Knit Caution Tape Police line: do not cross-stitch. By Michelle Kempner In the days before mass production, things had to be made by hand. From stockings to gloves, knitters worked long hours making beautiful garments and accessories. Who’s to say that the earliest cops didn’t knit their own police tape? I first knitted police tape in 2006 as an experiment. I wanted to learn how to knit with color, incorporate text into my craft projects, and design something that my partners at the Graffiti Research Lab might find useful for urban pranks and hijinks. The result is a simple pattern for knitted police tape that’s perfect for crafty barricades, marking a crime scene, or wearing as a unique urban-inspired scarf. Experiment with your own color-switching technique and customize your version for the protesters without permits in your town.
Worsted-weight acrylic yarn, 2 skeins gold and 1 skein black I used Dark Horse Fantasy #26 and #1, but you can swap these for your own faves. US 8 knitting needles Tapestry needle
Letter chart: Each letter is separated by 2 rows of gold; each word is separated by 6 rows of gold; and each group of words is separated by 16 rows of gold. One group of words is about 3 feet long. Note:This pattern includes a letter chart and 2 variations of the tape: one that knits fast for rapid production and one that takes more time for a polished look. Pattern 1 (for rapid production) 1. Cast on 18 stitches in the gold color. 2. Knit 2, purl 2 to end. On wrong side, purl 2, knit 2 to end. Continue in 2×2 rib pattern. 3. After 16 rows, begin knitting the text according to the letter chart. To work the letters, knit 2, purl 2, and then begin working each letter as shown. 4. Once the police tape has reached the desired length, bind off and sew in all ends. Block for good measure. One skein of yarn creates about 9 feet of police tape. Pattern 2 (more finished look) 1. Cast on 29 stitches in gold. 2. Knit 14, purl 1, knit 14. Continue in stockinette with the 15th stitch always purl on the right side and knit on the wrong side. 3. After 16 rows, begin knitting the text on an RS row according to the letter chart. This is a 2-sided pattern with the letters appearing on only one side. Therefore, knit 2 stitches before working the letter. After the letter, complete the row in pattern. 4. Once the police tape has reached the desired length, bind off. Sew in all ends. Block the police tape. 5. To finish, put the right sides together and use a tapestry needle to seam the open side using a backstitch. Pull the police tape right side out, and you’re done. One skein of yarn creates more than 4 feet of police tape. Letter chart: Each letter is separated by 2 rows of gold; each word is separated by 6 rows of gold; and each group of words is separated by 16 rows of gold. One group of words is about 3 feet long. For other variations on knitted police tape, check out Crime of Fashion by Marnie MacLean on marniemaclean.com. For more knitting projects in the urban landscape, visit knittaplease.com. About the Author: Michelle Kempner has a degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. She lives in New York and splits her time between technology and crafts.
4 thoughts on “How-To: Knit Caution Tape”
Great work on the Caution Tape! It seems Urban Knitting is on the rise.
I’m a fellow felter, and have been single-handmade-idly dabbling with road signs and construction sites for some time now.
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