Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Crocheting with Wire


#1

I just returned from teaching a class at Metalwerx… WHAT A
WONDERFUL FACILITY!!! While there Karen and I had dinner, I was
telling her how the title “Crocheting with Wire” is getting
confusing for people and it has been suggested to me that I come up
with a new name for the technique and class. She told me to put it
out to Orchid.

Okay, here’s the story:

It all came about when I was approached by a lady in Chicago who
loved what I was doing. She belong to a crochet guild that was
putting on a large traveling show and she asked me to join the
organization and apply to the show. I did and was accepted into the
show. I sent the work and a week after the show opened I got a call
from someone in the organization stating that I was not doing a
crochet stitch and that she needed to talk to me. Now, I know that
what I do is different, and that while at Haystack one summer the
fiber people watched me for over two hours trying to decide exactly
what I was doing. They told me to tell people that I am doing a
knitting stitch with a crochet hook. Which I do. I returned the
call and was told that they were afraid that when this show traveled
that people would think that they didn’t know their crochet stitches
and that they were sending back my work as ineligible. I guess there
is suppose to be some kind of twisting in each stitch but this too
has been challenged. Due to a family crisis, I said “what ever,
send it back”… Then when things settled down, I got angry and I
started doing research about what crocheting is. It is only
classified by the style of needle that you do it with… I only use a
’Hooked needle", so I consider it crocheting. I wrote the
organization, told them what I had found out and they send all my
monies back. But I still don’t have a GOOD name for what I do …
People have suggested knocheting, criting, dulla crocheting,
ducheting ( which for obvious reason, I won’t use ;>) ) Anyone have
any great suggestions on how to handle this? I only use wire, a
crochet hook and patience to do this. The stitch looks similar to
the diagram in “The Theory and Practice of Goldsmith” page 231 and
they call it crocheting, but they are metal smiths too ,and don’t
know about stringent fiber terms.

So, If someone can think of another, better, more appropriate title
for my style of crocheting, I sure would appreciate the help.

Thanks to all of you for all your wonderful postings, and help now
and in the past. I appreciate it tremendously. Hope to see alot of
you in Feb in Tucson.

Joan


#2
    So, If someone can think of another, better, more appropriate
title for my style of crocheting, I sure would appreciate the help. 

Joan: If you are using a hooked “crochet hook” but your stitches
look more like knitting, perhaps what you are doing is something like
an afghan stitch - you put all the stitches on a long crochet hook,
and then crochet them off one at a time, then pick them back up one
at a time but keep them all on the long handled hook until you get to
the end of the row and then take them off again.

I knit, crochet and tat (with fiber) and also fabricate jewelry. I
have crocheted with wire and spool knit with wire. I looked at your
creations on your website and it looks like knitting but done with a
crochet hook, but your hook did not look like an “afghan hook” which
has a long long handle with the hook at the end. But then again if
you are working with wire, the stitches are stiff enough to stay put
and so you could actually pull the “yarn” through each stitch and
leave the stitch standing on its own and work the next stitch.
Having not seen you demonstrate your “crocheking” (combo
crocheting/knitting) method, I’m not sure how you do it.

I live in Sarasota so if I can do it, I’ll come take your class in
St. Petersburg. Looks like it would be fun to do.

Thanks.
Kay


#3

Hi Joan, nice to hear your voice on Orchid. Congratulations on
teaching your “Crocheting With Wire class” at Metalwerx. What an
interesting commentary about the terminology. I have some input which
I hope is helpful and a bit relevant to your post.

I am familiar with your wire work, and I know you are familiar with
my work too. The main body of my necklaces are also crocheted,
although I am employing a slightly different technique than you do. I
crochet using a needle, because the gauge of 18kt gold wire I use
can’t be manipulated with a hook. (A Google image search keywords
’Crochet Necklaces’ results in two of the first three images are
photographs of my necklaces)

I have always called it crochet. I first learned to crochet as a
child from my grandmother and my great grandmother, although not
being an expert on knitting and such myself, I can’t say that their
definition is absolute or correct. My grandmothers considered using a
hook or a single needle to be crochet, and using a pair of needles to
be knitting. I really don’t think they were overly concerned with
terminology or classification, they mostly just sat and worked at it
quietly and diligently. I have long recognized that this was as much
a meditative activity for each of them as it still is for me.

Alan Revere includes this same fabrication process on page 32 of his
book “Professional Goldsmithing”, referring to it as crochet. He
indicates it is also called ‘French knitting’. His crocheted bracelet
project is by far the best published example of this technique to
date. I would further define it as: a spiraling hollow tubular
construction comprised of an interlocking series of loops formed
with a needle, fabricated from a single wire. A few other jewelry
artists refer to this as weaving, and, although it might be
considered an interwoven structure, I find this description a little
less accurate. I have always considered weaving to be a structure
comprised of two elements which cross or intersect, and since this
technique is constructed from a single element I would prefer not to
call it weaving.

The Crochet Guild of America has included my work within the
definition of what they term crochet. In September of 2000 they
featured a link to a gallery page of my jewelry on their CGOA
website, and as far as I am aware they haven’t had anyone disagree
with them over it. When I have done presentations at galleries many
of the women who came and examined my necklaces, and saw examples of
the technique in progress, agreed that it was crochet. Since the
majority of them have been working with needles and thread many
decades longer than me, I respectfully defer to their opinion.

So, I wouldn’t worry too much about what the string and fiber people
call it. You have definitely been doing it long enough and well
enough to call it whatever you feel comfortable with. Although, it
certainly looks like crochet to me! :slight_smile:

Michael David Sturlin (crochet artist)


https://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/sturlin1.htm


#4

How about “silver (or wire) lacework”? Most laces are done with
different tools, hooks, needles, tatting shuttles and fingers
also…Char


#5

Hi Joan, The kind of (k)nitpicking (sorry), juries you describe are
very annoying people aren’t they ? the Spanish for crochet is either
croch� (not very helpful) or labor de ganchillo, so how about calling
your work ganchillo…I think literally it means hooking, and I know
that in American English this is an unacceptable description of your
work :-), but I think crochet has the equivalent literal meaning in
French so why not ? Steve Holden

www.platayflores.com


#6

Joan-

Technically speaking, what you are doing is a form of knitting and
not crochet. True, you use a crochet hook to manipulate the wire,
but it is knitting just the same.

I do quite a bit of this. The picture in Theory and Practice is
circular knitting. This can be done on a spool (like if you were
making a chain) or with multiple needles (either 4 or 5 depending on
your style).

I have knitted for about 28 years and what you describe is
definitely not crochet. I still can’t figure out why the
metalsmithing community came up with the term “crocheting with
wire”.

Had you submitted you designs to a knitting guild they would
understand exactly what you are doing. Knitters don’t always use
yarn. I have seen fiber artists knit with plastic grocery bags (a
beautiful wedding dress I might add) licorice laces (a pair of
socks) etc. Also, there is a gadget out now called the Wyr Knittr
that allows you to feed small gauge wire onto a circular set of pins
that is controlled by a crank. This produces knitted wire tubes.
Never used it, just know about it.

So basically when I sell items that are crafted in this manner I say
knitted wire be them flat pieces or tubular/3-dimensional.

ALso I believe that Arlene Fisch uses the term knitting when she is
doing what you and I do, and crochet when she is actually using the
hooked needle as it was intended.

Hope this helps-
Carree


#7

Joan, it offends me to think that YOU are the one who has to look
for a new way to name what you do rather than have those limited
crocheters expand their overly limited definition. Please continue
to call it crocheting with wire. Books are already in print about
it. People who work in metal know it as crochet. As they say in
Latin.“Illegitimi non carborundum”. Eve Welts, Certified PMC
Instructor.


#8

I would love to meet you… I did use an Afghan hook to crochet the
huge balls that I hang in the back of my retail booth. The stitches
are sturdy enough to hold their shape so I don’t keep them on the
needle . The problem that I encountered was that the crocheting
people said that crocheting stitches twist and mine don’t. I am
trying to come up with a new term to describe what I do. I don’t
crochet, or tat. I made that sweater when you are 16, so I do know
how to knit, but only simple knit and purl. Thanks for your
feedback…

Hope to meet you in Dec.
Joan


#9

Dear Joan and all,

it has been so very long since i have posted here to Orchid that
perhaps i should introduce myself anew. as many of you, i try to fit
my work into the framework of family and household responsibilities;
sometimes more successfully than others. i work exclusively in the
design and execution of knitted lace/lace knitted wiRe: mostly
tiaras, headpieces, and neckpieces, but other forms upon occasion.
i am fortunate enough to travel and teach on knitting wire to
various knitting groups as our home schedule allows. i’ve certainly
enjoyed the recent thread of “got a life?” sometimes i still feel
as if i should be able to “do it all” and that particular thread is
so relevant right now, it is not even funny:) the media and technique
are just so gorgeous to me that it is a real joy to share it with
others, so Joan, i can completely understand your enthusiasm! my
formatting on this program isn’t cooperating today, so please
forgive my cumbersome method of replying to specific points in your
post, Joan.

Joan, you wrote:

I just returned from teaching a class at Metalwerx.. WHAT A
WONDERFUL FACILITY!!!! While there Karen and I had dinner, I was
telling her how the title "Crocheting with Wire" is getting
confusing for people and it has been suggested to me that I come
up with a new name for the technique and class. She told me to put
it out to Orchid. 

i remember reading the posting on Orchid about the upcoming class,
and i must admit, i was a little confused as well as to the actual
content of the class. i agree that perhaps a different name would
be apt (my suggestions, for what they are worth, follow later in the
body)

then, you wrote:

I sent the work and a week after the show opened I got a call from
someone in the organization stating that I was not doing a crochet
stitch and that she needed to talk to me. Now, I know that what I
do is different, and that while at Haystack one summer the fiber
people watched me for over two hours trying to decide exactly what
I was doing. They told me to tell people that I am doing a knitting
stitch with a crochet hook. Which I do. I returned the call and was
told that they were afraid that when this show traveled that people
would think that they didn't know their crochet stitches and that
they were sending back my work as ineligible. I guess there is
suppose to be some kind of twisting in each stitch but this too has
been challenged 

Joan, are you familiar with Bishop Richard Rutt’s “A History of Hand
Knitting?” it was long OOP, but recently re-issued by Interweave
Press. i do not own it myself, so cannot give you specific pages,
but i do remember that he addresses this exact issue. he goes into
the specific structural differences between knit and crochet fabric,
as well as forms that appear as knit fabric, yet are not truly knit
fabric: for example, tablet weaving, nalbinding, and some forms of
crochet (such as Tunisian) to name a few. i believe Lis Paladin’s
"History of Crochet" also covers this issue in some depth.

the truth of the matter is that a true “knit” fabric may be
accomplished by any number of means and tools: on pegs; on a
knitting rake/frame/loom; on needles, both straight or hooked; even
upon the fingers. ( in “Mary Thomas’ Knitting Book,” by Mary Thomas,
she describes the historical usage of knitting needles with hooked
ends in certain geographical areas). add the fact that wire has no
memory as does fiber, and the boundaries really do become blurred in
terms of method, so it is my opinion, and my opinion only, that it
is best to not define what we do by the tools with which we
accomplish what we do. Margaret Stove, one of the world’s most
revered knitters, has a good explanation of relaying what makes a
knit fabric a knit fabric. In “Creating Original Hand-Knitted
Lace,” page 18, she identifies a knit structure as one “where a
continuous thread makes four changes of direction and is
accomplished with two needles, even though there may be more than
two needles holding a supply of the stitches.” please forgive the
crudeness of the following diagram, where the small bars denote the
thread and its direction:

  _3
4\ /2_1<

what this results in, essentially, is a fabric where the "loops"
which form the stitches are locked vertically; one can see this
easily when examining a sweater. this is what causes a "ladder"
when a stitch becomes dropped or torn: all the stitches locked to
that stitch will unlock, or unravel if you will, and cause the
ladder. this property of vertically-locking stitches is one of the
things which gives a knit fabric its elasticity and drape.

in a crochet fabric, one most often also uses a continuous thread,
but this thread goes through many more directional changes, as the
loop caught on the hook in the formation of a new stitch is twisted
upon itself. the crochet stitches are locked not only vertically,
but horizontally as well. this results in a fabric with more bulk
and less elasticity than a knit fabric.

and then, you wrote:

But I still don't have a GOOD name for what I do ... People have
suggested knocheting, criting, dulla crocheting, ducheting ( which
for obvious reason, I won't use ;>) ) Anyone have any great
suggestions on how to handle this? I only use wire, a crochet hook
and patience to do this. The stitch looks similar to the diagram in
"The Theory and Practice of Goldsmith" page 231 and they call it
crocheting, but they are metal smiths too ,and don't know about
stringent fiber terms. 

i haven’t seen this example, so i cannot address it. i know also
that many of the basic loop-in-loop chains presented by Jean Stark
in her “Classical Loop in Loop Chains and Their Derivatives” also
resemble knitted wire in the round, or “French knitting” as it is
also referred to. the key again, i believe, is identifying the
nature of the structure. i would suggest as a name something that
identifies the structure, yet makes it clear that the students need
not know how to do what is commonly thought of as knitting: the two
long, pointed needle variety, such as, perhaps, “wire knitting off
the needles,” or “free-hand wire knitting,” making the fact that one
can knit without the traditional knitting needles or prior knitting
knowledge a point of interest and excitement for prospective
students. my own class is titled simply, “metal knits.” we knit on
two straight needles, on a loom, and with a crochet hook, in flat
and round forms. i mention this because many of the people i have
had experience with have had no knowledge of or experience in
crochet—and some really do not want to, believe it or not!—yet
they surprise themselves with their ease in using the hook in their
working.

so, for what they are worth, my rather simple, yet ironically
long-winded replies to your questions.

great day to you all, melissa formerly of Iowa, now back home in
Central PA


#10

hook-linked wire creations

Sandy Moon


#11

Michael, I just looked at some of your crochet work and it is
gorgeous! I’ve just started learning to crochet/knit with wire and
it is inspiring to see pictures of what can be done with it.

Are there many others in Orchid who knit/crochet/weave with wire?

– Leah
www.michondesign.com
@Leah2


#12

Joan, If your work looks like knitting, except that each stitch has a
half twist, then you are making “trichinopoly.” Not much better, is
it? It is sometimes called “Viking knit,” although the technique was
used other places, too–India, for one.

Here’s an example of a trichinopoly chain:
http://images.fbrtech.com/tora/proj/heather/vikingrope2.jpg

Janet


#13
         So, If someone can think of another, better, more
appropriate title for my style of crocheting, I sure would
appreciate the help. 

Dear Joan. Since all of the “experts” in the fields of crochet,
knitting, tatting, etc. cannot agree that your style of stitching
falls into any of their categories, I submit that you have invented
your own style and should feel free to name it whatever suits your
fancy. The term “Joan Stitching” sounds fine to me :slight_smile: You could
name it after a mentor, family member, whomever or whatever you
wish. Then again, once you’ve named it, I wouldn’t bet against one
of those experts suddenly recognizing it as something they never
realized beforehand. However this works out for you, please accept
my congratulations on designing something new and useful to the
trade!

James


#14

Geez, Joan, If somebody invented a new way to weave beadwork, no one
would call that a different medium! I gotta say, this whole “tempest
in a teapot” seems a bit dumb (not you-- the biddies who disqualified
you for being creative). They don’t mind it being wire instead of
wool, but they’re getting in a twist about the stitch? Sounds like a
case of needle envy to me! I’m kinda ranting on here, but I can’t
believe that they rejected work because it doesn’t look like
everybody else’s. My opinion, if the definition of crochet is that it
is done with a hooked needle, then that’s what it is, and let the
devil take the hindmost. It is very generous of you to teach people
how to do your own unique style of work. I suppose you could call it
"wire needlework", and duck the whole issue.

–No�l


#15

Joan, I have been knitting, crocheting (traditional and French) and
weaving with wire for six years now and have experienced explaining
what I do to very traditional fiber arts juries. So far, nobody has
questioned my use of the term crochet. I’m fascinated by the
incredibly narrow definition of crochet you encountered! The guild I
belong to accepts work using a chaining technique and a crochet hook
as crochet, we don’t worry about whether our “fiber” is in a twist.
As noted in other posts, this technique has been published in many
books and fiber magazines as a crochet technique so I wonder why this
particular group were such sticklers.

I wondered if you could put the definition back to the jury, what
category would they put your work in? I can’t help but feel that
whenever someone wants to split hairs over labels that there is a
whiff of gatekeeping in the air, as if to help narrow the field. It
is my opinion that juries will sometimes look for an arbitrary device
to narrow the field of apllicants when they are faced with too many
entries, too many good entries, and too little time.

By the way, I live an hour from Metalwerx and I was so disappointed
that I could not take your class. I will keep watching to see if you
teach in my area again. I think what you do is lovely and that you
should be able to call it whatever you want. It’s beautiful art.

From New Bedford, where it just started to snow… Genevieve


#16

I make trichinopoly chains without using a crochet hook, following
the procedure described in “Great Wire Jewelry” by Irene From
Petersen (ISBN 1579900933). The wire is threaded through stitches
rather than bent and pulled through, and the work progresses from
top to bottom.

The results are very even and I can make fine chains this way.

Janet