I first started noticing the “Extreme Knitting” trend in while I was in the midst of a home remodeling project. I frequently browsed photos from Houzz, and started noticing the super chunky knitted accessories. Once I noticed them, I saw them EVERYWHERE, and I decided I had to try it for myself.
Of course, I clicked on You Tube for some video reference and found this incredible video of Rachel John breaking a world record for knitting with the most strands – she used 1000 – I didn’t even know there was a world record for the most strands! Really impressive – but not quite what I had in mind.
Next, I started pinning ideas to my Pinterest Page. I really had a rug in mind – I was also considering a wall hanging, but I still had to find my yarn and needles. I did some research online, and also talked to some of my yarn gurus. I learned that, for a rug, I wanted to make sure I didn’t buy twisted roving. While it would give me the chunk I was looking for, it would also shed, pill and shred if I used it in a high traffic area. Since I live in a NYC apartment, all my areas are high-traffic areas. So now I was on the lookout for a tightly spun (denser) yarn, or one that had been felted.
Here are some fabulous examples of the type of yarn I was on the hunt for:
This is a merino wool from TJOCKT
Here is a range of merinos from Loopy Mango
Here is some of the un-spun variety from Knitting Revolution on Etsy
I ended up getting yarn from TJOCKT because they offered a few different types, including one called Fat Chance Finn which is made out of 100% Finnsheep Wool. I had never seen Finsheep Wool, so I bought 400g of dark grey and 226g of silver. I also splurged on 600g of the Fat of the Land Merino because I loved the color Oyster.
I had to wait for my yarn to come from Finland – very suspenseful! Here’s my yarn when it arrived!
The largest size needles in my collection were a US size 19. And while I was covetous of many of the handmade knitting needles I found, ultimately I bought the Knitter's Pride basix circular needles. US size 50, with a 40” circumference. I also got a ChiaoGoo crochet hook in size U, which I thought would be handy for weaving in any ends.
I decided I would make a basket out of the Fat Chance Finn first and then decide what to do with the Merino. I cast on 12 stiches with the silver color to do the base of the basket in garter stitch, and it knit up very quickly, making a base 15”x9”. I used the dark grey to pick up 6 stitches on each short side and another 12 stitches on the long side, for a total of 36 stitches. I really had trouble with the big needles, my stitches kept falling off, or I would clumsily drop the needles while I was trying to complete a stitch. I got the hang of it soon enough and was able to knit up the sides of my basket. I decided it needed a little shaping so I started tapering in the sides at each corner. Since I was working in the round, I had to use a stitch marker. The only thing I had handy that was large enough was a ponytail holder!
As I knitted on, I realized this was not knitting I could do while multi-tasking. I needed to pay attention since many of the stitches had to be manipulated into place and I was constantly shimmying stitches over the cable onto the giant bulky needles. I think straight needles may be easier because of this. The bind-off was also pretty tricky and was happy I had the crochet hook as I used it for most of the bind off.
Here’s the finished product. It will fit magazines and books – maybe I’ll use it for gloves, hats and scarves for the Winter…
But now it’s holding…what else? Yarn!