Showing posts with label unusual knitting techniques. Show all posts
Showing posts with label unusual knitting techniques. Show all posts

Thursday, 11 July 2013

A Brainwave of a Design

Artists Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet, and a PhD candidate and MTG researcher, Sebastian Mealla, all based in Barcelona, have come up with a unique design concept for knitwear: neuro knitting. They make a computer recording of a person's brainwaves by having him or her wear an EEG headset for about ten minutes, translate the brainwaves into a graph using software, and then use the graph as a pattern for a scarf made on an open hardware knitting machine. You can see one of the resulting scarves in the picture above, modelled by Mealla.

You can see the neuro knitting production process in action by viewing the video above and read more about the project here. Guljajeva, Canet, and Mealla have only made two scarves so far but have received a lot of requests for personalized scarves and plan to make bespoke neuro knits for sale at £180 each. The scarves do seem like they might be the perfect Christmas or birthday gift for, say, a neurology researcher or EEG technician.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

That Glove Just Wants to Be Your Teddy Bear or Chipmunk

This terrific idea for making a chipmunk out of an extra knitted glove comes from the book Happy Gloves: Charming Softy Friends Made from Colorful Gloves, by Miyako Kanamori. There's a full tutorial for how to make the chipmunk on Etsy. Looks like a practical and inventive way to give new life to a wool glove whose mate has disappeared into the ether... and don't we all have those.

You can see more of Kanamori's darling upcycled toys, such as the moose above, on her website. I used to knit toys such as teddy bears from scratch, but it got to be just too much work and too time-consuming. I think the breaking point was 2009, the year nine of my family members, friends, and co-workers produced babies. I now sew them, usually using remnant fabrics from my other sewing projects. People make just as big a fuss over sewn toys as they do over knitted ones, and the children who get them love them just as much. Upcycling knitwear that's in good condition and that would otherwise go to waste is another means to produce toys if you want toys with that knitted look.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

A Pretty Plait

I love this braided scarf concept. It looks great, it'll be reversible, it won't come undone or need readjusting, it's a good way to showcase a beautiful hand-dyed yarn, and it'll be very warm. The pictures here do a great job of showing you how to make such a scarf, though I'd knit the three parts of the plait up one at a time using a set of double-pointed needles or the magic loop method, leaving the ones I'd done on a holder, rather than using a circular knitting tool as in these pictures.

I know some knitters will want more explicit directions, so I searched for a pattern, but was unable to find one as good as this. Most of the braided scarf patterns I found just sewed the braid together at the end, which doesn't look nearly as good as knitting them together. If you can find a pattern like this, flip me the link via email or in the comments and I'll add it to the post.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

What to Do When You Have Three Hours, a T-shirt, and a Skein of Yarn on Hand

Ute Rehner, a Facebook user and a member of the Heute Strick Ich Faceboook community page, decided one afternoon that she needed something to wear for an evening appointment. She took a plain charcoal gray jersey top and a single skein of Rowan Kidsilk Haze Glamour, and set to work, knitting a collar and cuffs, cutting away part of the original neckline and sleeves from her shirt, and then pinning and stitching the knitted ones in place, all in the space of three hours. The result looks wonderful — you can see more pictures and Rehner's narrative on here.

This is definitely a great idea for making a lovely little top that can be worn almost anywhere, will flatter most women, and that isn't going to take much time or money. But if I try it, I'll be allowing myself more than three hours of leeway for the job. I have never found that knitting and tight deadlines marry well.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Move Over, Cat's Cradle; Finger Knitting Has Come to Town

I suppose it was inevitable, with my having done a post on arm knitting, that I would do a post on finger knitting. The video above clearly demonstrates how it's done. It's a fun and quirky but limited form of knitting: you can only use as many stitches per row as you have fingers, the gauge will be determined by the circumference of your fingers, and the result is inevitably a loopy chain. The question will then be, what will you do with your loopy chain?

I did some googling to find some good finger-knitting project ideas, and to be honest, I hated almost everything I saw. But as with most craft projects, bad results are usually a failure of execution rather than technique, even when as with in this case, the technique is a limited one. I do quite like the wreath above. You can find instructions for making it on Flax & Twine.

I like this cushion cover idea as well. Design Sponge has instructions for making it.

One blogger crocheted her finger knit chain together to make a rug. [Update: The blog this photo came from no longer exists.]

It's also possible to make a finger knit cowl, as this Etsy seller has done. I'm not a fan of the rope cowl, but that's just my personal preference. They can look quite good given the use of the right yarn and when worn with the right outfit, and they're definitely a trend.

The other use I see for finger knitting is as a kid's craft. It might be a good way to introduce children (or, er, adults for that matter) to the concept of knitting, and at any rate it's easy and a lot of children would enjoy making bracelets or headbands for themselves or (with some adult assistance) a cushion for their beds or whatever else they can come up with. Give them leftover balls of yarn and let them go nuts.

Incidentally, I'm hoping not to find myself ever doing a post on toe knitting, but heaven knows researching and writing for this blog has already led me down some strange Google rabbit holes, so it's best not to tempt fate by making any declarations either way.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Another Reason Not to Drink the Kool-Aid

Here's an excellent tutorial on how to hand dye yarn using Kool-Aid from the knitting blog Maiya knits. Mayhem ensues.

Here's another skein, dyed by Maiya with different flavours. Maiya has also experimented with dyeing yarn just one shade of Kool Aid. And she's not alone. There's a Ravelry group called What a Kool Way to Dye that shares information and ideas on how to dye with Kool Aid. Knitty also offers us a tutorial on how to dye with Kool Aid.

The resulting hats, made for Maiya's two little boys. I've never dyed any yarn, but I may have to try out this idea. It sounds really easy (you basically just make some Kool-Aid ice cubes and set the yarn outside in the sun), and the resulting colours are so fresh and so candied in tone that they are, as you might expect, perfect for kid's items.

Coming up: Tomorrow's post is the Knit.Wear Spring issue review!

Friday, 15 March 2013

One Thousand Strands, One Knitter

Ever get frustrated with, say, a Kaffe Fassett project that involves twenty different skeins of yarn? Here's a knitting project that will put your struggles in perspective. Rachel John, a textile artist and the inventor and creator of Extreme Textiles, is a proponent of using multi-strand knitting to make décor items such as rugs and throws. And when John talks about multi-strand, she really means a multitude. She says "up to 300 [strands] is possible, but we think up to 100 should be about right". The items can be made in a matter of hours and it's a good way to use up your stash. And how.

In the video above Rachel John takes multi-strand knitting nearly as far as it can go by knitting an item as thick as a mattress with 1,000 strands of yarn. It's not exactly a take-along-for-your-commute project, but I have to admit the process is fascinating to watch and the result is a painterly blending of colours. Pro tip: do not try this project with a cat around.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Now You Knit It, Now You Don't

Shadow knitting, or illusion knitting, is a knitting technique for making knitted pieces that appear to be only striped when viewed straight on but contain a hidden image only viewable from an angle. The effect is created by alternating rows of two coloured yarns so that the raised stitches from one row hide the flat stitches of another row when seen from certain aspects. The "Girl With a Pearl Earring" piece above is an example of illusion knitting.

There's no way to convey the total impact of such a piece in a photograph or in a written description, so please see the video above for a better demonstration of how the image appears and disappears depending on one's vantage point. This piece is from Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer of Woolly Thoughts. You can view a gallery of their extraordinary illusion designs here. All of the Woolly Thoughts patterns are for sale on their website or via their Ravelry page.

If you're interested in trying your hand at illusion knitting, you can begin by checking out Wikihow's illusion knitting tutorial, or browsing the hundreds of illusion knitting projects on Ravelry, many of the patterns for which are available for free. The best of the patterns are from the Woolly Thoughts designers and are quite large and elaborate, but there are a number of smaller, simpler projects, such as scarves and dishcloths. If you have enough scarves and hate knitted dishcloths like I do, I recommend the very striking tulip cushion pattern shown above, which is available gratis from All Free Knitting. You might also join one of the several Ravelry illusion knitting groups.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

For Those Knitters Who Feel They Haven't Been Putting Enough of Themselves Into Their Work

For some people, hand-knitting is just so passé; arm-knitting is where it's at. Maggie of the blog Simply Maggie shows us how to arm-knit a scarf in half an hour and how to arm-knit a blanket in an hour.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Gulliver's Knitting

After a previous post on miniature knitting, it seemed only fair to do one on gigantic knitting.

Laura Birek of Nocturnal Knits saw a picture of a very large-gauge Anthropologie blanket and got inspired to try making one of her own. She bought about six pounds of roving, slightly felted it, split it in two, and tried knitting it up using broomsticks for needles. The broomsticks proved too small, so she went to Home Depot, bought a 10' length of 1.5" PVC pipe, had it cut in half, added some tips fashioned out of duct tape, and set to work. She called the result a Giganto Blanket. You can see Birek at work on a Giganto Blanket on YouTube (it's a lot of fun to watch her wield those PVC pipes), and read more about the project on her own site.

If you want to try making your own Giganto Blanket, you can buy the pattern and a tutorial from Birek on Ravelry. Birek estimates it takes two to three hours to felt the wool and two to four hours to knit the blanket (it's only 28 stitches wide), so it won't be the biggest time hog of a project you make all year, although it will almost certainly be the biggest hog of a knitting project you ever make.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

These Boots Were Knitted for Walking

If you're a frustrated cobbler who knows how to knit, there is a way to knit your own shoes: you can just cut the uppers off an existing pair of shoes, leaving a 1/2" or 3/4" strip around the sole, punch a series of holes in the strip, then knit new uppers using the holes as a base for your first row.

Alternatively, and this will not only be the easier route but probably make a sturdier shoe (I've read the knitted uppers can be a little floppy), you can simply knit pieces to match the existing uppers as closely as possible, and then super glue and lace them in place. You can find Ravelry member Kamillasvanlund's tutorial for the glued-on technique on here. Etsy seller Pretty Sneaky has a variety of great examples of "reupholstered" Converses in her Etsy shop (the two pictures above are her handiwork) and will also custom make them on order in any theme you'd like. She'll even do a custom wedding package for the groom and groomsmen in your wedding if you wish.

Some people knit new uppers for leather shoes as well, using the "cut the upper off and knit up from the remaining strip around the sole" technique. You can look at some instructional pictures here if my explanation didn't make any sense to you.

I am not sure how this espadrille-like pair was made as of course, since it used a flip-flop, there's nothing to stitch the new upper to. My best guess is that the new upper was glued on and that the braid hides the edges.

The adapted Converses look best — but the latter two executions leave... something to be desired aesthetically. I'd love to see what would happen if a really skilled designer took this idea and ran with it.