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On Knitted Jewelry - Pirra Necklace and Knitting with Wire

I've always fallen for knitted jewelry patterns.  But sadly, most of my attempts at knitted jewelry have failed.  The problem is that something detailed like jewelry needs to look really good up-close. Honestly?  Knitted jewelry can look damn sloppy.  And bumpy.  And fugly!

I've tried to make Learning the Ropes by Nicky Epstein (from a Vogue Knitting article, Winter 2010/2011)...  but too CHUNKY WUNKY.

And the Linen Lariat by Jolanta Beinarovica... so lovely in the photo, but in reality, the chain kinks and every flower curls to show the wrong side!

Both got frogged, poor things.

I decided to give knitted jewelry one more try, after seeing this lovely i-cord based necklace up for testing in my Free Pattern Testers group on Ravelry.

This is the Pirra Necklace, by Ambah O' Brien.  The word is an Australian Aboriginal word for 'moon'.

The original pattern uses fingering weight yarn, which I love, as it is delicate, and you can get a really tight gauge out of it.  However, Ambah has experimented with DK weight, too.

I am now imagining a chunky version in Rowan Big Wool.  Someone do it and show me!

The necklace is very simple to make.  You need just 3 lengths of i-cord and some yarn to wrap around for the connection.  I only used 2 colors, but the original pattern calls for 3.

Choosing a yarn was fun.  You only need 2, 10 and 25 yards of the colors, so you can go nuts with crazy scraps you might have around. 

I decided on using the 'vintage' (i.e. discontinued) Rowan Lurex Shimmer as my accent.  It really glows! (note:  you can replace Lurex Shimmer with Anchor Artiste Metallic)

There are two challenges in this necklace.  

1) Take care to be neat on the edges of the 2 shorter i-cords, they will show.  But don't worry at all about joining the ends of the big loop that goes around your neck.  The designer makes a brilliant move to hide that join perfectly!

2) Be loose with your wraps so that you don't 'strangle' those ends.  Take your time wrapping so that they fall neatly next to each other.  Then, stabilize the wraps in the back so that they feel firm and-well placed.  I used an 'X' technique:

The necklace loop was a bit long for my taste, as seen below.  I later made a small knot in the back of the necklace, removing about 4 inches of length.  I love necklaces that lie right on my collar bones!

I should say I have successfully knit jewelry only once before, for our wedding bands, lol.

Ok, I never meant for us to use them daily, just for the wedding day (1 year ago, on Sept. 29!)... but honestly, if you did them right, you could.  

I actually had jewelry wire lying around the house because of my husband.  I taught him to knit a few years ago, and one day he passed a shop window and thought he could make me the necklace on display as a birthday gift.  The idea was fab by his description, a tube of knitted wire that increased and decreased to trap evenly spaced pearls.  Unfortunately, I never saw the necklace in the display, or the husband version of it.  He tried hard but struggled too much to get it to work.

Just the fact that he wanted to do it was enough of a gift!  I would love to make it happen.  These are my current inspriations:

He had bought two wire reels.  I just want to show you that wire gauge isn't the only important thing to consider.  Material is important, too.

This stainless steel wire would simply not stay where it was knit, it was absolutely impossible to use.

But this brass wire was great!  Remember to use crappy metal knitting needles if you would like to knit with wire.  You will ruin the needle patina.

My 'jewel', funnily enough, is a vintage stitch marker!  I tied it on crappily with some gold lurex thread.  I also used a very shoddy kitchener stitch to close the loop.  My splurge on bridal Italian pantyhose did not thank me for that poor decision!  :D

My Knitted I Do on Ravelry

Would you like to win a copy of the Pirra Necklace pattern?  Yes, you would!  Leave a comment here or on my FB page telling me who you would like to make it for.  Ambah O'Brien will send a copy of her lovely pattern to two winners!  If you want to double your chances, go ahead and comment at each spot.  :)

My Bling, Knitted. on Ravelry


  1. I love the Pirra Neckace. One of the few knitted necklaces I've seen that I'd actually make and wear. Very pretty!

  2. Love it. I'll be selfish and say I'd make it for myself since I usually can't afford to buy jewellery very often. Maybe one for C's mum for Christmas, but in more earthen colours.

  3. This is such a neat necklace! I would have to make one for myself, you know, to test the pattern, haha!

  4. What a beautiful necklace. I would dearly love to make one for my equally beautiful Daughter-in-law as a surprise present (rather than an expected Birthday or Christmas present) to show her how much I love her. As any gifts have to be posted due to us living so far apart, and rarely ever seeing each other, the fact that it is light would be ideal.

  5. Absolutely, I would love to win this! It looks like a pattern that could actually work! I would make it for me, of course!!

  6. I would love to make one of these for my baby sister who is also my best friend.

  7. This is so unique. I would make it for myself, first in a silver and gold yarn. It reminds me of metal, industry, New York, Frank Lloyd Wright and architecture. This piece is not does not look "crafty". It looks like "real jewellery" and I would have to make a sleek, cashmere sweater to wear it with. I love it, can't wait for the pattern to be available and thank you for sharing it.

  8. It's a lovely simple looking necklace and would probably knit it for myself.

  9. I would make it for my sister. Then one for me

    Nhsarab at ravelry

  10. Oh wow – I love this so much! I would make one for myself to wear to our knitting retreat in November. (And I'll totally be your Big Wool guinea pig ... I want to see what it would look like too!)

  11. I love the necklace. I would make 2 of them. The first for me, and the second, once I've perfected it and gotten her OK, for my daughter.

  12. I would love to knit this for my daughters...I could see both of them wearing it beautifully !

  13. I'm hoping you all are still seeing comments on this post, because YOU ARE ALL WINNERS! Ambah O'Brien will be sending you the Pirra Necklace pattern. All I need is an e-mail address or Ravelry username from the following people. Please e-mail me at: d a y a n a k@ g m



  14. Lovely job on your Pirra necklace! I especially like the metallic yarn! It looks great and not at all crafty/homemade.


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