An avid knitter for over 10 years, Donna enjoys sharing her free patterns and knitting experience with other fiber fans and yarn lovers.
I've called this a knitting pattern, but it's really a handmade jewelry project. The necklace starts with a pendant created with a knitted cord. Then the center is embellished with bright embroidery stitches for a unique piece of jewelry that displays a variety of needle crafts.
The pendant is made using a length of knitted i-cord. I-cord is a common knitting technique that every knitter should have in their bag of tricks. I-cords are often used as edging for sweaters or blankets, and ties for hats. This necklace project puts a fun spin on this utilitarian technique.
- less than 1/2 skein of dk or sport weight yarn. I used some Berroco Pure Pima cotton yarn (115 yards per skein) that I had in my stash. This is a great project for using up leftover yarn.
- #5 dpns - knitting an i-cord requires using dpns but gauge is not important with this project. I would suggest using the size needle that you would normally use for the weight of your yarn. Once you've knitted a few rows on your i-cord, you can decide whether you want it to be looser (making your i-cord wider) or tighter (creating a thinner cord).
- embroidery floss in several colors
- sewing needle and thread in a color that matches your yarn
- something to use as a neck strap (more i-cord or other cording, ribbon, or chain)
Starting Your I-cord
For me, knitting an i-cord is one of those "ah, ha!" moments, that fills you with wonder and appreciation of the engineering involved in knitting. It's amazing how simple it is.
I-cord Basics: To make the i-cord for this necklace, cast on 3 stitches on a dpn. For the first row, knit those 3 stitches with another dpn, thus moving the stitches from your left needle to your right needle. But instead of turning your stitches and knitting back again, keep the right side of your stitches toward you and slide the stitches to the other end of your needle. Knit these stitches again from this position by pulling your working yarn across the back of your work. As you knit more rows, this will pull the left side of your work to the ride side, thereby creating a hollow tube, like a straw.
I-cord Video Tutorial from TheEastSideKnitter
Making the I-cord Pendant
I cast on 3 stitches for my i-cord and knit until my piece was about 12 inches long. When I bound off my stitches, I didn't bother to run the tail through the center of my cord, as shown in the video. I just wove in my ends using a tapestry needle.
I repeated the i-cord knitting until I had 3 cords. Then I began to shape each i-cord into a teardrop shape. First, I took the end of my i-cord and folded it up about an inch from the bottom (see first photo above). Then I began to wrap my cord around this starting point until it created an oval (see second photo above). I wrapped my cord two times around the original loop, but you can do it as many times as you like to make the size pendant you want.
Using a sewing needle and thread, I then sewed my pendant together by running my thread through one side of my pendant to the other. I did this many times, moving down my pendant and making sure to catch each loop around the center. (Although I sewed these loops together, I kept my stitches somewhat loose and spaced apart so that I could get a tapestry needle through later with my embroidery floss.) I made more stitches at the top and pulled them tighter to create a teardrop shape out of my oval.
I wanted to add bold areas of color to my necklace, so I used embroidery to create a design on my pendant. I used a simple wrap stitch, but you can add any type of design or decoration you choose.
Starting from the underside of my i-cord pendant, I made a series of stitches that wrapped around my knitted cord, making sure to tack each stitch to the i-cord. I placed each stitch close together to make a solid color band on each loop.
I repeated my wrap stitching on all three teardrop pendants.
Once I was done with my stitching, I knotted the ends of my embroidery floss on the back of my pendant. I then took some fabric glue and dabbed a little bit on each knot to make sure they didn't come undone. I also spread a thin line of glue on the backside of my wrap stitches to keep them from moving. I let my pendant pieces dry overnight.
Assembling Your Necklace
Once my three i-cord pendants were dry, I sewed them together with a needle and thread. I made my stitches from the underside of each piece and made sure that my joins were secure.
The next step was choosing a neck strap. I chose to use some metal chain that I bought at my local craft store, but there are many options. You could knit another i-cord to display your pendant, but be careful to choose yarn for your i-cord that will be comfortable against the skin on your neck. You could also use ribbon, or a silk or leather cord.
I hope this project gives you some ideas about incorporating i-cords into your knitted accessories. I'm looking forward to wearing my new necklace!
© 2013 Donna Herron. No part of this pattern may be copied or reproduced in any way without permission from the author/designer. For personal use only. This pattern and materials made from this pattern are not meant for commercial sale.
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Donna Herron (author) from USA on April 19, 2013:
Hi Rose Anne - Thanks so much for the compliment! It is a fun, colorful project that uses up stash yarn (my favorite kind of project)!! I enjoy wearing this necklace and I'm glad you like it :)
Rose Anne Karesh from Virginia on April 18, 2013:
What a fun way to use up stash yarn! Your necklace is very pretty and your instructions are clear and simple to follow. Thanks!
Donna Herron (author) from USA on March 07, 2013:
Hi Natashlh and kidscrafts - Thanks so much!! This idea had been rolling around my head and I'm pleased with how the necklace came out. I really appreciate your comments, as always :)
kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on March 07, 2013:
Great project! Fantastic pictures and very well explained! It goes really well with you blouse! You are an incredible knitter!
Voted up and awesome!
Natasha from Hawaii on March 07, 2013:
I've never seen a necklace like this before. It's a really cool idea. Pinning!