Wool’s day as the go-to material for knitting is well and truly over, my friends. Wire’s where it’s at for knitters now and you can make some seriously cool jewellery if you swap your ball of wool for a bit of Prysmian’s finest cable. Don’t quite know where to start? Well, look no further, for visual arts, crochet and knitting tutor Rachael Elwell of ArtYarn – which creates crafty museum and gallery installations – is here to lend a helping hand.

Black Cat Originals (BCO): Is wire knitting a new thing?

Rachael Elwell (RE): Relatively. I think I did see some knitted wire projects a few years ago but I didn’t realise they were knitted at the time.

BCO: Do you have any favourite artists doing wire knitting?

RE: There is a great artist and designer called Joan Dulla and also artist Nora Fok.

BCO: How does the process differ to knitting with wire?

RE: It’s much slower. You have to allow the wire to form itself and therefore it won’t produce a consistency in the knitting like yarn and wool does. It’s a little harsher on the hands and that also slows the speed of your knitting down. You can do the same kind of stitches with wire as you do with wool though. The cast-off is also exactly the same as well.

BCO: What kind of wire is best to use?

RE: I use a 0.3mm thickness wire. Some shops actually brand this size as knitting wire now! I find that this thickness is usually the best to make sturdy stitches that have a bit of flexibility to them and the wire will bend comfortably around the needles without too much effort from your hands.

BCO: What tools do you need?

RE: A pair of knitting needles (usually about 3mm), wire, scissors and beads and embellishments if you are decorating your knitting with them.

BCO: What kind of things can you create?

RE: You can knit anything with wire, but the nicest things to make are pieces of jewellery such as bracelets, brooches and earrings.

BCO: Is it a hard skill to pick up?

RE: Not at all! You can make very beautiful pieces with  basic knitting skills, like casting on, off and knit stitch.

BCO: What helpful tips have you got up your sleeve to help new beginners?

RE: Before you start a pattern, test out the wire first and get used to the way the wire works with the needles. That way you won’t waste wire by starting over and over again becuase it’s gone wrong. Once a piece of wire has been knitted it’s hard to unravel and reuse again.

All pictures courtesy of Rachael Gwilliam (ArtYarn/Ministry of Craft)

Have you tried knitting with wire before? Was it hard switching from wool?

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