Thursday, September 1, 2011

Knitting Without Yarn

You may be all yarned out.  Yarn is wonderful, and varied, but sometimes you want to go out on a limb and try something wild.  What else have you tried?  Kitchen string?  Tall grasses?

If you want to make your own, Knitting with your old T-shirts is a good start. Grab a few old t-shirts of similar materials (all cotton, or the same blend of cotton poly) and consider your project.  Small projects (like a Coffee Cup Cozy) will take one shirt or less, larger ones will take more.  If you want all your t-shirt yarn to approximately match, either bleach all your t's together, or dye all of them in the same dye color.  Unless they were all the same color and material to start with, they will vary in their finished colors, but look more unified.  Now, follow the instructions in this video to make your yarn.

This technique works well with bedsheets and blue jeans, too!  For sheets and jeans, don't cut in spirals, just in straight lines.  Fun!

Tiny gloves, miniature AND wire!
Too conventional for your mood? No problem.  You can always knit with wire. To learn to knit with wire, you'll want to start with thin wire, in the 32 or 34 gauge area.  Craft stores and hardware stores sell wire in different materials, colors, and yardage to get you started.  Coated electrical wires behave like wire, but look like rubber!  Kinda cool.

Making the famous Meindertsma Hexagons rug
Thinner wire will make an open and pliable fabric like a wire mesh.  This can be used as an insert on decor items, like pillows, or as the entire fabric if you wish.  Increases and casting on go very well in a backwards-loop technique, and decreases go well knitting or purling 2 together.  Dropped stitches do not work as a style element, as wire resists letting the stitch drop.  Lace work comes out stunning.

Not enough?  Go miniature with separated embroidery floss and straight pins.  Go big with rope.  (Make your own needles with dowels from the hardware store, or go online.) Go modern with fishing line and monofilament.  Go stone age with twine!  Blend different fibers into the same piece for amazing textural contrasts and beautiful affects.  Knitting with non-yarns isn't just fun, it can be gorgeous!
Simple rug

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