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An Alternative to I-Cord: How to Make Braided Ties

Using I-cord to create ties is a fairly common way to close knitted bags or add a decorative edging to a garment. But Donna Yacino’s Sweetgrass Shrug, an elegant cropped cardigan that’s knit seamlessly, uses a different way to close the fronts.

This type of tie is called a braided tie, but it’s not braided in the way that we think of braiding hair, where you have three separate lengths that are woven into each other. This tie simply uses one strand of yarn to create a braided effect.

You can practice working this technique on any scrap yarn you have available. Give yourself a good length of yarn to work with—maybe 24″ for your practice tie. Make a slip knot in the middle of the strand.

Figure out which end of the yarn allows you to slide the slip knot, and which end does not (this is the beauty of slip knots). Make sure that end of the yarn is on the left side, and place the loop of the slip knot on your left index finger. With your right index finger, draw the right end (the end that will slide) through the loop on your finger, forming a new loop. Shift the loop to your right index finger, and pull the sliding yarn through the new loop.

It sounds a little crazy when you’re reading the instructions, so we made a quick video to demonstrate how to work the braided ties for Donna’s Sweetgrass Shrug.

What other kinds of decorative edges do you like? Alison Green’s Malaga Tank, also from Berroco Portfolio Volume 3, uses a crocheted edge to add decoration at the hems. Let us know about your favorite decorative edgings in the comments!

6 thoughts on “An Alternative to I-Cord: How to Make Braided Ties

  1. My favorite edgings are the knitted i-cords, I think your model is actually using them? I got my inspiration from Elisabeth Zimmermann, who in my opinion is the queen of i-cords. Great for adding a little contrast edging.

    Introduced to it last year when knitting the Greenwood shawl, I love and continue to apply the simple sl, sl at the beginning of each row, which is a little bit an i-cord, just worked while you go. I’ve used it for multiple other projects since then, and I like the smooth finish for no-seam edges.

    For Trachten, I like a small inkle woven band along the edging, but I admit that’s getting a bit fancy.

    You asked for edgings, but since the video was about making a tie:
    – My favorite quicky tie is crocheted: Chain to the length desired, then turn and slip stitch into the back ridge of the chain you just made. Makes a sturdy, good looking cord. If you prefer to knit: Cast on stitches to the length desired, then turn and bind off those stitches.
    – And then there’s of course anything LUCET, which is similar to what you show in your video, just using a simple tool. That’s where it ends for me, but I do know a lot of very creative kumihimo people …

  2. Crazy… my brain is still trying to figure out how this works, lol. Very interesting–can’t wait to try it!

    1. It’s kind of intense, but it made a lot of sense watching Donna work on it while we were filming. It’s one of those techniques that should be practiced a little bit. 😀

  3. I inherited 3 skeins of beautiful Flicker Berrico and hope I have enough yarn color 3323. Dye lot 631. Yhank you.

  4. That is very cool, looks like a great option for I-Cord, Look forward to trying it soon.

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