Crocheted bracelet

Hi all,

First, I want to thank Michael David Sturlin very much for his very
clear instructions on how to crochet wire. I tried it years ago and
didn’t get it at all, and this time I was more successful. I also
really appreciated his comments about mindfulness and the insight he
provided after all those years of working with the technique. Thank
you so much for the work you put into the instructions! (And thanks
to Hanuman for Orchid in general! We are very fortunate…)

I thought I would share my observations from the perspective of a

–I didn’t understand at all that the splice would be covered by
weaving as you continue on… So I spent some time trying to poke my
first splice down into the tube… duh! Next splice was far more

–I bent a little hook on the end so that the wire would point
through the next loop as I fed it through. It seems as though the
wire is turning with each loop, though, because with the subsequent
loop, my little bend is in the wrong place. Am I rotating the wire
incorrectly somehow? I can feel it hardening in my hands,
practically - I am using 24 ga fine silver.

– I found it helpful to draw a line around the scribe end with my
sharpie to indicate where to pull the loop tight. Also, stainless
knitting needles come in many sizes and are handy as they are
consistent width. They also come in nylon, acrylic and bamboo. I was
wondering if using wood or other material would cause less
stress/hardening of the wire–??

– Lastly and I guess most importantly - what are some effective
clasps and finishing methods to use? I would like to make the clasp
the focal point of the piece by using stones etc. I thought perhaps I
could bend some tubing?? Any ideas, or instruction on this would be
much appreciated.

Again, thank you for the instructions and the help! Happy holidays
to all!

Mary Ferrulli Barker
Addison Avenue FCU

Thank you Mary Barker, for your kind comments on Orchid. I am
pleased to hear that you found the Crocheting in Gold tutorials
helpful in learning how to fabricate a chain using this technique.

Many of the tips and ideas you mentioned in your post show that you
are well on the right course, such as marking the crochet needle with
a sharpie and bending an arch in the end of the wire. As to your
question about the arch ending up in the wrong direction: as you
crochet the wire twists somewhat with each loop, so it is necessary
to manipulate it so that the bend is going in the right direction to
enter the next loop.

There is a lot of additional which is difficult to
present in a written form, primarily because the practitioner has to
have some experience with the technique to be able to assimilate any
more Too much elaboration at the beginning can also make
things more complicated and confusing to the person who is just
trying crochet for the first time.

There is some subtlety to this technique which is much more easily
illustrated in a hands on setting, rather than through a written
tutorial. For any metalsmiths, either beginning or experienced, who
are interested in learning this skill, I will be presenting Crochet
Chain Making Workshops at Metals Edge Studio in Scottsdale January
21-23; and at Metalwerx in Boston March 11 - 13, 2005. Further
is available at:

A Happy New Year to all,
Michael David Sturlin

Hi Michael,

First I want to thank you for all your articles on Orchid on
"Crocheting in Gold". Thank you for sharing all of your talents and

Over the years, I have noticed that the really great artists are the
ones most prone to share their secrets and talents, maybe that’s
what makes them great. You definitely fit in this category.

I have been to your web page many times and absolutely love all of
your work and imigination.

Chains are what got me started in this
hobby-profession-love-pasttime… I wanted to make some chains ,
found Jean Starks name and that she had a book on chains and that it
was out of print. I found her email address and asked her to go make
me a zerox copy of her book……didnt know Jean from Adam…her
reply was polite , and to the point. Not a Chance young man, but I
will be teaching a course in Hilton Head…… and now I’m hooked.

I wanted to try your technique also, and had a really stupid
question that you have probably been asked a million times. When at
William Holland , there was a class on weaving chains, using a roll
of wire (30 ga fine silver), bringing it up through the center of a
wooden thread spool, which had 6 nails on top, and using a crochet
hook, pulling the loops over the nails, pulling the last loop over
and off, and continuing until you have the length you wanted.

How is your technique different and what is the advantage? I’m sure
that after 30 years of doing this , you have tried all the different
methods and setteled one the one that gives the best quality. I
looked all over for a comparison of different techniques, couldn’t
find one , and thought I’d go to the Guru.

If you happent to be teaching a class in the Dallas area, please let
me know and save me spot.

Thanks again for sharing all of your knowledge

Love and God Bless

what are some effective clasps and finishing methods to use? 

There are many clasps illustrated in “Classical Loop-in-Loop Chains”
by rings and standard perpendicular clasps (then again I am not
crocheting), but this might change when the rolling mill arrives next
week and I can recycle some silver scrap into wire, tubing, etc. (it
is going to be nice to be able to say “oh well, that looks horrible,”
melt it down, and start from the beginning again).

Rudy Bescherer, Jr.

     When at William Holland , there was a class on weaving
chains, using a roll of wire (30 ga fine silver), bringing it up
through the center of a wooden thread spool, which had 6 nails on
top, and using a crochet hook, pulling the loops over the nails,
pulling the last loop over and off, and continuing until you have
the length you wanted. How is your technique different and what is
the advantage? 

I have never done what is referred to as spool knitting, as Randy
has described it, or used that type of a hand loom but I have been
asked about it quite often. From my understanding of what others have
said about it, I believe it uses a finer gauge of wire which can be
manipulated with a crochet hook, and produces a much more open and
delicate chain than hand crochet.

The primary tool I use is needle set in a wooden handle, which is
similar to a miniature ice pick, instead of a crochet hook. The wire
is worked in shorter sections, rather than from a spool, and is
threaded with the fingers to form each loop. The crochet needle is
inserted into the loop and the loop is drawn tight on the tool to
maintain a consistent loop size.

There may be some similarities in the structural aspect of the
construction of the two techniques, but not having examined the
results of the spool knitting, I can’t say so with certainty. I don’t
know if the spool knitting technique requires the final steps of
annealing, straightening, and drawing the chain, which are an
essential part of the hand crochet process.

Perhaps someone else with more familiarity can provide further
insight to Randy’s query.

Michael David Sturlin

   There may be some similarities in the structural aspect of the
construction of the two techniques, but not having examined the
results of the spool knitting, I can't say so with certainty. I
don't know if the spool knitting technique requires the final steps
of annealing, straightening, and drawing the chain, which are an
essential part of the hand crochet process. 

I have done quite a bit of spool knitting with fine silver wire and
you are correct in that the gauge of the wire is finer - I rarely
use anything larger than 28 or 30 gauge. The great part about the
spool knitting is that you are knitting from a continuous spool of
wire and don’t need to worry about the wire “hardening” in the
process - so as long as you have a good sized spool of wire - you
just keep going until you have reached the length that you require.
But it does take some practice to learn how tight around the pegs
you can go so that it is not too loose or so tight that you can’t
bring the last loop over the new one. If you get too tight and are
working with 30 gauge, it is easy to snap the wire - which is very

But the finishing aspects are the same as the hand crochet that
Michael does. In fact, the finished product look very very similar
to the hand crochet.

The spool knitted chain is very pretty straight off the spool, but
not usable as a chain until it had gone through the drawplate. It is
far too delicate and will not hold it’s shape. I have done some
strange things to chain right off the spool like filling it with
bits of colored glass rod (that I use in lampwork beads). I have
even filled the chain with hand-dyed silk fibers - which is a very
interesting effect and gives the chain a bit more stability in it
shape. But ultimately you really want to send it through many
drawplate pulls it you want a “true” chain. After the drawplate it
wears very well.

Hope this helps-


when i use the wooden spool and 4 nail process for making chains, i
do a double knit stitch, which is wrapping the initial twice and as
you work the knit, and bring around the wire to work, you bring the
bottom wire up and over each stitch, ignoring the middle wire. when
you use the draw plate you make magic…totally transforms the

i show them on a separate display and there is this one that always
captures attention, a flat version. i explain that happens when you
drop a necklace on the floor and as you roll in your chair to pick
it up, you accidently roll over part of it with your chair, then
you get your flat nose pliers and squish the rest of it and tell
everyone you meant to do that to show a new concept of an old

it sold really fast, now i gotta make more "meant to do it’s " for
spring! pat

oooop, sorry, i meant to add that when you use a spool for making a
chain, you pre string the beads/pearls whatever it is you want to
introduce into your piece, you have 2 choices as to how you want
them to show. if you chose to put the on the wire that is
suspended between the two nails, which is fast and easy, it will be
in the inside of the chain.

if you bring up the bead and put it on the nail it is more
inconvient and goes slower but it will show beautifully on the
necklace. course, then, you can’t use the drawplate.

thing is, you get to tug on this type of chain anyway as you are
making it. i always slip two wires that form an x through the base
wire that forms the initial threading of the spool. as you do the
rounds, it begins to get longer, but you need to pull on the piece.
if you tug just on the wire left on from the start, it will break
off. if you make the x with a heavier ga wire, copper works great,
it tugs great and before long, you see it at the end of the bottom
of the wooden spool. as soon as you see it, you can slip your
crochet hook in, and use that every so often to tug on, to stretch
the piece. see, when it first is worked, it is very wide, and it
needs to be thinner to clear down the hole in the spool.

ok, now that i have given you way more than anyone ever
wanted…i’ll be quiet.

no, really i will.

What is jean Stark’s email I would like to find out when her next
workshop will be???

I can actually chime in on this one as I have spool-knitted with
wire. The structure is essentially the same, but with the spool, you
have a large tube with a looser weave. The weave does not rotate the
way the hand crocheted tube does. I did not anneal and draw the chain
as it is very fine and delicate, and that seemed to be the desired

In my crocheted chain journey, I have made more discoveries, and
this is completely visible just looking at my work… about halfway
through the weave gets tighter and far more even. This is due to
discovering a way to shape and align the two loops you are working
with so that the working wire passes easily through one and out the
next. I used my scribe to round the first loop and stand it up
straight, then turned it slightly toward the next loop. I then turned
the second loop slightly toward the first loop. The working wire then
passes much more easily from loop one into loop two. Work hardening
is reduced and weaving speed picked up!

Mary Ferrulli Barker

Hi Pat,

Followed the link to your URL - nice pieces! I especially liked the
bridal piece. I dabble in silver crochet and have a question: How do
you harden your collars with gemstones or the crochet around your
My weave is always very fragile and pliable after I
crochet and before drawing the piece.

Thanx, D

actually me working the wire seems to be enough…i prethread he
beads on the wire… the bridal piece is worked in double crochet
stitch, the beads were drum crystals, stacked two …i worked it by
the length, so had about 15’’ of chain stitch for the base of the
neck, then the piece is worked downward

you can always add the crystals later, the wire is very forgiving. i
do finger press the piece when i finish. i place a hand town down,
then the piece,than enother towel and using my rawhide mallet gently
press…or with my fingers, press down on the stitches. you can’t
really do much more, as the width of the piece is about 4-6" down.
without the dangles.

this is actually the first piece that she didn’t chose. the second
necklace is a smaller scaled down version is the one she chose. she
wanted me to ‘COPY’ a necklace she saw in a mag. i told her i don’t
do that. ever. she was willing to take my ideas…

and i’m glad i got it back

Hi Pat ,

Thanx for taking the time to reply. After I finish crocheting (tube),
the 28-ga wire is still soft and can be altered. I will try putting a
piece in a towel, roll the piece a bit, and wave my magic wand.

Thanx again,

Hi-I’ve also done both spool weaving and crocheting of fine silver
wire. Spools can be made out of large size thread spools and small
nails with four, five or six nails–each yielding a different kind of
weave. I usually use 28 or 30 gauge wire- and the result is very
fragile, and liable to break when pulled through the spool. I also
feet that pulling it through a draw plate destroys it’s very fragile
look, but then I haven’t yet found a good use for it in jewelry. I
wonder if it were put into a tumbler with steel shot for a short
time, it would harden enough to be used as a necklace? I’ll try it
and let you know what happens. The real fun of spool weaving it to
use different color wires to make stripes, and watch for them to
come through the other end of the spool. It provides some special
motivation to keep at it.

The ‘technology’ of spool weaving is not new. When I was a little
girl, we called them ‘horse reins’ (although I didn’t know why until
much later when I realized that the product looked like a horse
rein). We used yarn, usually of different colors so we could watch
when it cam through the end. We’d make a long, long chain and then
remove it from the spool, and roll it up in a spiral, sewing it
together to make doll’s hats or scarves or something like that. It
was a very common activity in my neighborhood. Imagine my surprise
when I saw an article about doing this exotic thing with wire. I
went around to bead stores and yarn stores asking if the carried
‘horse reins’ and got some very odd looks.

For crocheting, I prefer 26 ga wire to give the piece more
stability, and I put the beads on afterwards.This gives me the
ability to plane the design ahead of time. I usually use the same
gauge wire to weave the beads into the fabric, unless the bead
holes are too small, and then I use 28 gauge wire. The ends are
woven into the fabric,

I find these very time consuming, and have never been able to price
them so that I was paid adequately for my labor-especially since I
have only done this work in silver. I wonder whether others doing
this work have found the same thing?

Samples of my crocheting effort are at On the Welcome Page there are links
to the pages of crochet work. Would love to get some feedback!

Best Holiday Wishes to you all.
Sandra Buchholz