After a couple of years back at University, it’s easy to experience at first hand how difficult it is to get by on the student fees and loans system.
The pattern is simple, and uses a number of contrasting yarns to create its playful but sophisticated colour combinations. It’s the joy of that new term, your double A grades, your tutor’s artistic panache, your delightful book allowance, all rolled into a warming comforter for those damp dawns on the bus to college. We are kidding about the panache.
Here’s how to make it:
1. Start by assembling your yarns.
This is the important and the clever part. Go to charity and thrift shops, and ask on your local Freecycle group for all and any yarns. You’ll be looking for colours that will complement each other, or colours that will contrast. You can use just shades of blue and greens: the cold colours. Or select reds and browns and orange and yellows.
You will need about 100-300 grams of yarn, depending on how long or wide you want your Bank Account to be, and how much yarn you assemble. Like life. It doesn’t matter if some of your yarn is thin, and some is thick. You can double or treble it if you wish, but variations in weight will add magic to your piece. Ribbon or ribbon yarns are good, too.
You can weigh your yarn using ordinary kitchen scales, and start when you have enough. Or you can start on a pair of spare needles and just pick it up every time you get a bit more yarn to add to your piece. Feel the force, go with the flow. The Universe loves you, even if the Uni doesn’t.
2. Ready to Cast On?
Use any easy cast-on method you like. Some people always use a long tail cast-on, others just flick the end over their left thumb. I like a cable cast-on myself. Try them and see which one you like best.
Cast on a minimum of 80 stitches, but go for as many as you can with the needles you’ve got. The Bank Account will be asked to stretch as far as it can, so giving it a good start at the beginning is always a help, as you will come to see around the end of term. If you want a very long Student Bank Account, borrow or forage a pair of circular needles, and cast on 100 or 200 or more.
The Student Bank Account in the photo has 100 stitches and was cast on with 5.5mm needles using a variety of DK wool, cotton and ribbon yarns.
3. Begin to knit.
Knit four rows in stocking stitch to give a nicely rolled edge. Then change the yarn. Knit a band of four rows of garter stitch, and then change again. Vary your yarns and keep alternating your bands of stocking or garter stitch. Keep one band of four or five rows for each colour or type of yarn. Throw in the occasional single stripe for fun, and according to what yarn you’ve got. The trick is to change the stitch when you change your yarn. You’ll see: it just works.
4. Keep Going
If you’re a beginner knitter, that’s the hard part. You might get impatient. Just keep going, alternating yarn and creating ridges or garter as you go. Take it on the bus and knit in the mornings. People will smile and ask you what you’re making. Knit in seminars and tutorials. Keep going until your Bank Account is approximately a foot wide or 12″. You can go wider if you have enough yarn.
5. Cast off.
Do this loosely. If you have a bigger needle, go a size up. There are lots and lots of cast-off tutorials on the internet, but the easiest is where you knit two stitches, and pick up the first one and drop it over the second and off the needle.
6. Try it on for size.
You might feel that it’s a bit short, or narrow, but that’s a Student Bank Account for you. We will be blocking it to hell to make the most of it shortly, just like you can add lentils to your supper to make it bigger. Except without the lentils.
You don’t have to do this part, but it does look a bit special, so give it a try. Pick up and knit through approx two stitches out of every three of the bumps along the ends. Knit approx six rows of garter stitch and see how it rolls. If you have chosen thick yarn for your Bank Account, you might need more. Six is about right for DK. Then cast off and do the same at the other end, but with different yarn. Bank Accounts are never the same colour at both ends. A pedant might make one end black, and the other end red.
8. Blocking. This is essential
Soak your Bank Account in a washbasin of warm water to which you have added half a teaspoon of economy hair conditioner or shampoo for dry hair. Use your own, don’t nick it from your flatmate unless his mum bought it for him. Squeeze gently in the water a couple of times, but don’t rub or wring.
Squeeze it together in your hands to get out most of the water and lay out on a big bath towel. Pull whilst wet into a very long length. Basically, pull it as long as you can. Bath towel length is good. Longer is better but you will need another towel. Cover with the other half of the bath towel and stand on it all over to press out most of the water.
Hang it over another dry towel on the bar of one of those trouser hangers, somewhere warm but not hot. It might take a couple of days to dry. Keep turning it and stretching it and moving it up and down the hanger as it dries so you don’t get a bar mark.
9. Admire your Unique Ingenuity
Tie in a half knot around your neck and then go round the flea markets until you find something to pin it together. The fastening in the photograph is an antique bone teething ring and an odd bamboo double-pointed needle. One of those hair sticks would be good, too. With a curtain ring.
Please send me the photographs of your finished Student Bank Accounts for our nascent design Gallery.
Hoorah. You have a distinction!
This pattern is free for you to use on this website and you can print a single copy for your own personal use. If you would like to make a donation to support the website and our costs, the suggested donation for this pattern is £1.