Extreme Knitting Part One

Have you ever knitted on oversized needles?  What are the largest knitting needles you own?  Looking through my stash, my largest are 1cm in diameter.  I can’t imagine a yarn chunky enough to knit with them.

But, durrr!  Use more than one strand then!  Why didn’t I think of this before?  OK then, here’s 7 strands of DK yarn on my 1cm needles:

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After a big of googling around, I realised I was dipping my toe into the phenomenon which is called ‘extreme knitting’ – using multi-strands of yarn on huge needles. There has even been a world record attempt by Rachel John, who managed to knit with 1000 strands.  It’s extreme all right!  Check it out.

Inspired, I set about finding the largest possible knitting needles.  Good old ebay came up trumps again, and I got hold of these hand-turned 2.5cm babies:

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I placed one of my favourite No 10 (3.25mm, US no 3) needles alongside to show just how much bigger they are.  Radical!

With great excitement I set about selecting suitably contrasting yarns out of my stash to pull together into one giant strand.  Twenty strands was about right, and I knitted this:

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I cast on 10 stitches and worked 10 rows in garter stitch.  My sample measures 23 x 15 cm.  That is not a lot of knitting for a piece of fabric that size.  And this is the easiest, most basic stitch.  Nothing fancy required.  So to say that it ‘grows quickly’, would be right.

But, the huge needles and 20 balls of yarn were tricky to handle.  At first, the balls of yarn were flying all over the place attracting my overgrown kittens to come and play.  It was like an extreme version of the black kitten in Alice Through the Looking Glass.  So I tipped all their toys out of their toy box to distract them, and quickly threw all the yarn into the box.  That made it a lot easier.  I had to make sure that I kept all the strands even.  Grappling with the massive needles required some muscle.  It was hardly a delicate and feminine activity.  In fact, this could be knitting for blokes.

The finished fabric is wonderfully thick and soft.  I am using it as a back rest on my rocking chair.  I love how the yarn ends make an instant tassel.  I also love how the different colours can produce different effects. Lots of potential here.  My kitchen chairs need new cushions.

Time to go and buy extreme amounts of yarn…..

Till next time,

L x

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