Around 15 years ago, while in my home country of Australia, I was reading an arts and crafts book – Simple Bead & Mosaic – where I saw the most beautiful pictures and instructions on how to make a knitted hemp curtain. The visuals stayed with me for many years, resulting in knitting my hemp twine curtains always on my list of things to do.
Six years ago, I finally was able to get started on that dream. I found a distributor online – Hemp Traders – and ordered around 20 balls of 1MM unwaxed hemp twine, to start. I found that buying online was a lot cheaper than buying twine from a retail store; the difference in pricing is astounding between the two. Buying retail you are looking at least $6 per ball, at Hemp Traders a singular ball is approx $4 but if you buy more than 10 balls the price drops to $2 a ball. BIG difference!
I then went to the arts & craft chain of stores here in the New York; Michaels and was so happy to find that they sold various glass beads in measured containers which you can see HERE. These pictures do not do the beads justice really, but if you decide to do something similar it will be handy for you to know what you are looking for. Plus, you can see in the photos how beautiful the beads look once knitted in! As far as pricing, I think they were around $12 a container which is quite reasonable for the hundreds of beads you get.
My Grandmother, who I sure do miss, taught me to knit when I was a little girl. I knitted for years and then I just stopped. Literally, me taking on this project I had not held needles in my hands in over 20 years. I was not sure how this was all going to work out but, I was determined.
I bought the biggest knitting needles I could find. Once comfortable, I fastened a knot on one the needles and cast on from there. I did not follow a pattern at all; I just knitted. I did however have some direction, I knew that I was knitting 2 curtains to fit sliding doors around the 6 foot mark? If I remember I initially cast on around the 150-200 stitch mark. I actually was holding out the length of my knitting along the window constantly through that first cast-on row to try and figure when I should stop and start knitting back the other way.
Knitting glass beads in a random color sequence keeps the design interesting. Not to mention, when the sunlight shines through the curtains, a delightful array of sparkle is shown across the room. It is truly magical to see, like little fairies dancing everywhere.
This is a wonderfully easy project which creates beauty reminiscence of old twine knitted fishing nets, just like I imagine is a seaside town like Cape Cod. They have a lovely nautical feel about them. I say it is an easy project because mistakes like loops and dropped stitches work really well because of the rough and tumble of the curtains. Speaking from experience, I actually knitted the wrong way a few times and left it because it looked really cool; gave the curtains more character you could say! Surely, the hardest part will be working out the measurements for the window you want to knit a curtain for.
What You Will Need
- Balls of 1MM unwaxed hemp twine which you can buy HERE
- Assorted colored glass beads with circular hole in the center
- Pair of Metric Size 11 knitting needles
- Large Eyed embroidery needle
- Curtain Rod
What To Do
- Pull the yarn from the ball and thread it up with 100 glass beads to start
- Loosely cast on stitches
- Work the first 2 rows in knit pattern
- Third row; knit in a glass bead every 5th stitch
- Repeat this pattern until desired length of curtain is reached, adding more balls of twine and beads as needed. Just keep on knitting
- Once you are around 4 inches from the assumed finished length, you will have to hang the curtain up for at least 48 hours to let it stretch, which will be caused mainly by the weight of the beads. I did this by oh so very carefully slipping my curtain off the needle and gently onto the curtain rod
- Once the 48 hours is over, adjust the length of the curtain by adding more rows or taking rows off
- To finish up; sew with the embroidery needle and some twine a running stitch across the length of the piece
- Knit 3 more rows and then cast off
- Fold the top edge and sew securely where the running stitch is making a loop which the curtain rod can slide through
- Slide onto curtain rod and hang up
**Aim for tension of : 5 stitches = 2in/5cm; 10 rows = 2in/5cm
So I know you are wondering just how long the curtains took me to knit? I am going to estimate at least 200 hours over 2 years. Yeah, I know, it was a HUGE project. I used thousands of glass beads and at least 50 balls of twine. Keep in mind I knitted 2 very large curtains, well actually 4 curtains as there are 2 smaller ones on either side of the big ones.
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