This was a fun project because it combined three things I love: hangers, color-blocking, and coming up with new ways to use the toilet paper roll knitter!
I really do love hangers. Do any of you remember the Hold Everything catalog? They used to have collections of different cool hangers that I found so exciting (never underestimate the benefits of being easily amused). I’ve sewed padded hanger covers in the past (green and navy tartan), covered old wire hangers with macrame knots a la Martha Stewart, and even offered such praise for a former co-worker’s handmade wooden hanger that he gave it to me. It’s the only unique hanger I still have hanging in my closet. Like many of us I’ve switched to the huggable hanger because it takes up less space and doesn’t distort the shape of your clothes. But when I recently saw a photo of a padded hanger, I instantly knew this was a natural for the toilet paper roll knitter. And every closet has room for a few padded hangers, right?
Let’s start with the hanger. They used to sell just a simple one-piece curved wooden hanger, but I couldn’t find any in my local stores. You might find something online, but there’s just not much in this style out there. You’ll likely need to buy padded hangers or make over ones you already own. I have two hanging in my closet from Loehmann’s, but now that Loehmann’s is a thing of the past I didn’t want to mess with those. So I bought a package of five from Bed Bath & Beyond and removed the ribbon, satin and foam padding. That left me with unfinished pieces of wood that I wrapped in one of my knitting materials, Hoooked RibbonXL in beige. This is easy to do if you hold the ribbon taut in one hand and use the other hand to twirl the hanger. Then measure your hanger from center hook to outer edge so you know how long to make your knitted tubes, one for each side of the hanger.
Do you know those wide rubber bands that come with your broccoli? I’ve started saving them because they work really well for holding the sticks on your toilet paper roll knitter. This one is made with eight popsicle-sized sticks. Place your rubber bands on the roll first and then position your sticks underneath them.
I used a variety of knitting materials for my tubes. The RibbonXL I already mentioned (great results, but hard to work with on the knitter), two old T-shirts, a Lion Brand Wool-Ease (really fun to knit with) and some Ella Rae Melbourne left over from this project. Just make sure to use a chunky or bulky weight yarn to get the coverage and padding you need.
Begin by dropping the tail of your yarn down through your knitter from the top to the bottom. Let a small amount of tail extend out from the bottom and you’ll have plenty for weaving in that end later. Now take your working yarn and start wrapping it around your sticks. It doesn’t matter which direction you move in (I like clockwise), but you must wrap your sticks across the back first, then around the front and across the back again.
Once you’ve wrapped a loop around each stick, go ahead and wrap another loop on top of it, all the way around the roll. Now you are ready to knit.
To begin knitting, *take the bottom loop on the first stick and lift it over the top loop and drop it onto the back side of the stick. Do the same for every stick on the roll. Then wrap another round of loops on top of the single ones remaining on the sticks* and repeat from * to * until you have a tube as long as the half hanger measurement you took above.
To cast off, cut a long yarn tail (8-10″), thread it onto a yarn needle and use your needle to pass the tail through every loop remaining on the roll. Then bring it through the loop on the first stick a second time. Pull your loops off the sticks as you pull on your tail to bring the loops together and close this side of your tube. Make a knot close to the center hole and use your needle to pull this knot through to the inside of the tube. Bring the needle out a couple of inches down from the closed tube end and trim your yarn tail. Now you’re ready to put your hanger together. Can you stand the excitement?!
Slide two knitted tubes onto either side of your hanger. You could stop here. Those tubes aren’t going anywhere, but adding a line of single crochet in a contrasting color gives a more finished look and helped me to tie this group of four hangers into more of a collection.
When I finished the crochet I cut a long yarn tail that I threaded through the loop that remained when I removed my hook. Then I used a yarn needle to hide the tails along either side of the knitted tubes. Cute, huh?!
What else can you make with a toilet paper roll knitter? So many things …
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