Wednesday, 2 November 2011

*Tutorial* - Upcycled Knitting Needle Case From Old Jeans and Shrunk Jumper!

I am a magnet for stray knitting needles and jumpers that get shrunk in the wash... and don't get me wrong, I love that people know they can give these unwanted items to me and that I will put them to good use. I currently have enough random sets of needles to open a shop and so decided to give a full set away to a friend for her birthday... This seemed simple enough until I came to wrap them as a gift, and so was born the upcycled knitting needle case!

For this project you will need:
  • offcuts of denim from when you cut your jeans into shorts - preferably with a turn-up hem
  • the arm from an old jumper (sweater) - preferably slightly shrunk from the wash
  • thread, scissors, measuring tape, ruler
  • set of knitting needles (I used 9 pairs for my set)
Let's get started!

1. First of all take your jeans leg and cut it apart so that you have a front and a back - you only need to use one of these pieces to make the needle case. Then make sure the top, where you chopped them off to make the shorts, is nice and straight as this will be the top of your needle case too. Next place it, with right sides facing, against the arm of your old jumper (as above). Pin together & trim the jumper so that both pieces are the same size - check that the height is tall enough to take the tallest needle in your set!

Note: if your jeans leg does not have a turn-up hem, make one yourself by turning the bottom hem up approx 12cm (4 3/4") before pinning to the jumper - this is the part that holds the needles in the case so it's pretty important!

2. Sew around three sides of the case, leaving the top edge open. Secure the ends and turn right side out. Press and slip stitch the open edge closed. My jumper arm had a frilly cuff and so I used this as a decorative feature for the top of my needle case

3. Lie the case flat and measure how wide it is. Divide this number by the amount of knitting needles you want to store in your case. I had 9 pairs of needles and the width was almost 20cm (8") so I marked along the width at 2cm (3/4") intervals (as above)

4. Using a tailor's chalk I marked the lines up the length of the fabric to use as sewing guides (as above). Sewing beyond the section that holds the needles in place gives the needle case a quilted effect as well as more stability in general

5. Next make the tie for your knitting needle case when it is rolled up, use either a left-over strip from the jumper arm, or if there is not enough fabric left, a length of ribbon. To prevent fraying on the jumper arm strip, I folded it in half lengthwise and used a zig-zag stitch on my machine. Pin the tie at the edge, halfway down the needle case at its own central point (as above). You will sew it in place when you sew the relevant dividing line

6. Sew along your guides - I used thread to match the jumper so that it added a decorative effect on the denim (see above). Be careful to sew the tie in place only once! - move it out of the way as you sew along the other guides!  

Note: if any of your sewing guidelines are very close to a thick hem on the jean leg, use the zipper foot on your sewing machine to get closer to it

7.  Place the pairs of knitting needles into the case in size order and simply roll the case up using the tie to secure it. And there you have it! One fab, upcycled, hand-made knitting needle case to keep you company on your knitting adventures during the coming chilly winter evenings!

I'd love to see how your own version of this project turns out... feel free to upload pics into my Get Smitten Flickr group. And what do you plan on knitting this winter? Have you started already?


Lisa x

{photos by Lisa Pocklington for Get Smitten, vintage fabric used as backdrop available to buy in the Get Smitten boutique here}

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