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Stop terrorizing the playground, make your own indoor swing

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Step 1
An upcycle mission

You may have seen these colours on the high-street, lining the windows in technicolour lattice of one much-adored brand of the people… Uniqlo! (Although I’d have taken McDonalds for an answer too – McCheese-strings can totally be a thing.) Celebrating their 100% Extra-fine Merino Wool collection, Uniqlo had their windows bedecked in an installation that involved meters and meters of elastic strings – seven boxes of which ended up in my cave of a flat early last week for a rather exciting upcycling collaboration.

Now, don’t let the breezy number ‘seven’ fool you, because the boxes held over four hundred rolls in 65 different shades, which is naturally 64 more than my hamster brain can compute. Mind-boggled, I called Gyu (a CSM knitwear graduate, who, for long-time followers should be familiar from previous posts) for advice. ‘Oh jeez we can build an Oompa Loompa village with all this‘ was her greeting when she stepped into my apartment blanketed with a layer of awkward-shaped rolls of rainbow strings… We flirted with ideas like tents, trampolines and canopies, and tested the strings with various tension swatches (double-crochet, knitting, weaving, braiding…). Finally deciding on building a hammock, she left me after a few lessons on macramé techniques (promptly forgotten the moment she was out the door…)

Turns out one needs a company of veteran knitters to accomplish anything as big as your body. Well, I should’ve known, I have troubles applying body lotion.

So that’s the story of the swing.

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Gyu testing single-crochet in a swatch

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Step 2
What you’ll need

Extra-strength yarn (I used three colours – 1 skein of the main colour and a bit of the other two) · knitting needles (appropriate for the choice of yarn, I used 6mm) · crochet hook or yarn needle · 7 meters sturdy rope (before purchasing, make sure to determine length by measuring height to ceiling) · 2 x stripwood (cut to 25cm long. Make sure they’re wide enough to fit the rope with enough room around) · 2 x D-rings · Optional and depending on method: Sandpaper · drill · 2 x ceiling hooks.

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Now, I really do recommend testing elastic tension for the swing seat by knitting up a square swatch before starting the project, and putting your entire weight on it. You might find that your yarn, or even knitting tension calls for some mini problem-solving/improvisation. Alternatively, this project can be done with cotton fabric, which can easily be sewn around the stripwood.

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Start by knitting the swing seat – cast on 30 stitches and knit in moss stitch (Mine shows garter stitch) until work measures the width of ONE thigh – the seat will expand when sat on. Cast off. (If adventurous, try the herringbone stitch and knit until work measures about 30cm)

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1. Drill two holes big enough for the ropes at each end of the stripwood, leaving at least 1.5cm space around the hole. 2. Bind the knitted work to the stripwood using the Crocet hook or knitting needle. 3. Insert one end of the rope through the hole, and make a knot. 4. Loop the rope into the D-ring and hang onto ceiling, then repeat step 3 once the length is determined. Repeat on the other side.

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Step 4
Swing & tips

The best way to determine how high the swing should hang is to measure it about an arm’s length higher than your normal dining-room chair. That way, the swing seat will extend to a natural hanging-length. Adjust the rope knots for length if too long. Depending on the type of rope, you will need to secure the edge with duct-tape or seal with a flame. For mine, I wrapped a bit of yarn in a different colour over the duct tape for visual effect. Consider adding tassels or wooden beads to your swing if that’s how you roll.

I personally live in a flat with a mezzanine so I hooked the D-rings to the upstairs bars and let it hang it that way, but do purchase a strong ceiling hook if you wish to hang on the ceiling. Alternatively, skip the D-rings and simply loop the rope around the hook or bar.

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In collaboration with Uniqlo; Photography – Park & Cube aka tripod