Applied I-Cord/Watercolor cowl

I am having trouble finishing the watercolor cowl. Even though I increased the size of my needles and have worked hard to keep the work loose, my applied I-cord is way too tight! I almost cannot get it over my head. Any suggestions for improving? Any ideas what I am doing wrong?

Have you tried increasing the rate of picking up stitches? I think the pattern says to do 3 for every 4 rows, but you could try 1 for every row, or something in between like 5 for every 6. I think mine ended up a bit too tight as well, and this is what I would try if I were to make it again. Good luck!

Please post a photo of the edge! I’d love to help you figure this out.