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