A New Look at Knitted Jewelry
If you’re like me, when someone asks you to make a piece of jewelry for them you automatically go to beads, findings, wire, and thread. But after reading through Elements of Style, I think I’ll open my mind a little wider next time.
I’ll admit, when I read the subtitle for this book, Knit+Crochet Jewelry with Wire, Fiber, Felt + Beads, a multi-colored 70s-style granny-square brooch popped into my head. But au contraire, mon amie! The pieces within its pages completely changed my view of knitted jewelry. Author Rosemary Hill knits thin-gauge wire into modern-looking tube beads. She attaches wire-knitted swatches to metal links and resin donuts. She crochets, knits, and felts wool to make wonderfully fuzzy components. And she incorporates stainless steel yarn with beads to create numerous freeform-looking pieces. If these kind of off-beat, contemporary projects pique your interest, buy Elements of Style.
It’s true that I’m not much of a knitter. Believe me, I’ve tried. My mom tried to teach me when I was little, but I wasn’t the type of kid to be sitting inside knitting when everyone else was outside playing capture the flag, so it didn’t stick. But when I was an employee at Interweave Press it was an unwritten job requirement . . . kind of like playing golf at other, more traditional companies. So I finally learned and made the required hats and scarves and even a sweater, but I realized my frustration level pretty quickly. I find I have a hard time discerning stitches through the fuzz.
But today, inspired by Rosemary’s book and boosted with the realization that wire isn’t fuzzy, I got out the old knitting spool and set to work. While I was experimenting, it struck me that many people have these handy little gizmos, but don’t know how to use them. Here’s how:
How to Wire Knit with a Knitting Spool
1. Wrap thin wire (28-gauge works well) around the first peg, leaving at least a 4" tail.
2. Wrap the wire around all the subsequent pegs, making sure all the wraps are in the same direction. Go around again so there are two wraps on every peg.
3. Use the pointed tool to grab the bottom wrap. Pull it over the top wrap and up and over the peg. Repeat around.
4. Wrap the pegs again and repeat Step 3 for the desired length. Once you have a few rounds finished, tuck the tail down the center of the spool.
5. Remove the knitting by using the pointed tool to gently pull the wire off the pegs. (Look at those beautiful stitches! No fuzz!)
6. There are several things you can do with your knitted tube. One is to pull it through a wooden draw plate, creating a crushed chain.
7. Or my favorite technique is to simply pop a bead inside the tube and squeeze the wire at the top and bottom of the bead to secure it in place.
Do you have some successful wire knitting techniques? Or have you experimented with making jewelry out of non-traditional materials? Share your tips on the website!
Holiday Gift Guide: If you're starting your holiday bead shopping, be sure to check out the Holiday Gift Guide. There's a free elegant necklace project inside, plus the results of some recent reader polls on holiday gifts and shopping suggestions from the editors of Beadwork, Stringing, Step by Step Beads, and Step by Step Wire Jewelry.
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Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website. Thanks!