December 3, 2015

DIY Spool Knit "Merry" Christmas Letters in Candy Cane Colors

In a similar vein to my candy cane spool knit ornament, I made these festive holiday letters. I decided to spell out "merry", but you can use whatever word or phrase you wish.

You'll need a spool with nails or tacks knocked in, some sort of fiber for the "knitting" part, flexible wires, needle-nose pliers, and a needle. I used red and white baker's twine as my fiber.

For my spool knitting tutorial, please click here.

I used graph paper to draw my letters, making sure they'd be the same height and I used similar widths as well. Make sure you draw your letters as one continuous line. You can see here where I changed straight lines into loops to do this. We'll recreate these letters in wire to provide an inner structure and form for the spool knit tubes.

Here's an example of what some of your finished letters will look like.

A close-up of some of the letters so you can see the details better and the effect that variegated twine creates.

To form your inner wire frames/structures, cut a long length of wire. I believe I used 20 gauge gold-tone wire for mine. Lay the wire on top of your sketched letters (I traced my finished letters onto white paper so I could see the wire better as I bent it). Use your pliers to bend the wire into each letter. I found a few gentle bends where the wire overlapped or curved was all that was needed. You can also use your hands to bend parts of the wire into shape.

Make sure you leave 1/4" or so of overhang at the beginning and end of each letter. You'll be bending this later (see two pictures down).

Here's my almost-finished "Y". I closed my pliers on the place where the wire overlapped to keep the pieces fairly close together. You want enough room to slide your tube past this point, but not so much that the top piece is up in the air.

To finish your wire forms, bend each end down into a loop (you can see this here on the end I left uncovered). This will prevent the wire from getting poked up through the tubes.

When each letter's form is completed, knit your tubes. As I spool knit each piece, I'd pause along the way, lay it over my forms, and make sure I was going to have a long enough knit tube for each length of wire. You want a little bit extra on the beginning and end of each letter so the tube isn't stretched tight. Don't leave so much, however, that your tube ends up bunched and wrinkled. I'd say about 1/4 - 1/3 an inch extra per end is good.

Leave an extra six inches or so of twine/fiber at each tube's end. Pull the spool knit tube's ends up over the wire loops and use your needle to gather the ends together. Cinch tight 

When you're done, insert the needle into the tube for an inch or so, and then back out. Pull slightly tight, and cut the extra off close to the tube. This will ensure that each end "disappears" inside the tube.

The finished product!

And, because I couldn't resist, I snapped a photo of the letters in our tree surrounded by white lights. This year, I'm displaying the letters as a banner. I strung them on white yarn and hung them over a doorway to make my little guy smile!

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