How to Work an I-Cord Cast On

Sometimes slow and steady makes the prettiest of details. That’s certainly the case with the I-Cord Cast On. This cast on creates a beautifully rounded edge and a polished look you're sure to fall in love with. You can find this stunning technique at the top of the pockets in the Sarah cardigan and along the back neck, upper fronts, and the top of the pockets in the Zoe cardigan. We’ll be honest, it’s a bit time-consuming. But we promise, the final result is worth every minute.

For instructions on how to work an Invisible I-Cord Cast On around a corner or point (such as on the Milli Kerchief), click here.

Here's How You Do It:


Use the Right Needles

It’s helpful to use fairly pointy needles for this technique. Julie likes to use Addi Olive Wood tips that work with her addiClick set. Use the needle size that is called for in the pattern you’re knitting.


Cast On 3 Stitches

You can use any cast on you’d like, Julie uses the Long Tail Cast On.


Slip Stitches to Left Needle

Slip all of your cast on stitches over to the left needle. If you’re using circulars you can slide them all the way down to your left needle. (Please note, you won’t be able to do this in the following step.) The cast on tail and the working yarn should be coming out of the last stitch rather than the first stitch now.



k2, kf&b, Slip Stitches to Left Needle

Pulling the working yarn across the back of the cast on stitches, knit 2 stitches. Then knit through the front and back of the third stitch. Slip all 4 stitches from your right needle to your left needle. 



Repeat step 4 until you've reached your desired stitch count. Each time you repeat, you're adding one stitch.  

Note: It’s the same whether you’re knitting English or Continental style. Either way, it is a laborious cast on. But it does result in an I-Cord edge that has the most lovely braided look...some things are worth the wait. Enjoy!

Patterns with an I-Cord Cast On



The I-Cord Cast On can be found at the top of the pockets in the Sarah cardigan.



The I-Cord Cast On can be found along the back neck, upper fronts, and the top of the pockets of the Zoe cardigan



Hi Sally,
You are adding one stitch every time you repeat step 4. The new stitches stay on the left needle as you knit off the first 3 stitches, increasing in the 3rd, for each repeat. Hope that helps!

Sally Murphy

Question: When you repeat step 4, are you adding a stitch on every third stitch or are you only adding a stitch on the last stitch of each row?


Hi Eileen,
The cast on is the same, you just start working in the round, rather than turning to work back and forth. When finishing, you can use the tail to join the i-cord with itself, or even graft it for a completely smooth look. Enjoy!


How would you do this for a circular project like a hat.

Dorothy Van Daele

Thank you. I ran into this cast on (bottom edge) in a pattern and couldn’t make sense of it the instructions. A step-by-step works so much better than a video for me!


Hi Eileen, Only if you wanted to do some modifications on the neckline as well. In the sweaters that Julie uses this cast-on for, she gives instructions for continuing the I-cord down the fronts of the neckline. Emma doesn’t include these instructions and the long tail cast-on works well. Enjoy your Emma A!

Eileen Kramer

Would this be a good cast on for Emma version A, in bulky yarn?

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