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knitting from silk scraps

eauinaz | Posted in General Discussion on

I saw an ad in the NYTimes for a scarf knitted from small scraps of silk. Any suggestions on how to do this? I have some silk tie scraps and would like to give this a try. Thanks


  1. carolfresia | | #1

    OH, that sounds great! I'm afraid I can't tell you how, but I do have a sweater that is knit entirely of bias strips of china silk. The strips are about 1/2" wide, and where the strips are joined, they tied the ends together in a square knot and left the ends dangling on the outside. There are several other strips tied on to look like these joins as well, and so the whole sweater has a feathery, fluttery look when I move. I love it!

    I would actually suggest that you save the tie scraps for patchwork or piecing rather than knitting; I'm afraid you would lose the beautiful patterns on them if you crunch them up and knit. If you go to the Threads home page, you'll find (scroll down down down) some free mini-quilt templates for paper piecing. These miniature quilt blocks look fabulous in fine fabrics, and are actually wonderful for embellishing. I could see a small block or two made of tie fabric, appliqued to a velvet scarf, or a classic wool vest...hmmm, I guess I'm going to have to get to the thrift store for some ties!


    1. rjf | | #2

      Ooo, oooo.  I want to see that sweater.    rjf

      1. sarahkayla | | #3

        actually, I would like to see a sweater knit from tie scraps - the pattern would change into something tweedlike rather than remaining distinct.. I bet it would be light as air and comfortable - I have a sister who is severely allergic to wool - it would be perfect for her. cotton tends to be flat in appearance... i think this has real possibilities

        sarah in nyc

        1. carolfresia | | #4

          Yes, you'd very likely get a softened version of the original tie patterns, and that would be quite subtle and beautiful. But I love those prints enough that I'd rather seem them whole! The other drawback to knitting with the scraps is that I think you need quite a lot of yardage (even though you'd use a large needle size). Maybe a combination of solid silk, with the occasional tie silk, for a variegated effect? There certainly are lots of intriguing possibilities.

          Sarah, I remember when I worked in NYC that there was often a guy selling ties for $1, on the sidewalk near Penn Station. Nice ties, often, but not new, so ideal for this type of thing. Do you know of a way to get them even less expensively?


          P.S. Everyone, Sarah has a piece in an exhibit just about to open at the New York Historical Society, which focuses on objects hand-sewn in NYC from the past 200 years (or is it 300?). Sarah, I hope you'll report back about this--isn't the opening tomorrow? Congratulations!

          1. sarahkayla | | #5

            dear carol -

            1 - thanks for the plug - I'm sooooooo excited I'm near bursting - I feel like I've hit the medium time - I have some work in the permanent collection of another museum BUT my cousin was on aquisitions committee - so it does not quite count in the same way. I'm not related to anyone at the new york historical society. no one there went to camp with my sister.. so this feels very, very real.

            2 - I don't spend that much time around penn station... but my guess is that if you go to the salvation army  - perhaps the big one near the port authority and offer to unload all of their ties for one set price, they may take you up on it.

            3 - several years ago I responded to an ad in threads and bought a 10 lb box of scraps from the robert talbott tie factory. i think that the box plus shipping came to  $25. Most of the box is full but I have used those scraps in a million ways.

            4 - for readers who live in Boston... there is a tie factory in south boston you access them from the access road  going along the south east express way going northpast the lighting supply company - right near the gas tanks

             - sorry for the lame directions... it has been several years since I was there - it is worth a trip even if you don't buy scraps - just seeing the trays and trays of ties was worth the trip. I think I had asked about scraps but they said no - maybe one of you would be more persuasive than I was... But my guess is that folks from the south shore will know exactly what i'm talking about.

            sarah in nyc

          2. rjf | | #6

            Congratulations!  Can you post a picture or would that not be allowed since it's part of an exhibit?           rjf

          3. sarahkayla | | #7

            I stupidly didn't take a picture of the piece... maybe tomorrow...

            sarah in nyc

          4. eauinaz | | #8

            thanks for all the enthusiastic replies to my first post. What I still don't get is how to join the pieces.

          5. sarahkayla | | #9

            tie knots????

            sarah in nyc

          6. rjf | | #10

            Tying knots would work but you could also knit two or three stitches using both the old and the new piece.  Poke the ends to the back.  If it seems too slippery, you could use a crochet hook and pull the ends around the back loops, making sure to go backwards for the last one or two.  That works for me when I'm joing colors.    rjf

          7. Michelle | | #11


            Congratulations on your exhibit!  I'm so excited for you - is there a website that we could take a peek at?


          8. sarahkayla | | #12

            no - I have no website .. but if you email me I can direct you to my ofoto site...



  2. SewTruTerry | | #13

    If I remember correctly there was a program on Carol Duvalls show on HGTV with making the rag rugs that Carol showed everyone that the best way to join the ends was to make a slight slit in the end of the old and the new piece to join and thread the new piece into the slit on the old one and then thread the loose end of the new scrap threw it's own slit.  Is that really clear as mud? Let me know if I have not made it clear enough.

    1. Jean | | #14

      How far away from the ends should you make the slits? I'm assuming you mean slits like a button hole?

      1. SewTruTerry | | #16

        Yes like a button hole.

        1. Jean | | #17

          Umm, how far from the end?

          1. SewTruTerry | | #18

            Perhaps about an inch?  I guess it would depend on the fabric that you are using. If it is ravelly (sp?)  then it might need to be a little further from the end.  Also depends if you are cutting on the bias or straight of grain.

          2. Jean | | #19


          3. User avater
            ehBeth | | #20

            This has been a great thread to find and catch up on.  I've got a colleague/friend who buys silk blouses and ties at the Goodwill Buy-The-Pound store. She uses them for quilting. It's amazing how many silk blouses you can get in a pound.

            Great reminder about the thread through, and return.  I've been kind of mulling about the rag rug idea and had forgotten about that detail.

    2. rjf | | #15

      Ah-ha!  The first thing I officially wove was a rag rug and they said to join the two pieces, make a slit in both and thread one through the other.  So I did and it was very unsuccessful.  No one said "then the new end back through the new end's slit".  You've made it very clear.  Thanks.      rjf

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