The Tiny obsession is still going strong here in Mochimochi Land, and the other day I attempted to take it to the next level by knitting with two strands of embroidery thread and sewing needles.
It was a complete bust! I just couldn’t get the cotton thread to cooperate, and the needles were pretty slippery too. Very frustrating. I’m certain I’ve heard of people using this technique and succeeding, so I must have been doing something wrong.
So now I’m dying to ask all of you if anyone out there has tried and succeeded at knitting with embroidery thread on sewing needles. Or, if like me you’ve tried and failed, please share your story too!
34 thoughts on “How Tiny can you Go?”
Try toothpicks; they aren’t so slippery.
Oh, that’s a good idea, but then aren’t toothpicks about as thick as the size 1 needles that I’m already using? Maybe there are skinnier varieties of toothpicks available…
that looks HARD! good luck!
I know you can do it!! ;) Could you give the needles a little spray of hair spray??
Yes! I’ve done it with toothpicks. Much easier. Less slippery.
you should try and find some bike spokes. that’s what they do in patagonia, so i’ve heard
When Coraline came out, they put out a video showing the costume designer knitting the tiny costumes for the puppets. I remember her saying she uses needles as thin as a human hair. Its just insane to watch.
OK, so maybe I need to seek out some thin toothpicks and give that a try! And maybe a lace-weight yarn would work better than cotton thread…
Rachel, I remember seeing that video a while back – amazing! I still haven’t seen Coraline though, so I need to do that one of these days.
I tried once!!! I used sewing needles and thread. It worked at first, but by the time I got to row 3 I was ready to rip my hair out…… It was very hard to see the sts, and the needles kept slipping.
Then I tried with toothpicks, Better, but still difficult. I suggest sanding the toothpicks before you start, the yarn will get caught on them very easily if you don’t.
See, I knew someone else must have tried it! Thanks for the sanding tip too, Knittedteacups!
chubseus succeeded at making a tiny grassling in that way (he was one of the top 10 in the photo contest a while back), except he used sewing thread rather than embroidery. it would be fewer strands to work with, certainly.
get a set of “sock needles”, which will include size 000 needles. I haven’t yet tried using them to knit anything, even though I knit socks, but they are super-skinny, while still being long enough to not make you crazy.
I have also used toothpicks. I wasn’t trying to make anything special tho. Just a broach that looked like it had knitting already on it.
Have you heard of this artist? http://www.willard-wigan.com/about-willard-wigan.aspx I thought of him when I was reading about your quest to go tinier. He’s amazing as well! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB2gxIDeUMs there is a video too. I saw him on CBS Sunday Morning not too long ago.
I have used the 0000 size needles, the actually are easy to work with once you get the hang of it. I used them for beaded knitting using size E beads and DMC 5 Cotton.
Give it a go!
What about floral wire? It is crazy thin, but longer (and you can always trim it), which might make it a bit less unwieldy.
Or the long, flexible wires people use in beading?
“Or the long, flexible wires people use in beading?”
-needles. not wires.
I’ve used the 0000 needles to make tiny socks, they were easy to handle.
You know, I had totally forgotten that there were size 0000 needles! There is a whole world of Tiny that I have yet to discover.
Google “miniature knitting.” There is a whole sub-culture of the knitting community dedicated to miniatures. Althea Crome is one of the biggest (tiniest?) names. There’s an interview with her here talking about her needles, though she doesn’t say where she gets them: http://evilbuttons.blogspot.com/2009/02/interview-with-coraline-micro-knitter.html
Also, Piecework recently did an issue featuring miniatures: http://www.interweave.com/needle/piecework_magazine/back_issues/september-2009.asp I think they interviewed Althea Crome in it, but I can’t find my copy. What I remember from the feature I read is that they all have good magnifiers (usually a magnifying lamp on their worktable) and that when they started, there weren’t supplies as easily available so they hacked something (floral wires or something like that).
What about gold plated tapestry needles? They tend to be “stickier” than regular needles, and not so stabby with their blunt points.
I have 0000 needles, so I have used those to knit some seriously tiny things. I think I will have to stash dive tonight and see if I can make a tiny thing with thread and similarly smaller materials!
Maybe you used too sharp needles. Try with needles for yarn (like on the Coraline’s video).
Probably a yarn problem also.
Althea Crome has a website – http://www.bugknits.com. She sells needles from 5/0 to 11/0. Lacis also sells needles down to 8/0. Miniature knitters have also used piano wire when other sources were unavailable.
you could try bone sewing needles (if those even exist) that might work. good luck :)
I could make you some needles out of music wire. They would not be as slick as needles but could still be pointed and quite strong. Let me know what size you want.
When I made a tiny grassling (http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Chubseus/grass) I used tapestry needles rather than sewing needles so that I wouldn’t stab myself. I used polyester thread, but I wouldn’t recommend it as it was very, very slippery. I’d say cotton sewing thread or probably any lace weight yarn would be best. Also, maybe try knitting something flat first to get the hang of it.
My last warning, watch out on decreases; ssk-ing was a bitch. And if you find a good way to pick up dropped stitches, let me know.
Great to hear how you did it, Chubseus! I am so impressed by your micro-grass.
Althea Crome makes her own needles out of wire – you could try that too, and it wouldn’t be too hard – you just need to sand the ends to a point. But there are also commercial needles available that are quite thin – check Lacis; I know they have a website. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!
Try toothpicks! I tried it and here’s my result! http://www.flickr.com/photos/kraftworkin/4311688294/
Hi, i´m knitting or my dollshouse dolls with yarn thiner then embroidery thread and i have special knitting needls to knit it.
So i could try to knitt your tiny patterns. but fist i have to buy one ;-)
hugs from Germany, Alex
To help when things are too slippery I run them along beeswax to give a little tackiness and it’s natural so it won’t ruin anything.
Both on several tv shows, Martha Stewart was one, and in two books, I’ve seen the miniature sweaters done by one lady.
When my eyes were younger, I crocheted many tiny things using a size 14 crochet hook and sewing thread, plus knit flat things with the embroidery needles and sewing thread. I just used what ever pattern I liked, regardless of thread or yarn plus needles listed and substituted with the tiny ones. I gave everything away years ago except for a tiny elephant and bear.
P.S. I had to knit flat because I could never master knitting with double point needles until I HAD to do Knitty and KnitPicks Sheldon the Turtle.
After some research thru my books, I found it was Althea Crome in the books and tv shows and you can buy patterns and needles at her site http://www.bugknits.com/
Also, from her links, I found the site http://www.mnsociety.org.uk/ – their gallery section has photos of beautiful knitted miniatures by Julia Matthew and Margaret Stitch.
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