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Freebies - Hints & Tips
Knitting with Wire

wire1 wire2

Knitting with wire is very much an experimental process as the results will vary considerably depending on the wire used. Wire is best suited for knitting small projects, such as jewelry and pendant purses. Items knit with wire are not very durable as they are easily bent and flattened.

Types of wire to try:
• note the higher the number, the fine the wire
• 32 & 34 gauge beading wire on spools which are available in gold and silver at Michaels, hobby and beading stores
• Artistic wire in 34 gauge is my choice; this is a copper wire covered in a polyurethane coating which comes in a multitude of colours; it is available at beading stores on spools
• covered silver or copper wire used in computer and electronic wiring; check out hardware stores (or your basement) where these wires would be inexpensive, in large quantities but limited colours

Gauges and knitting techniques:
• 32 & 34 gauges are suitable for knitting on a standard machine, some will go through the mast and carriage while the 32 gauge silver beading wire from Michaels was too fragile and needed to be hand-manipulated on the needles
• 28 & 30 gauge is suitable for knitweaving on the machine and could be used by hand-manipulating the stitches if the wire is flexible enough

Machine knitting:
• take a small box and poke a hand-knitting needle through the two narow sides; suspend the spool of wire in the middle so it can fed evenly up through the mast
• you will need to pull up the slack at the beginning of each row
• to make the knitting easier and the finished knitting nicer with a softer feel, add fine yarn (like Bramwell Silky or Yeoman Supersheen), rayon thread (like Sulky 40 weight) or embroidery floss to the wire
• thread the yarn through a separate mast and put into the carriage with the wire
• use thin threads which could be metallic or variagated in colour; could be the same, a toning or a contrast colour
• begin with waste yarn so there is something to hang a claw weight from
• loosely e-wrap or crochet cast on with the wire
• if hand-manipulating the stitches use a small spacer, like a sponge bar pusher, sitting on the non-working needles to help form uniform stitches
• try to avoid getting kinks in the wire as the wire may break at that point
• if the wire breaks, start again
• avoid unraveling the wire as it will retain the ripples and be difficult to reuse
• to bind off, either take the stitches off on the wire tail to gather or work the last row by hand so the stitches are larger then bind off as usual
• to finish an item, weave the tails in or use to attach to jewelry findings before cutting with wire cutters
• be sure the ends are pushed into the piece to avoid poking out
• use transfer tools to form the cast on into even loops and use pencils to help form lace holes into even holes if there are any
• bend and shape as desired

Other forms of knitting that can be done with wire:
• hand-knitting on fine needles, the Viking technique which is worked on an Allen key and spool knitting, both of which will produce circular knit cords

Sources of information:
• Knitting with Wire by Nancie M. Wiseman, available at bookstores
• Knitted Wire Earrings by Erica Thomson; patterns include bias knitting, lace, full-fashioned shaping and hand-worked open stitches (
• Wire Knitting on a Spool by Sharon Hessoun (
• Machine Knitters Source #63 for earrings
• Machine Knitters Source #83 for knitwoven pendant purses

Small Simple Earring:
• 34 gauge gold wire
• CO in WY over 7 sts, hang weight
• e-wrap CO with wire, K2 rows, dec 1 st ea side EOR to 1 st, remove on tail
• remove WY carefully to avoid misshaping the cast on
• thread CO tail along edge to top and use the two ends to attach to earring finding

The earrings in the pictures are from Erica Thomson's pattern and were knit with black Artistic 34 gauge wire. The necklace was based on an idea from Nancie Wiseman's book. The long 10-stitch strip of knitting was made with black Artistic 34 gauge wire knit with red Yeoman Supersheen for half the length and black Supersheen for the second half. The knitting was folded several times lengthwise, then in half to form the loop to go around a donut purchased at a bead store.

© Eileen Montgomery 2005

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