Tape Case

No one makes mixed tapes anymore. Everyone that I know has moved on to CD’s and iMixes. Most of my musical existence is entirely contained on my ipod.

In fact, when I wanted to find an audio cassette I had to trek myself out to my 13 year old car to dig around for one (it is a bit of a time capsule – with a cassette player). All of the tapes had made their way into the trunk, usurped by my FM transmitter and ipod and languishing in the sun in the back. But i did find one. I started eviscerating it.

And then i started knitting.

The theme for this month’s whiplash challenge is “Alt Craft” and i decided to focus on the ‘nontraditional materials used with traditional techniques’ aspect. I already knew that though I could post instructions for my project, I want mine to be entered in the design category.

Knitting with audio tape isn’t one of the most pleasureable knitting experiences (tips at the end of the post). First, I wanted to liken it to knitting with Red heart Acrylic… But a more evil ribbon form of the yarn that twists up. then i started to get the hang of it. The crackling and crunching of the tape, and the squeaking of it against the knitting needles is actually pretty cool if you think about how its job it is to make sound.

A few inches of garter stitch later, I was finished. I constructed a cozy for my ipod from the innards of an old audio tape. My old and new music together at last.

It knit up into a loose fabric and you can still see the ipod inside. the “fabric” is crackly and really really shiny. I can’t believe how shiny it is. I haven’t seen a metallic brown quite like it.

I added two buttons so it would look like an audio tape, and a loop closure that wraps around the button to keep the ipod snug inside.

If you are thinking about knitting with audio tape, here are some tips:

  • Cast on with large needles – I cast on with 4’s and ended up knitting with 2’s the rest of the time.
  • Knit loosely – Knit looser than you have ever knit. Take the time to pull each new loop through all the way without stretching the tape. Sizing up to larger needles won’t necessarily be effective because that would just increase the amount of tape in contact with the needles. you don’t really want that since the stuff is kinda sticky and crinkly.
  • Try all of your needles – Plastic, wood, metal, give ’em all a go. You might be able to tolerate the feel of the tape against one more than the others. I settled on metal myself.
  • Audio tape is not elastic – and it is not forgiving. if you stretch out the tape when you knit a stitch, you probably won’t be able to get your needle through it on the next row. i found it to be much easier going once I stopped stretching out the tape.

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