Wire Knits

Wire Knits

I have seen a lot of knitting with wire by textile artists but in general I have not been overly keen of the overall effect. Wire does not tend to bend or be reshaped very well and all knits I have seen have struggled from this.

My first attempt was with some thin wire I bought from a charity shop. I found that it was not too difficult to knit with, althought the spool had a nasty tendency to suddenly shoot of the table and the wire spring everywhere. I was using the smallest pair of needles I own which are only 2mm thick but found that even they where too thick for the wire. I do not think that knitting with needles would be particularly fu, but also the wire I am knitting with would be likely to bend or break the needles. The test I did ended up very small and very scruffy looking. I did love the strength and the way that it retained the shape you bent it into but I could not knit anything completley out of it without disliking the texture of the final piece.

As I believed that a large part of the issues were caused by wire being so thin I tried to find a different wire to knit with. Most craft wire I could find was of a similar thickness and far smaller than 3ply which is my limit for knitting. With crochet it is possible to use much thinner yarn by hand and is often used to make doilies or lace and the few bits of metal crochet I have seen have been more effective. I did find garden wire which is thicker was of a more preferable thickness.

I was not a fan of the garden wire. It was very difficult to knit with. The wire was not very malleable due to the plastic coating and did  not want to be bent in such small spaces. A huge issue from it not being as malleable was that it was actually painful to knit with and made my hands clam up and click a lot. Wire this size is not suitable to knitted with my hand, so unless if I can somehow find a metal that is more malleable at a similar thickness I do not think I can knit with wire really. I know that copper would probably be more malleable but it would be far too expensive for me to experiment with.

Because of the properties of the thinner wire I wondered whether they would transfer if knitted alongside another yarn. I knitted a simple swatch test using some fair isle effect double knit yarn and alongside. It was not too fiddly knitting with both of them together and far less painful. The properties did tranfer which I absolutley love, there is something so satidfying about a piece of knitting being able to stand up, it feels so wrong at the the same time. The knitting does end up being very coarse and it made the tension very different, the whole thing was far flatter than normal double knit. This could though be applied to a different piece in some manner, it is not enough on it’ss own, but it is useful to know.

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