If you like to stitch up a variety of different items, chances are you’ll eventually run into a design where you need a string, cord, or strap. Knitters have the perfect solution to this in the form of the I-cord, a really neat and smooth looking cord that you can make by knitting a few stitches back and forth without turning. While you can crochet an I-cord, I find this technique a little finicky for my taste – I always end up dropping the stitches!
Meanwhile, crochet designs usually opt for the simple crochet chain st, the row of single crochet stitches, or the foundation single crochet. I also like to utilize the less common but extremely handy Double Chain technique.
However, there’s another option, one so simple and obvious I really can’t believe I haven’t used it until now.
Chain a length of stitches. Slip stitch in ea ch stitch!
This forms a thin but sturdy cord that is much more rounded and neatly shaped than the other crochet cord options – perfect for straps on a crochet bikini or halter top (which is what I was working on when I made this simple revelation) or for really any place where a design requires pliable lengths of stand-alone stitching.
Here’s a quick comparison of 5 different ways to form a cord for crochet projects:
1. Chain stitch: The simple chain stitch forms a thin, pliable cord that is fairly stretchy. Because it’s worked in one row, it places your hook on the opposite end of the cord from where you started, making it convenient for attaching one part of an item to another. However, it’s also very thin, making it less suitable for certain types of garment straps.
2. Foundation Single Crochet: The fsc is a method of combining the chain foundation and the first row of single crochet into one row. It’s a little tricky to learn at first, but you can find a good video tutorial here. An FSC cord is bulkier, but it retains the elasticity of the chain stitch or double chain cord. Worked in one row , this cord is also good for attaching parts of an item but its weight is more suitable for garment straps than the chain stitch cord.
3. The Double Chain: This stitch is the middle ground between the simple chain stitch and the foundation single crochet. I wrote a step-by-step photo tutorial for it here because I love this one so much! The double chain cord is a one-row cord with a little more substance than the single chain, but is as stretchy (if not more so) than the simple chain stitch. It also lies flat, making it one of my favorite options for garment straps.
4. The Chain & Single Crochet : This is a cord worked in two rows by stitching a row of chain stitches and then working a single crochet into each chain stitch. This method creates a thick cord with relatively little elasticity, which may be an advantage depending on the garment. I liked to use this cord for bikini and halter top straps because you do not have to cut the yarn and rejoin since you are working two rows and therefore your hook ends up back where you started. However, this cord is a bit lumpy compared to…
5. The Chain & Slip Stitch: This is a cord worked in two rows by stitching a row of chain stitches and then working a slip stitch into each chain. If done with care, the resulting cord is just slightly elastic with a nice, rounded shape and a tidy visual appearance. But because it is so easy to work slip stitches too tightly, you have to take care that your slip stitch gauge is loose enough to match the chain stitch gauge, or else your cord may end up curly and uneven! Once you get the hang of it, this cord is perfect for crocheted bikinis and halter tops!
With all the strappy styles in fashion this summer, why not try them all? (Insert shameless plugs here and here)