Check Out Chainette!

Remember last autumn when we talked about yarn structure? We looked a number of ways that yarn is formed- most of them involving twist. But we also touched very briefly on other yarn structures, including the one we’re going to take a closer look at today: chainette.

The thing is, you’ve probably explored this structure closely before! Have you ever knitted an I-cord? This small tube of knitting is made up of a very few stitches- usually only three or four- and it’s surprisingly useful! I-cords make good edges, straps, and ties for all kinds of projects. Most commonly they’re created using double pointed needles, but you may also have seen them done on a knitting spool or “knitting Nancy” like the one below.

Side note: Is this not the cutest, happiest little tool ever? You can see how the curved shape, originally an ergonomic improvement, eventually inspired a playful paint job and the charming monicker “knitting Nancy”. 

Essentially, that’s all a chainette yarn is- an itty bitty I-cord. Yarn manufactures use incredibly small, super-mechanized knittng heads (similar to the knitting Nancy) to “knit” fine strands of fiber or delicate plies. The result is a light and springy yet wonderfully strong yarn. Just like a knitted fabric, chainette yarn will stretch and draw up, making for delightly bouncy and elastic projects. Because there’s so much air trapped in the hollow core of a chainette yarn, they can be surprisingly warm and weightless. And of course this versatile structure can be produced using any fiber and in any weight, so you always have plenty of options to choose from.

You can see why we’re crushing on these cushy skeins!

If you’d like to know more, why not try creating this structure for yourself? Grab a ball of scrap yarn and two double point needles of the same size.

Cast on four stitches. DO NOT TURN! Hold this needle in your left hand and slide the stitches up to the tip.

 Insert the right hand needle into the first stitch to knit it. You’ll notice that the yarn is attached to the fourth stitch at the other end and you’ll have to pull it across the back of your work to knit the first stitch. That’s correct! This is what joins the ends to form a tube.

Knit across all four stitches and DO NOT TURN! Slide the stitches to the opposite tip of the needle and repeat this row. Your I-cord will grow quickly!


My I-cord next to a chainette yarn. Do you see the family resemblance?

You can also visit our favorite chainette yarns in person. (Did you catch the sale sign I snuck into one of the photos above? We have four discontinued chainette yarns that need a loving home!) You can also check out Cotolana and North Star online or call the shop at (931) 707-1255 to ask about others!

What has been your experience with chainette yarn? Did you love it? What did you make? Share your thoughts below- we love hearing from you!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sandra David
    Feb 15, 2017 @ 10:46:22

    I love this kind of yarn for the light fabric it produces. And of course, I adore I-cord.



  2. Judi Roth
    Feb 15, 2017 @ 11:45:37

    Thanks for lesson, I’ve never mad an I-cord before and I love it!



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