Gift Idea: Knit Guitar Strap (with pattern chart)

For J's birthday, I wanted to make him a knit guitar strap but was having a rough time finding what I wanted. The closest I came to a pattern that suited what I was looking for was Banshee by Vickie Howell. There were some other designs that looked doable, but I wasn't psyched about lining the knit with fabric or not lining at all (stretching to the max if used on a heavier electric guitar).

Instead of creating the strap from scratch, I bought a guitar strap to work with from Musician's Friend. This is a suede strap that had rave reviews from guitar players and still had a gentle price. I ordered the strap first in order to see exactly what the dimensions were. While measurements were naturally given on the site, it was much easier to create a gauge for myself with the strap in front of me and also determine how close to the edges or logos I wanted to get.

The motif I used is a great design I found in 1000 Great Knitting Motifs by Louise Roberts. She has a generous collection of patterns primarily organized by cultural influences. I used Paint to create graphs so that I could test out color schemes for the pattern instead off knitting multiple test swatches. (The outer brown line compares the color of the strap to the rest of the design)

Sizing wasn't terribly difficult to figure out. I cast on the number of stitches needed for the motif and adjusted needle sizes two or three times to determine what width would be best for the strap. Then off I went, knitting the pattern to the desired length. I highly recommend loose knitting for stretching! Even though I used 100% wool yarn, I still did some quick ironing to make it lay flat. Blocking is slower but just as effective.

This may be the home free step for sewers with leather work experience, but for people like me with no leather sewing experience and high concerns that I'd ruin it, try investigating local stores and services that might be able to help you out. I went in to a local shoe store that does custom work, and they sewed the motif onto the strap for me for much less money than I expected. The important qualification is that the location does custom work. There are plenty of department and specialty stores that sell the wares but don't have a talented leather worker on site.

Overall, the strap turned out great. J has exulted how comfortable the strap is and loves the pattern. :)

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