Unique Homemade Birthday Gifts

By J.C. Lewis

Unique Homemade Birthday Gifts

Give a unique homemade gift by taking a meaningful image and creating a knitting pattern for cushions, quilts, and other creative textiles.

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By J.C. Lewis

OverviewA unique homemade birthday gift can be made by transforming a personal and special image into a color knitting chart. Images with bold outlines in a limited color palette are easily charted onto knitters’ graph paper, and using a computer makes the job fairly simple. The image can be turned into a knitted piece by following the chart, making it into a one-of-a-kind bag, cushion cover or patchwork blanket as a thoughtful gift.Making a Unique GiftStep 1Find an image that is personally significant to the gift recipient and paste it into Photoshop. If you have a hard copy of the image, then scan it into your computer. Ideas include a favorite flower, the face of a favorite musician or band logo, or an image of an animal or instrument.Step 2Change the size of the image to 11 inches wide and change the color to grayscale if the image is originally in color. Reduce the resolution to around six pixels per inch. You can experiment with different image-adjusting techniques for artistic effects.Step 3Print the image onto a sheet of knitters’ graph paper. You should still be able to distinguish the individual squares on the paper, but if they are not clear, go back and lighten the image and print it out on a new piece of graph paper.Step 4Count the number of squares the image covers on the graph paper horizontally and cast on this many stitches plus any extra border stitches you want. Knit in one color for a few inches, then follow the printed chart to knit the image in a contrasting color using fair-isle or intarsia techniques.Step 5When you reach the end of the chart you should have a square or rectangular piece. Turn this into a bag by knitting another plain piece the same size and seaming them together along three sides. Add bought or knitted handles to the top. Turn it into a cushion cover in the same way, seaming the third side after inserting a cushion form. Knit other squares or rectangles the same size, with or without the same image, in matching colors and piece them together to make a patchwork quilt.skill3ingredientAn image
Photoshop or similar software
Knitters’ graph paper
Two colors of the same yarn
Size 8 knitting needlesingredientsAn imageingredientsPhotoshop or similar softwareingredientsKnitters’ graph paperingredientsTwo colors of the same yarningredientsSize 8 knitting needlestipYou can change the size of the knitted piece by either changing the needle size or increasing or reducing the knitters’ graph paper size on a photocopier.

Images with strong outlines in one or two colors work best as they can be easily charted.

If you do not have the appropriate software or computer equipment, photocopy knitters’ graph paper onto tracing paper, then trace the image, filling in the squares with a pencil.tipsYou can change the size of the knitted piece by either changing the needle size or increasing or reducing the knitters’ graph paper size on a photocopier.tipsImages with strong outlines in one or two colors work best as they can be easily charted.tipsIf you do not have the appropriate software or computer equipment, photocopy knitters’ graph paper onto tracing paper, then trace the image, filling in the squares with a pencil.keywordknit, gift, birthday, intarsia, fair-islekeywordsknitkeywordsgiftkeywordsbirthdaykeywordsintarsiakeywordsfair-isleResourcesreferenceStitch ‘n Bitch Nation; Debbie Stoller; 2004

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