My mom was insanely cool even before she knitted an iPhone. Last week, as the hype was peaking, I braced for reports of kids across the country grabbing for their parents' new iPhones; it was a drool-soaked disaster waiting to happen, like all those people who flung their Wii controllers into their flatscreens because they didn't think they really needed that wrist strap. Obviously, I thought, a kid needs his own iPhone so he won't play with his dad's. So I asked my mom if she could knit one. And she did. Frankly, I think it's cooler than the Steve Jobs version.
Here is her knitting saga, and the tips and details to help other knit-happy folks save $800.
Because it looked similar, I had forwarded a link to BitterSweet's instructions for knitting a Pop Tart cell phone cozy. Just change the colors, put buttons on instead of bead sprinkles, and you're done! I thought.
She tested a variety of yarns to get the best gauge. Some yarns that didn't work included a metallic silver and a fat, furry chenille. The frosting-as-screen never looked quite right, though, so she settled on making icons on an all-black face, and a black-and-grey back, using a slightly heavy gauge of wool.
Her iPhone is the same size as the original: 2.5 x 4.5 inches. She made it with #6 needles, and had 15 stitches, 6 per inch. The body is made using a stocking knit stitch, knit 1 purl 1, with 6" of black, and 3" of grey added to the end. This ends up being much easier than setting in a separate screen section.
The icons are sewn on with 2-ply tapestry yarn. Some little details are stitched using a single ply of the yarn; others are made using a 2-ply French knot. If you're giving this to a teeth-equipped kid, it's possible that the knots and icon stitches could get gnawed off. If anyone has another idea for icons and the screen--like recreating an image or wallpaper on it, for example--definitely share it below.
It's important to block the body flat before adding the icons; use a steam iron and cloth and press on the wrong/purl side. That makes the icons much easier to sew. [On the last test version, my mom sewed up three sides of the phone, then started embroidering the buttons. This was all insane and backwards. But the buttons on before you assemble the phone. [And double check the placement and orientation; you know the old saying, measure twice, knit once. Though she asked me about it a couple of times, I couldn't see exactly where the fold would be; as a result, the buttons are upside down. Moral: Listen to your mothers, especially on the subject of knitting.]
To assemble it, fold the body strip in half and sew around three edges. [In order to give it a consistent edge, she even sewed across the end where it's folded.] I cut a piece of slightly dense foam just larger than the dimensions and stuffed it into the knitted pocket. I thought of putting a rattle inside it, but it seemed annoying.
Then she sewed it closed. She used the same grey yarn to sew it together. In order to create the chromey edge, she chain-stitched around the black edges of the face. I think it really stood out nicely.
The PopTart, she figures, would take just 30-45 minutes to make. The iPhone was considerably longer. Not counting the various tests and unpicking, the time requirement breaks down as follows:
knitting: 0.5 hours
buttons: 3 hours
sewing, stuffing, edging: 1 hour-plus
Total: 4-5 hours
Did I mention my mom is really cool?