Saturday, February 9, 2013

Plaiting with wire, an experiment

I think viking knit is absolutely gorgeous and a great fit to go with the metal and glass pieces I make.  However, I have not been able to get a really nice even tension no matter how much I practice and it really hurts my wimpy little hands. 

A friend recently posted some stunning pieces of wire crochet on the Painting with Fire ning and assured my that it is indeed easier than viking knit.  Off I went in search of a crochet hook and some videos on crochet.  Found lots of videos, but didn't turn up a single crochet hook here at home, I know there is at least one here somewhere.  Nearest store to buy one?  28 miles from here, not a trip I'm making for a 2.00 crochet hook.

So, what to do after that?  Improvise of course, I do this a lot, lol.  I remembered seeing 8 and 12 strand plaits on Youtube being done with either fiber or leather.  It stuck me that it just might work with wire so I started to experiment with 8 strand plait.  Normally this would have a "core" of some kind but wire won't need a permanent core to hold it's shape, just one to build it on.  I'm sure I'm not the first person to have done this, but I don't recall seeing it anywhere before.

Pawed through my wire stash and found some 24g aluminum wire to start with, then started plaiting it around one of the knitting needles that I use not to knit but to coil wire around.  Here was that first wobbly result.
Not bad, but this size gets very thin when you tug on the ends.  You can also use a drawing plate like you do for viking knit, but on this light gauge that wasn't necessary.
The first experiment was at least good enough to decide I wanted to make a second attempt with something a little heftier.  So I switched to 18 g, aluminum again because I didn't want to waste my copper or brass on the experiment.  I used the same size knitting needle as a base and came up with this.

This was more like it.  When done and pulled, then drawn through the plate this one ends up being about  1/4 inch in diameter, though I'm certian you could draw it smaller if that was the look you are after. 
Now I need to play with it in copper and brass.  Aluminum is a nice enough look, but I fear it wont hold up to the abuse a bracelet can take, necklace maybe though.  Then the wheels began turning about being able to capture things inside these plaited "tubes", like fiber or beads.  Maybe a place to use up some of the uglies, as they would be seen as much?    Fiber would be cool, espeially the whiskery kinds so some would poke through.  Ohhh the possiblities.   I will let you know the results when I get more done.  Maybe I will even to a tutorial if anyone is interested.  As I mentioned before, I'm sure I'm not the first to do this, but I haven't seen it out there anywhere.
What did you experiment with this week?


  1. I'm liking this! I have a crochet hook or two around here. Want to come down and get them?

    1. While I would take almost any excuse to come visit you right now, that's a lot of miles for a crochet hook, lol.


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