Lexi Boeger’s newest book Hand Spun (Quarry Books, 2012) offers a unique collection of innovative spinning techniques and inventive yarn projects. Get inspired to make art-yarn with Boeger’s step-by-step instructions on several DIY projects including tips on how to make yarn hats. In this excerpt from “Projects: Keeping it Simple,” learn how to make a yarn beanie using a sewing machine.
You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Hand Spun.
Are you frustrated by difficult knit and crochet projects? Ready to turn the needles on yourself? Don’t do it! Switch it up with a quick and easy way to make material from your yarn using a sewing machine. Yarn material is made by lining up yarn strands in orderly rows, and then sewing across them with a straight stitch. This is a wonderful way to see all the yarn, as none of it gets hidden in knit or crochet stitches. A quick and easy way to get started is to find a beanie that you already love, and use it as a guideline for your pattern. Be aware, however, sewn yarn does not stretch, so make it exactly (or ever so slightly smaller than) the circumference of your head.
Approximately 3 oz (85 g) yarn of your choice
Sewing threads to match
Take your skein of yarn and cut clean through it in one spot so you have many lengths of single strands. Using an old beanie or a shape sketched out on paper as a guide, lay the strands in manageable groups on top of the pattern and cut them to size leaving yourself a generous 3/4" [1.9 cm] seam allowance, as some yarns will shrink a bit with the sewing. (You can trim the resulting fabric to size after the main sewing is finished.) Make sure the strands are laying right next to each other and only one strand deep. Cut enough lengths to cover the pattern; this will make one-half of the beanie.
Thread the sewing machine with the thread chosen to go with your yarn. Starting with a small group of yarns from either the top or bottom of the pattern (about a 2" [5.1 cm] wide group) gently sew across the center of them being careful to keep them in order and preserving their original spacing.
Now move to the left or right an inch (2.5 cm) and stitch another line.
Repeat this process until the whole strip is tacked together. Repeat this process to connect the remaining yarn segments. Be methodical as you tack these strips together, laying them back in their proper place on the pattern piece so they don’t get mixed up!
You should now have one-half of your beanie tacked together in strips. Begin tacking the strips together by abutting one strip against the next and sewing a line across the strips between the original stitching, sewing from one strip through the next, thus connecting them. Connect each strip to the whole in this manner. At this point, half of the hat will be loosely connected. Now go through and fill in and strengthen the material by stitching lines all the way through, again sewing in the spaces between prior stitching. Once the material seems sound, you’re done sewing!
Repeat this process for the second half of the beanie.
Put it Together!
Now stitch the two halves together by placing the right sides together (if you have them) and stitch the edges with a 3/4" (1.9 cm) seam allowance. To make sure the seam is sound, I suggest sewing over it a second time as the yarn could pull out if it is spun softly.
Reprinted with permission from Hand Spun by Lexi Boeger and published by Quarry Books, 2012. Buy this book from our store: Hand Spun.
Check out what’s happening this July at Lexi Boeger’s 3rd annual Yarnival.