Technique: I-cord rose (aka go big or go home)

One row of petals in each of two colours

Alternate between two colours as you make the petals

First row green, 3 rows pink

First row green, 3 rows pink

Alternate rows within the petals in each of two colours

When I started designing my own hats 7 years ago, I played around with i-cord toppers.  Last year when I started designing hats again, I first made what is now the first round of a rose.  I asked my daughter Heather if there was enough loops and she said “go big or go home, mum”.  I kept going for two more rounds, then corralled the whole thing.  I was very pleased with the result and I have used it on many hats.  I have played around with it a lot as you can see.  Many people have said they liked the effect.

It is quite versatile and can have many different looks depending on the hat.  I have shown a few here,  I have also used variegated wool to good effect (see below).  You can also see another variation on the ‘elegant fireworks’ hat from yesterday’s post.  On that hat I did one row of petals in each of the three novelty yarn colours.

The three stitch i-cord rose replaces the traditional pompom on a hat. It can be used to cover up a bad ending to a hat, when the top just doesn’t look quite right, or to bring back a colour used lower down in the hat.  It is a bit more work, but to me it makes a hat look much more finished than a regular pompom.


1.  End the hat with 15 live stitches in the last round.  You may have to fudge the last round by either not decreasing as many, or decreasing a few more stitches than you should to get to the magic 15.  Not to worry, the last couple of rounds are hidden under the rose anyway.

2.  Make an i-cord with the first 3 live stitches. Distribute the remaining 12 on your other two needles. Knit the i-cord for 15 rows, then for row 16 slip one, knit 2 together and pass the slipped stitch over so you have only one stitch left.

begin second petal

begin second petal

3.  Use this stitch and pick up the next two live stitches from your spare needles.  This action both finishes the first petal and starts the next one.  Make 15 rows again, reduce to one stitch, then take up the next two stitches, etc.  Repeat until all the stitches are used and you have 7 petals around.  Join the last petal in beside the first one with a slip stitch.

finish row 1

finish row 1

4.  Slip stitch over to the middle of the first petal then pick up 2 more stitches at the base of the first petal and use these three stitches to make an i-cord.  Join into the base of each petal from the previous row to make 7 petals for the second row, To make a third row, you join the petals to the point where a pair of petals from Row 1 meet.  This way you have three staggered rows on top of each other.

5.  When the third row is complete, cut your yarn with a 10″ tail and thread it onto a darning needle.  Make a series of running stitches twice around the base of the rose and tighten up (see below).

begin row 2

begin row 2

finish row 3

finish row 3

make running stitchesmake running stitches

finished rose

finished rose

5 thoughts on “Technique: I-cord rose (aka go big or go home)

  1. Nancy Wright

    Thanks for the great instructions, Gillian – I did an icord Rose on my hat and it is gorgeous! Definitely ‘go big or go home’!

  2. Pingback: Cables in the Dark | gillianknits

  3. Pingback: Top down hat | gillianknits

  4. Pingback: Let it snow… | gillianknits

  5. Pingback: Similar hats | gillianknits

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s