Knitting and crochet have evolved. With the introduction of many different kinds of thread, what has happened is that those who love this craft are able to produce items that stem away from the traditional to a more modern aspect, embracing the original art and using it for jewelry making and other similar projects. We have some tips for knitting and crocheting with wire.
The wire comes on reels, and can be finished in different colors including bronze, brass, gold and silver and the unique opportunity exists to create original and creative jewelry that is totally individual in style, adding bead-work and jewelry findings to finish ear-rings, brooches, and fancy items to enhance clothing and make it more decorative.
The tools that you will need to effectively work with wire instead of traditional threads include snippers as the wire will wear normal scissors, flat nosed pliers which help you to flatten the work as it is being finished, round nosed pliers for all those fiddly finishing items and either model making pliers which are fine enough to help in places that are difficult or a good quality pair of tweezers which will do the same job.
Those with knowledge of crochet and knitting will find that the traditional knowledge can be adapted easily to work with wire, and instead of using fingers to create the initial loop, pliers are used if the gauge of the wire is too thick. The work seems a little clumsy at first, although with a little practice really does become second nature.
The advantage of working with wire as opposed to wool or thread is its strength and here the wire can be manipulated to hold bead-work into place by threading beads and then twisting the wire together to form a really tight fix. Then the crochet work can be created in the traditional way around the base of the bead to form a shell pattern, and the wire is very simple to use, and the user will get accustomed to the difference in feel very quickly, realizing that fastening off in a traditional manner is not as easy, and that here, the wire should be worked back into the stitches with tweezers or pliers making sure that the ends are secured and pressed into position.
When working with crochet and wire, it is never important to worry about flatness of ear-rings since this can be dealt with when the ear-rings are finished. Similarly with any jewelry project, the work will look jagged, though at the end of the work, the pliers will help you to straighten out the crochet work making it look neat and even although it is wise to pull the work from the bottom after every row.
Knitting With Wire
Knitting with wire can create some stunning effects, and when adding beads to knitted work, the beads should be thread onto the needle in reverse order to that required, as these will be slipped into place between the stitches as you work, and are hard to add in any other manner.
The actual knit and purl stitches are very similar to those worked with traditional thread, though what you produce is a netting that is very good at creating over garments that will use a background such as a dark sweater to enhance and emphasize the look. These are the basic stitches that are the easiest to use with wire, and any fancy knitting stitches should be avoided, since they are hard to work.
28 gauge is the normal thickness used for knitting and crochet work, though from experience, the 30 gage works very well for small items such as edgings and for jewelry. There is a choice of thicknesses to suit most projects although these are my favorites.
Hints And Tips
When working with wire, at the end of each row, pull the row taut so that it begins to take the shape you require. It isn’t necessary to be too fussy here, although getting into the habit of pulling each row in a downwards position will help you to see if the results are what you are looking for and also to help you measure items accurately.
Work slower than you would with traditional knitting, and take care never to use valuable tools as these can get damaged by the coarseness of the wire. The best needles and crochet hooks to use are those that are metal since the metal itself is strong enough to withstand the abuse of wires being pulled through, whereas the surface of other types of needle or hook will be damaged. You go get accustomed to the metal against metal scratchy feel and when working with crochet I tend to use bone since this really is comfortable to work with.
Check all your ends on metal knitting and use the pliers to get those ends neatly bent into a secure position and one that does not leave sharpness. On one particularly delicate piece, I used a soldering iron to tie off the ends as this produced a smooth finish. Although experimental, it worked very well indeed.
If working for any length of time with wire, do make sure that you use a hand cream to protect your hands, since the tendency is that your hands will get sore especially when you are new to the craft.
Starting with smaller items, the craft-worker is more likely to become attached to knitting and crochet with wire. Try small items like brooches, trimmings and floral patterns because these are the easiest and least time consuming to create and the speed at which these are created with encourage you to try even more experiments with the use of wire.
The mixing of different types of wire really gives startling results, although here it should be remembered that tying off those wires that are finished with must be performed with the pliers, since wire does not respond in the same manner as traditional thread. One pair of ear-rings that I made was a combination of copper and silver and this really did enhance the look, coupled with great flat beads which were held in place as described above by threading the bead and then twisting the wire to hold the bead taught.
I then proceeded to create a chain that went around the base of the bead and with a small shell stitch that decreased as it worked up the sides of the bead, made a super backdrop to the bead itself. Here, I kept the final wire at the top which was used to fix the finding in place, and the hooks used for making ear-rings, or backing used for beads is very easy to find and cheap to purchase in craft shops and stores.
If you are creating floral work and want to stick this onto a brooch backing this is easy to achieve, and you can buy a suitable adhesive for metal and create stunning jewelry very simply.
This is an ideal medium for someone that is bored with the traditional knitting and wants to create something without too much work. It does take patience, though the results are stunning and for teens and adults alike can encourage even more adventurous projects in the future.