One of the best things about the Knitting and Stitching show this year was the Extreme Knitting.
Rachel John was selling wonderful rugs, quilts and shawls, and immense knitting needles - and demonstrating her technique.
What she is doing is fabulous - not only are the results gorgeous, but its perfect for using up bits and pieces of yarns, combining textures and colours - and using industrial supplies and/or charity shop finds (etc etc) - hence NOT spending loads of money on beautiful but so-expensive "designer" yarns.
She knits on huge knitting needles, and with anything up to 200 strands of yarn, knitted together.
Her pieces have wonderful weight - blankets, shawls, floor rugs up to one inch thick - real heirloom pieces. They are very solid but also soft, luxurious and practical.
The demo was great - she gave some useful practical tips and really encouraged everyone to have a go for themselves. I certainly plan to try this, I've so many odds and ends sitting waiting to be used. And I think it would be fairly easy to at least have a go - if I start with only 5 or 10 strands! 50 or 100 probably takes a bit of working up to.
The piece here on which Rachel demonstrated is being knitted with 35 strands, and the needles are about 24cm thick.
She said she usually rests the ends of the needles on her chair/sofa, so that the weight isn't too much of a problem.
This rug (below) was woven with 50 strands, and the colours were beautifully graduated from sea green-blue at one end, through blue and red to orange and yellow at the other end.
For more info., click here and scroll down to August 2005 - theres a pdf press release with info. and more pictures.
Have a go! I'm off to buy some dowelling, and to phone my wood-working father....