After playing with a few different methods, I ended up bending used bicycle spokes to craft a bike frame and act as the hidden base layer that would provide support. At the time, I didn't have any size 1 or 2 double pointed needles, so I fashioned "knitting needles" out of some modified spokes. Knitting with bicycle spokes is a neat idea but also a bit painful on the fingers after awhile. I used Lion Brand [http://cache.lionbrand.com//yarns/wooleaseChunky.html Wool-Ease Chunky] yarn from my stash. In areas where I wanted a "thinner" yarn - like the fork, stem, handlebars, chain and seat stays - I separated the strands that made up the original yarn. Then I knit I-cord directly around the entire frame and wheels.
A few other tidbits about this project:
-The knit bike is modeled after my partner's Surly Long Haul Trucker (photo included in slideshow).
-The proportions match the full-size original bike. The knit bike was miniature in comparison, maybe six inches in length.
-The wheels move and have tensioned spokes made with embroidery floss.
-I cut a red heart out of some extra bike helmet padding and sewed it onto the front where a bike's head badge would normally be.
-The chain is braided embroidery floss.
-Keeping with the recycled intention of the art auction, I did not purchase anything new for this and used yarn leftover from other projects.
-The kickstand is not functional. You couldn't put it up and ride this thing.
-The man in some of the pictures in the slideshow is who bid on and won the bicycle!
-Maybe next year a full-size bike?