I love knitting spools. I had one as a child and made knitted projects with yarn. Knitting spools are a fantastic way to teach children how to knit and be creative. This can be life changing for a little one. The will to create and make beautiful things can be a life long pursuit. We have a knitting spool at Soft Flex Company that is perfect for adults that would like to learn to knit or relive a wonderful childhood memory.
I have confessed my love for knitting bracelets out of Soft Flex Beading Wire before but, knitting with Soft Flex Craft Wire proved to be more difficult for me to grasp. I believe that's because I first learned to knit on a spool using flexible beading wire, which has give to it. Craft Wire is of course, rigid by nature. I struggled a few times and finally decided I would make it work. (Thank you for that gem of a saying, Tim Gunn.)
Knitted Craft Wire Bracelet
Designer Kristen Fagan
26ga Green Soft Flex Craft Wire
20ga Bronze Soft Flex Craft Wire
1 Strand Clasp, Toggle with Jump Rings
or Make your own clasp
5-Pin Knitting Spool
Round Nose Pliers
I found this video by Beaducation on YouTube that made knitting with Craft Wire finally click and make sense for me. It helped me see that with craft wire you pull the wire out to the edge of your spool with your stylus, then flip the wire up and over your pin with your fingers. The tension is carried from one pin to the next - not through pulling on the tail as it is with flexible beading wire.
Step 1: Working straight from your Soft Flex Craft Wire 26 Gauge Spool knit the wire using a 5-Pin Knitting Spool. String the wire down through the center of the knitting spool leaving about a 2" tail. Wrap the wire around your pins in the same manner as this Beaducation video minus the addition of beads.
Step 2: Once you have completed your desired length of wire knitting, cut off about 2" extra wire from the spool and carefully remove your knitted wire tube from the spool. Take the end of the wire and thread it into the last 5 open loops to secure your knitted tube. The result will be a wonky shape as shown.
Step 3: Using a draw plate, run your knitted wire tube through one of the large holes to begin smoothing out the shape. Then move to a smaller hole and so on until you are happy with the wire shapes and diameter.
Step 4: Next, you'll need to finish off your wire ends. You may choose to use a cone or bead cap or you can wire wrap your own cones as I did. To wire wrap your cones, cut a 10" piece of 20 Gauge Bronze Craft Wire (it's better to error on the side of too much length then not enough). About 1/2" from the green knitted tube end, stick one end of the bronze wire through the knitted tube and tuck it around the knitted tube to secure it. Then begin wire wrapping the tube towards the end. When you get to the end of the knitted tube, use your round nose pliers to create a loop and then wire wrapped back down the tube to where you started making sure to cover the tube entirely with wire and cut off excess. Repeat on the other side.
Step 5: At this point you can add you jump rings and clasp or you can make your own. I decided to make a simple hook clasp to finish off my bracelet. Cut 2-3" of 20 Gauge Bronze Craft Wire and straighten the wire with nylon jaw pliers.
Step 6: Using my round nose pliers I made a small loop on one end and then made a larger loop with my large bail making Wubbers pliers.Trim excess wire so it's about the same length as the little loop.
Step 7: Lastly, work harden the clasp with a nylon hammer and rubber block and attach to one end of your bracelet. Here is the finished design. I especially like to wear it layered!
Inspiration: Knitting with Soft Flex Craft Wire
I received a few small gauge spools of Soft Flex Craft Wire recently so, I figured it was time I tried to knit with it! For knitting, the best gauges are 24-30. Thicker gauges are too hard to work with, and the finer gauges are too delicate and will easily break. I went with 26 gauge for my project.
I learned to knit with Soft Flex Beading Wire which is flexible and bouncy. Knitting with Craft Wire is much more rigid and I admit, I found it to be challenging. After two failed attempts I finally got a chain going on my third try. I decided to add some beads to the chain as I knitted. I had some yellow chip beads left over from a previous project and liked the brown and light yellow color combo, very earthy. I strung all my beads on the wire before I started knitting.
I created this design with Style 1 from our Tips and Tricks page. I made the mistake of knitting without much thought of the size of the chain I needed. With Soft Flex Beading Wire, if I made the knitted wire too long I can easily back out some knits and shorten the design. With Soft Flex Craft Wire, not so much. I made the chain much too long for a bracelet, my initial intention. Then I thought maybe an anklet ... nope still to long. Then I thought I could make myself a necklace but, it was much too short. Finally, I realized it would fit my 7 year old son, who enjoys wearing jewelry. So, it became his necklace. He's 12 now, I wonder if he still has this necklace hiding someplace in his mess of a bedroom!
Despite some frustration with the rigidness of the wire, the look of the finished design is interesting and something I will try again. Here are some lessons I learned for next time:
- Decide what you want to make beforehand so, you have an idea of how long to make the chain.
- Try not to pull too tight when knitting as it will make it harder to move forward.
- Do not pull on the tail like you would with beading wire aa craft wire does not require you hold the tension in the same way and may cause your wire to break.
I found some books online that offer wire knitting and crocheting inspiration: Crochet with Wire, Twist and Loop and Wire Knitting ... on a Spool - Book on CD.
Knit With Soft Flex Craft Wire - Step By Step Wire Jewelry Magazine Oct-Nov 2016
One of Sara Oehler's published designs can be found in Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry. In the October - November 2016 issue. In this design, Sara knitted 28G Soft Flex Craft Wire on a knitting spool. This magazine is nice because it offers step-by-step photos. For a more complicated design, this can be quite helpful. Once you get going, this design is actually quite easy to replicate. If you get a chance, I hope that you will check it out!
Projects not intended for children under the age of 13. The information on this instruction sheet is presented in good faith, but no warranty is given, nor results guaranteed. Soft Flex® Company disclaims all liability from any injury to anyone undertaking the construction of this project as a result of improper safety precautions.
Be sure to check out the video below for a great demonstration!
Visit the Soft Flex Company YouTube Channel!
Kristen Fagan is the Website Graphic Designer for Soft Flex® Company. She is the co-author of Seed Bead Revolution, an artist and creativity coach. She currently lives in Arizona with her husband, their two sons and two dogs. When she's not painting, drawing or beading, she enjoys reading, yoga, exploring the outdoors and traveling. Her favorite stones are Opal, Turquoise, and Quartz and she can't bead without Bead Stoppers. You can email her at Kristen@softflexcompany.com or visit her Website | Facebook | Instagram