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July 4, 2007

My Mom Hand-Knit An iPhone

apple-iphone-in-hand.jpg dt_handknit_iphone.jpg

My mom was insanely cool even before she knitted an iPhone. Last week, as the hype was peaking, I braced for reports of kids across the country grabbing for their parents' new iPhones; it was a drool-soaked disaster waiting to happen, like all those people who flung their Wii controllers into their flatscreens because they didn't think they really needed that wrist strap. Obviously, I thought, a kid needs his own iPhone so he won't play with his dad's. So I asked my mom if she could knit one. And she did. Frankly, I think it's cooler than the Steve Jobs version.

Here is her knitting saga, and the tips and details to help other knit-happy folks save $800.

Because it looked similar, I had forwarded a link to BitterSweet's instructions for knitting a Pop Tart cell phone cozy. Just change the colors, put buttons on instead of bead sprinkles, and you're done! I thought.


She tested a variety of yarns to get the best gauge. Some yarns that didn't work included a metallic silver and a fat, furry chenille. The frosting-as-screen never looked quite right, though, so she settled on making icons on an all-black face, and a black-and-grey back, using a slightly heavy gauge of wool.

Her iPhone is the same size as the original: 2.5 x 4.5 inches. She made it with #6 needles, and had 15 stitches, 6 per inch. The body is made using a stocking knit stitch, knit 1 purl 1, with 6" of black, and 3" of grey added to the end. This ends up being much easier than setting in a separate screen section.

dt_knit_iphone_front dt_knit_iphone_back

The icons are sewn on with 2-ply tapestry yarn. Some little details are stitched using a single ply of the yarn; others are made using a 2-ply French knot. If you're giving this to a teeth-equipped kid, it's possible that the knots and icon stitches could get gnawed off. If anyone has another idea for icons and the screen--like recreating an image or wallpaper on it, for example--definitely share it below.

It's important to block the body flat before adding the icons; use a steam iron and cloth and press on the wrong/purl side. That makes the icons much easier to sew. [On the last test version, my mom sewed up three sides of the phone, then started embroidering the buttons. This was all insane and backwards. But the buttons on before you assemble the phone. [And double check the placement and orientation; you know the old saying, measure twice, knit once. Though she asked me about it a couple of times, I couldn't see exactly where the fold would be; as a result, the buttons are upside down. Moral: Listen to your mothers, especially on the subject of knitting.]


To assemble it, fold the body strip in half and sew around three edges. [In order to give it a consistent edge, she even sewed across the end where it's folded.] I cut a piece of slightly dense foam just larger than the dimensions and stuffed it into the knitted pocket. I thought of putting a rattle inside it, but it seemed annoying.

Then she sewed it closed. She used the same grey yarn to sew it together. In order to create the chromey edge, she chain-stitched around the black edges of the face. I think it really stood out nicely.

The PopTart, she figures, would take just 30-45 minutes to make. The iPhone was considerably longer. Not counting the various tests and unpicking, the time requirement breaks down as follows:
knitting: 0.5 hours
buttons: 3 hours
sewing, stuffing, edging: 1 hour-plus
Total: 4-5 hours

Did I mention my mom is really cool?

posted July 4, 2007 1:26 PM | add to del.icio.us | digg this


Wow, your mom rocks.

posted by: throkky at July 4, 2007 7:31 PM

Yeah That! Pretty freakin' awesome. I especially love the step=by=step with pics.

posted by: Kelly at July 4, 2007 11:07 PM

Your mom is fantastic.

posted by: marya at July 5, 2007 12:33 AM

Cool mom! All i got was embarrassing multicoloured jumpers and cardigans!
Can you mom knit me a PS3?

[maybe for you. I'll have to wait a year before asking her to knit any more consumer electronics. -ed.]

posted by: Jase at July 5, 2007 4:23 AM

She forgot to knit the Apple logo on the back!

[yeah, 'forgot' is not quite the right word. -ed.]

posted by: Kaz at July 5, 2007 8:37 AM

I'm going to wait till the Iphone has more features before I knit one up.

posted by: israphael at July 5, 2007 3:06 PM

The key here is that she knitted it for your daughter. My mom will walk over blazing coals to do projects and buy stuff for my son, but I've got an unfinished quilt from 1993 that she's never gotten around to taking care of. It's all about the grandkids, baby.

[an excellent point which I completely forget -ed.]

posted by: Mark at July 5, 2007 7:03 PM

You are lucky to have such a talented, creative, and patient mother!

You have some wacky ideas, but I heard the home-made slip-in-slide was a hit!

posted by: Emily at July 5, 2007 11:08 PM

Hey there! This is absolutely awesome. I've linked to you on my site here!

posted by: Abi at July 6, 2007 5:29 AM

Very cool! I bet it's much more cost-effective than the real i-phone. :-) She should sell them with the iphone so parents could give it to their kids. Where can I buy one?!

I'm will put a link to this post from my blog! I will have to do it later today because now I have to get the kids up and fed and off to school/care.


posted by: Aruni at July 6, 2007 8:00 AM

Seriously- I'll buy one if your Mom is interested in doing it. Heck, I can think of several people who would love to get one as a gift, so I would buy more than one.

posted by: Chris at July 6, 2007 6:02 PM

Haha! This is so great. There's actually buttons that you can record sound on and then purchase, and how neat would it be to put a few inside the phone: sound effects!
I didn't actually understand the PopTart...but now I'm kinda jealous...ha.

posted by: EmK. at July 6, 2007 7:03 PM

This is so funny :) Please sell them to Germany. We're waiting for the iPhone and don't have the possibility to take them from our parents :)

posted by: Markus at July 6, 2007 9:58 PM

Your mom rules!!!!!

posted by: Bill at July 7, 2007 7:07 AM

Can I camp out outside of your house to buy one?

posted by: Bill at July 7, 2007 7:09 AM

I'm a knitter and a mom, so this idea really hit the spot for me! A tip of the knitting needle to your mom!

posted by: Suna at July 7, 2007 10:07 AM

It s just horrible and useless... Would have asked for a hat, jumper or a scarf...Hum! I get it! So that s how you get not to wear the horrible things she knit! Brilliant!

posted by: john at July 7, 2007 10:32 AM

And the best part, if you put it up on eBay, SOMEONE would pay $750 for it!

posted by: scottt at July 7, 2007 7:18 PM

Genius! Supermum's really got to adopt this as her next project...

posted by: (un)relaxeddad at July 8, 2007 1:40 PM

That's awesome!

She should get a black turtleneck, and old whitewash jeans - she'd make billions too.

posted by: creative-type dad at July 8, 2007 2:33 PM

LOL! i am going to knit one for myself. maybe more as gifts

posted by: jana at July 9, 2007 5:06 PM

Wow your mom is awesome. Send her over tonight I want to know what she can do IN BED.

posted by: hao at July 9, 2007 8:46 PM

Dude. Tell your awesome Mom that she's been put into Ravelry fame!!

posted by: Kimberly from Some Bunny's Love at July 11, 2007 10:33 AM

And it will keep your ear warm in winter months!

posted by: Lucy at July 11, 2007 2:04 PM

Your mum rules man!!!

posted by: Liam at July 18, 2007 11:03 AM

You got on the innnocent drinks newsletter well done!

[! -ed.]

posted by: Eim at July 19, 2007 5:46 AM

Hey! I've been translated you article to portuguese and now it's on my blog, ok? With your credits ;-)


posted by: Wendell Raphael at July 23, 2007 3:42 PM

hehe nice :-]

now get MY mom to knit [or even better, buy] me an iPhone :P

-- greetings from Argentina, where noone has an iPhone :P

posted by: scancode at July 29, 2007 9:57 AM

love the iphone.

posted by: Reve at August 17, 2007 11:42 AM

Great job thanks for sharing.

posted by: Embroidery Designs Shop at August 29, 2007 2:43 PM

This is great! In Holland, there ar no iPhones, so I will knit one myself! (My mum hates my love for Apple...)

posted by: Bor at September 9, 2007 1:45 PM

Your mom is a rockstar!

posted by: Rob at September 28, 2007 5:56 PM

I've got two suggestions for icons for the non-teething - First, buttons, fabric or felt.

You could decorate the buttons/fabric/felt with permanent markers. Or maybe even find some cotton prints of items and cut them out, sew them on.

Or HP-The Ink Company makes iron on transfers. Simply scan an iPhone or find a good JPG on line, print to the iron on transfer, sew to some fabric and sew the knitted iPhone to the transfered pic.

I sent this pattern to Grandma! Thanks!

posted by: Jilbert at November 8, 2007 10:42 AM

I don't really see the ipoint.

posted by: Peter Carvell at November 8, 2007 11:12 AM


The INQ have this on their homepage! :)

posted by: Jon at November 8, 2007 11:22 AM

Dear old lady:
It has come to my attention that you have made an unauthorized use of my copyrighted work entitled iPhone. I have reserved all rights in the Work. Your work entitled "knitted iPhone" is essentially identical to the Work and clearly used the Work as its basis.

As you neither asked for nor received permission to use the Work as the basis for "knitted iPhone" nor to make or distribute copies of same, I believe you have willfully infringed my rights under 17 U.S.C. Section 101 et seq. and could be liable for statutory damages as high as $150,000 as set forth in Section 504(c)(2) therein.

I demand that you immediately cease the use and distribution of all infringing works derived from the Work, and all copies, including electronic copies, of same, that you deliver to me, if applicable, all unused, undistributed copies of same, or destroy such copies immediately and that you desist from this or any other infringement of my rights in the future. If I have not received an affirmative response from you by yesterday indicating that you have fully complied with these requirements, I shall take further action against you.

Very truly yours,
Steve Jobs

[yeah, you laugh now. just wait until the real fake steve jobs tracks you down. -ed.]

posted by: steve jobs at November 8, 2007 3:09 PM

Very cool.... is there any chance of your mom knitting me a lamborghini murcielago!!!

posted by: i need a fluffy car at November 16, 2007 9:21 AM

Your mom is so cool :)

posted by: Rasho at March 24, 2008 6:49 AM

cool but y, it is different ill give u dat

posted by: ash at March 29, 2008 4:00 PM

very cute!

posted by: geoff at April 9, 2008 12:04 PM

Nice and I put you on our Gizmo of the week page!

posted by: Sam Deeks at April 12, 2008 9:33 AM

Thats an epic iphone.

(> >)
Bunny thinks so too.

posted by: Monawkawan at April 23, 2008 3:01 PM

Thats an epic iphone.

(> >)
Bunny thinks so too.

posted by: Monawkawan at April 23, 2008 3:03 PM

You know, the top-left green one and the one under it; if you put them together it looks like Super Mario Brothers' very own Luigi!!!!!

posted by: Chris at May 3, 2008 10:39 PM

That is one of the stupidest things i have ever seen.
Why didn't she just buy you one.
If yall can't get, do what I did make an iphone made of duck tape.
But that took a lot of skill, i guess

[i guess. -ed.]

posted by: halzonical at May 29, 2008 5:56 PM


posted by: hannah at June 3, 2008 9:30 AM

Lighten up guys, its a toy for a little kid! Really, all the negativity is unnecessary and childish. The knitted iPhone is really quite cute! What a lucky kid to have such a great mom. :-)

posted by: Shawn at June 13, 2008 6:02 AM

Well, although I hate the iPhone, this is oe thing which is nice, lets see if my mum makes me one too.

posted by: iPhone hater at June 27, 2008 5:37 AM
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