Introduction: Super Mario Sweater Vest
Knitting stitches are basically pixels, right? I took that idea to the extreme, and converted a screenshot of Level 1-1 from the original NES Mario Bros. game into a ginormous knitting chart made up of over 10 sheets of tabloid paper taped together, which I used to make a sweater vest for my video game-loving husband.
Step 1: Stash Up!
I used Palette fingering-weight yarn, from KnitPicks.com (http://www.knitpicks.com/cfyarns/yarn_display.cfm?ID=5420132). Please note, the sky colour I used two years ago has been discontinued so I tried to find a reasonable substitution in their current offering.
Pick up the following colours of Palette:
Sky (4 balls).
Masala (2 balls)
Cream (2 balls)
Black (1 ball)
Grass (1 ball)
Orange (1 ball)
Bison (1 ball)
Blossom Heather (1 ball)
Originally, I had to custom dye some white yarn to get the bright green for the pipes. Luckily, it looks like KnitPicks now offers a green that would be perfect, so also get:
Limeade Heather (1 ball)
Step 2: Dye Yarn (optional)
If you have a hard time finding any of the colours you need, it's easy to dye yarn. Just make sure your yarn is made of protein fibers (i.e. from an animal source, such as wool, silk, or alpaca) or nylon, and you can dye them using Kool-Aid or acid dyes.
To dye yarn, start with a light colour such as cream or white, and wind it into a skein around your arm (or around a niddy noddy, if you happen to have one). Tie it off in four places to prevent tangling, then soak the yarn for at least 15 minutes in a bowl or pot. Check out this video for more info on how to tie your skein of yarn.
If dying using acid dyes, follow the instructions that came with the dye. You'll need to add citric acid or vinegar to set the dye.
If dying using Kool Aid, dissolve some Kool Aid into a pot of water (the amount of Kool Aid you use will determine how saturated the colour will be), immerse the yarn, and heat until the water is clear (about half an hour).
Step 3: Print the Knitting Charts
These need to be very large charts, due to the large number of knitting stitches being charted. You’ll have to print them out on multiple sheets of paper and then tape or glue the sheets together, following the instructions below.
You'll need a printer and 12 sheets of letter-size paper for this step.
Print both the PlainChart-Front.pdf and PlainChart-Back.pdf knitting charts if you’ll be using your own knitting pattern for the size and shaping.
Or print the ShapedChart-Front.pdf and ShapedChart-Back.pdf knitting charts if you’re knitting one in the size shown here. These charts will give you guidelines for shaping the armholes and neckline.
Step 4: Trim the Pages of the Knitting Charts
You’ll notice each page has markings in the corner as shown in the diagram—these will help you cut and align the sheets.
Starting with page 2 of any of the charts, use an exacto knife to cut along the markings closest to the long edge of the left side of the paper as shown. Repeat with the remaining pages (leave page 1 intact).
Step 5: Assemble the Knitting Charts
Align the cut edge of page 2 with the right edge of page 1, lining up to the innermost markings as shown in the diagram above. Tape or glue the pages together along this edge. This is one row of pages of the knitting chart.
Make the other two rows of your knitting chart the same way, with pages 3 and 4, and then with pages 5 and 6.
Attach the rows to one another in the same manner: cut along the markings on the top edge of row 2, then align and attach it to row 1. Repeat for row 3.
Step 6: Knit and Enjoy!
If using the shaped knitting chart, knit about 2-3 inches of k1/p1 ribbing in Masala, then begin knitting the chart and follow the guidelines to shape the armholes and neckline. Attach the front to the back at the shoulders and sides. To finish the openings, pick up stitches along the neckline and armholes and knit k1/p1 ribbing for about 1 inch.
If using the plain knitting chart, find a sweater pattern you want to use. http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEss12/index.php has lots of great, free patterns you could try.