Hello! I've been reading off and on but finally joined yesterday after asking Arachne if anyone had ever done needle lace in wire.

I have an idea that has been floating around for a little while. I want to do it in wire for some reason. Mainly, I guess, because I envision this as a piece for the wall.

I see the whole thing in wire, and I was stymied by the thread vs wire construction problems. Thread compresses, so you can hide ends fairly easily in the cordonnet. Wire doesn't compress, so any ends will be lumps. So I started my experiments last night. I have solved the problem, sort of, for the cordonnets inside the piece, but not for the outside. My experiments should give me my answers, but that will take a little time! LOL

What I have found, though, is that it is best worked on a pillow. Wire kinks quite easily, and at that kink becomes weak. In order to avoid kinks you must guide the wire using your second hand, or a trolley needle. Tensioning is very similar to thread I'm finding, which is good! I was also worried about scraping off the coloring, as I am using Artistic Wire which is plated copper. So far it all looks lovely. I can see that using fine silver would be a great advantage. For this project, though, no way.

If any of you have experience with wire I'd love to hear about it. Thanks very much.

Lauren in Snohomish, WA, USA.

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Claire! Thanks for the website link. I love the work Jo is doing. And I went and had a look at your website and LOVE the combination of fabric and wire that you are doing. How are you embossing the sheets of metal? Is there a machine you can use to do it? At jewelry supply places here we can get patterned sheet but the patterns are very fine and small. Fun to play with but quite different from the larger patterns you have used.

I am using a 34 gauge wire, so it is very fine, like thread. I think that I will end up leaving ends long and then sewing them along the "border" rather than couching a cordonnet wire. That looks easiest right now. The edges will give me fits, but that's what samples are for, right? I was really worried about the color coming off the wire, but that only seems to be happening where it is rubbed by the needle eye, over and over. Not bad!

I am also hoping to get a blog or website up so I can post pics. The cup burrs that you mention are great. I like to file down the ends of wire, though a lot of people don't. Lots of people here just use flush cut pliers and I don't think that is good enough. The cup burrs do a nice job. So far I'm sewing with wire straight from the spool, so the only kinks are the ones I get by letting the wire loop. Again, practice is good :-)

Thank you for the reply and the eye candy. Lauren.

Lauren: if you want to get a site where you can post pictures, I recommend flickr.  It is run by Yahoo, so you can use your yahoo password (if you have a yahoo account).  Flickr is free to join, and not difficult to set up. 

http://www.flickr.com/   http://www.flickr.com/about/ 

Lorelei; Thanks for the flickr recommendation. I will look into it.

Claire; I have heard of a cuttlebug, but thought of it only as a scrap booking item. There is a scrap booking shop not too far away that does demos. I guess I'd better go visit them! Thank you. Needlelace over a metal background sounds fabulous :-) Good luck with that!

I showed artists friends my sample last night and they didn't have any suggestions, but I got to thinking that maybe a need  a thicker wire to get the effect I want. Maybe the 34g is too fine. So now I need to go back and get some heavier wire in the colors I'm using. Yay! An excuse to go to the bead store ! LOL

Happy New Year. 2012 will be great! Lauren

Lauren wants help with unusual materials.  The rest of us don't have any experience to help much.  You have had some experience with those materials.  Good.

I have used wire in bobbin lace, not needle lace. But one time someone remarked to me that when you are using wire in needle lace you don't have to use a needle. This remark seemed to be based on knowledge of someone who did needle lace in wire. Unfortunately, I can't recall who.

If it were possible to not use a needle, I think that you could eliminate some of the wire weakenig at the site of the needle problem


HI Devon; Going without the wire will certainly work in some cases, but for the general stitching, the needle is helpful because otherwise the wire bends. The needle makes it easier to work. And with using the needle, I only lose the last inch or two of wire to damage, so that's really nothing :-) Thanks for the input. Lauren

I usually use 26 gauge wire for needlelacing.  There are a few pieces on my website: www.donnasakamotocrispin.com


Your work is so very interesting.  I especially enjoyed the "art laces".


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