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Twist Collective Blog

For the Love of I-cord

Fiona Ellis

Fiona Ellis is not just a prolific designer, with 13 designs for Twist Collective, alone including such favorites as Harriet, Gwendolyn and Bonnie, she's also innovative to boot. In today's post, she talks about using i-cord in her designs. You can see her most recent application of this technique in Charnwood.


Did you have one of those spool knitting gadgets / toys when you were a kid?

icord icord

Apart from the time when I, aged 5, “helped” my Mum while she was sleeping with a Fair Isle yoke sweater, one of my earliest knitting memories is of making yards and yards of cord using my “French Knitting” doll. Oooh not for me the simple spool with 4 nails hammered into it, I had a long thin wooden toy pained to look like a doll. I’m not sure if my Grandmother saw me having a career in knitting but her encouragement of my love for it was rewarded with not just potholders but many small rugs. I caught the bug very early.

icord icord

Then when I was in university studying fashion knitwear design I discovered that you could make cords by setting the cams on the knitting machines to slip in one direction.  We were obliged to put in a specific number of studio hours each week. So at 4pm in the afternoon when we would rather be somewhere else we would sit and make miles and miles of “Rouleau” cords AND be able to gossip at the same time. Having been brought up to waste nothing this prompted me to come up with creative ideas for using the cord that I had made. And so it continued.

icord icord

Now knitting only by hand again I, like most knitters, always have a carry around project with me at all times. Sometimes if I’m at a point in a project that needs concentration I will throw a pair of dpn’s into my bag and make “I-cord” on the subway. I have come to see this humble piece of knitting as not only a great tool for sparking creative ideas but also as the perfect accent to a cable sweater. This is because they are simply cords that are not yet set into the fabric. I am totally hooked.

icord icord

I have used them as edgings, to gather a hemline, added to cables in many different ways so they appear to be spilling out of the pattern. I now realize that it was only a matter of time before I started not only adding cords to cable projects but also adding 3-D pieces of knitting to those cords. Charnwood is not my first and I know it won’t be my last. I see a new avenue opening up.