How to Knit With Leather

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Knit with softened leather cord the way you would with yarn.
Knit with softened leather cord the way you would with yarn. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Knitted leather is a strong, flexible and versatile material. Knitters can use soft, slender leather cord to create a tightly-knotted fabric; a thicker, stiffer cord will knit into a chunky, funky open-work weave. Crafters can knit belts, vests, bags or headbands from leather cord, any of which can add flair to dressy or casual outfits. Before working with leather cord, you must straighten it and soften it. After you have prepared it properly, use it the same way you would use a thick yarn.

Unwrap the leather cord from its spool or remove it from its packaging. Beginning at one end, take a few inches of the cord between your hands, and bend the section into a curve. Flex the curved cord back and forth until it softens, then reverse the curve and flex the other side of the cord.

Advance to the next section of cord and repeat the process. Continue this curving and flexing routine along the entire length of cord. When you reach sections that already have a curve in them due to the packaging or the spool, invert the curve and work the leather from the opposite side until it lies flat.

Thread a bone bead onto the leather cord if you want to soften it or distress it beyond what you can do with just your hands. Angle the bead so it gently scrapes against the leather, then pull the bead back and forth along the cord. This technique flattens and relaxes the leather and gives it a distressed look.

Knit with your prepared cord the way you would with yarn. If you want to create a closed weave with leather, use small needles and a narrow cord, softened as much as possible. Use a wider, stiffer cord and bigger needles to create an open weave.

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