, only extra loose. So pull a bit more yarn through when making the stitch. Give it some slack.
  • Using the left hand knitting needle, lift the first stitch (the one on the right) over the second stitch.
  • Drop the first stitch from your left hand knitting needle. 



  • There’s now only 1 stitch left on your right hand knitting needle. Knit the next stitch on your left hand needle. There are 2 stitches on your right hand needle again.  
  • Again lift the right stitch on the right hand needle over the left stitch, and drop it off the left hand knitting needle. 
  • Repeat until you have cast off all stitches but one and there’s only 1 stitch left on your right hand knitting needle. Cut off the yarn at approx. 10-15 cm. Pull this thread through the last stitch. Drop the last stitch from your knitting needle and gently pull tight. 



Compared to a jumper or vest, you don't have a lot of finishing to do (thanks too to the i-cord). However there are some loose threads dangling from your work, that need to be dealt with.

  • Now that you have knitted an i-cord edge, the knot has been taken along in the twist when you slipped the first 3 stitches. It's nestling on the inside of the i-cord:

i-cord afwerking


  • If necessary, undo and retie the knot as closely to the knitting as possible. 
  • Use the darning needle to weave in the loose ends, hiding them on the inside of the i-cord. If you lift the i-cord, you can see the connecting threads. Insert your needle underneath/behind those threads: 


  • And weave in the loose ends:


  • Stretch your work a bit to let the whole settle down. The knots will be hidden almost invisibly against/underneath the edge. 


CONGRATULATIONS! Your scarf is finished and ready to use!


Did you enjoy this? I sure hope you did! 


Are you happy? I'll dance a jig!

Do you have suggestions? I'd love to hear them.

Are you unhappy? I'll fix it!


You can now knit a basic scarf, with or without an i-cord. The i-cord method can be used on many other projects. 

I'd be very interested to hear your opinion regarding this project, the yarn and the tutorial. Your feedback helps us to improve. Therefore I would very much appreciate it if you would share your experience in our online guestbook. Of course you can also share your thoughts via hallo @ yarnz . nl  

I’d love to hear from you!





Michèle Tewes.

Yarnz. Start Crafting.

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