Knitting Wire Necklace

After weeks of absenteeism, I was finally able to attend the Fiber Gallery‘s Sit ‘n Knit last Tuesday.

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My vibrant friend, Melissa the Baker, she of yarn and kitty tattoos, formerly known as the Empress of Desserts, was wearing this beauty, inspired by Leigh Radford’s Silver Squares Necklace in AlterKnits.

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She brought beads and wire with her instead of yarn, rationalizing that she doesn’t want to knit with wool in the summer, and in the late fall she is too busy making Christmas presents, so why not switch her schedule? Knit wire necklaces for sister-gifts in July and leave your hands free for wool in November.

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knit_wire.jpgI was so taken by her project, that I immediately went home to try one for myself. Naturally, the materials I had one hand weren’t exactly what Melissa was using, nor were they the same gauge as suggested by Leigh Radford. I did have a fine sterling silver wire, but it was so pliable that I had a hard time casting on in a fashion that looked neat. Long-tail and cable cast-on both created a messy jumble. In the end, I settled with long-tail, wasting a bit of wire after casting on the stitches just so I had something to handle. Who knew wire could be so slippery?

I also struggled with getting the beads exactly where I wanted them. Do you knit the first row or purl? If you knit the first row, do the beads go on your purl row? First stitch or second? Once again, I settled with an assymetrical piece, deciding that it was an intentional design feature if anyone asked me about it. So far, my husband has been the only person to comment. If he ever asks for his own pendant, I’ll work a little harder on figuring out how to center the beads.

If you are interested in trying this yourself, I cast on seven stitches using 30 gauge sterling silver wire, and a US 7 aluminum double point needle. I knit five rows using a mismatched pair of needles, as per Melissa’s suggestion – one US 7 and one US 4 needle. Melissa and Leigh suggest using 28 gauge wire. Have fun playing with wire.

Edit: Marysusan made a great suggestion for taking this idea one step further: turn the knit wire into a mesh cage. Think of small treasures you want to carry around your neck, perhaps a pearl or polished stone; create a small amulet. I love her illustration, so had to include it here. Now I just have to get my hands on a little wire and try this out (I knew I should have packed some).  pendantsketchfinalsmallercopy.jpg

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8 Responses to “Knitting Wire Necklace”


  1. 1 jackie Monday, July 16, 2007 at 5:27 am

    Very neat! Thanks for sharing!

  2. 2 Marysusan Monday, July 16, 2007 at 6:06 am

    You could do REALLY interesting organic pendants with this by knitting a peice in wire, say 3cm X 6cm and then folding that over a small river rock, large pearl, bit of driftwood, etc, and then “stiching” the three free sides closed with wire, or wire prestrung with beads, so you would get three beaded edges. You could then create a triple bail to string it though by using standard findings, OR just run tigertail right through the upper stichline, so that you get that great resistant body that tigertail has.

    OOOOOO Leah….see where you can go with this! It is such an exciting technique. I’ll make sketches…. :)

  3. 3 Carrie Monday, July 16, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    Pretty! I’ve never seen that before. Love the bag idea :)

    I’ve done a knitted wire wallhanging before, and then pulled lots of scraps of yarn and fabric through it. I love it but I suppose it looks a little strange :)

  4. 4 ellen kelley Thursday, July 19, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    All I can say is Wow! How beautiful…I am not sure that I could ever produce something as lovely as that. Thanks.

  5. 5 penguin & fish Friday, July 20, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    omg those are awesome tattoos!

  6. 6 Sarah Monday, July 23, 2007 at 4:06 am

    I recently found your blog and love it. My daughter and I tried knitting with wire this weekend. It was very fun although we had trouble finding the right materials.

  7. 7 Chriss Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Hi-I really wanted to try to make a wire knitted ring-just wondering if you know how much wire this would take?? Would five feet be enough? I would want it to be about 3/4 in. wide and my finger is a size 7…what do you think??


  1. 1 Little Rock Bundles « HomeWork Trackback on Saturday, August 25, 2007 at 10:14 pm
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