After my Venezia napkin rings came out in the fall 2006 issue of Knitty, several kind people sent me notes about the gate in Venice that inspired the design. Yes! It was the gate into the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and your kind notes and photos allowed me to relive a wonderful trip, and remember my mother as she was so many years ago. Thank you all!
Others wrote wanting to make a bracelet, but I told them that the pattern would be too flimsy at the larger size and if they could wait just a little while, I was working on a solution. So here it is! And true to its sculptural heritage, it uses an armature to shape the wire and bead skin and provide stability. And this time, I used recycled glass that reminds me of the ocean on the other side of the Guggenheim Collection. You can use anything you want, though.
Measurements are taken after pulling fabric into shape.
Measured flat before seaming:
Width: 2.25 inches
Length: 10.25 inches
Measurements after seaming:
inner circumference: 7.5 inches
outer circumference: 11.5 inches
Beading wire, 32 gauge [30 yards per spool]; color: silver, one spool
1 set US #6/4mm needles: Bamboo is recommended, and you may find it easier to use two double-point needles rather than long straight needles.
Recycled glass beads, ranging in size from 2-4mm: 135
Clear plastic or acrylic bangle bracelet
OR 1/2 inch diameter clear acrylic flexible tubing with 5/16 inch thick wall: 1 foot
7 sts/69 rows = 2.25 inches by 10.25 inches (exact gauge is not critical for this project)
I used two double pointed bamboo needles because they are short and not very slick, and I found it very easy to manipulate the wire. I had no problems losing stitches. You can use any needles you like, though.
One of the seven stitches in each row functions as a selvage stitch. Do not put any beads between this stitch and the next stitch. The area without beads will be on the inside of the bracelet and enables the wearer to slide the bracelet on and off with greater ease, and with a minimum of wear and tear.
Beads are placed between stitches. To place a bead in your work, knit the stitch before the place you want your bead to go, slide the bead up the wire until it rests next to your right needle, then knit the next stitch. It's as easy as that!
To make working with the beads and wire easier, you can place the spool of wire into a small ziplock bag, approximately 2 x 3 inches and close the top around the wire. Do not use a larger bag, as this will encourage the wire to kink.
Clear tubing can be purchased in hardware stores, and has text printed on portions. Ensure you have enough area without text printed on it to reach around your hand - I used 10.25 inches. Bits of the lettering can be scratched off with a utility knife, if need be.
Make armature: bend tubing around hand and cut a length sufficient to pass over hand when joined. Cut another piece of tubing approximately an inch long. Cut smaller piece in half lengthwise. Roll smaller piece to fit inside larger piece snugly. If need be, wet the tubing to make insertion easier. Insert other end of smaller piece of tubing into the other end of the large piece to complete circle. If need be, heat tubing by dipping into boiling water or applying hair dryer, form into circle, and then hold under cold water to set shape. Any small gaps in the tubing will be covered by the beads and wire.
Pre-string beads on wire.
Using the Backward Loop technique, CO 7 sts, placing at least 1 bead in the CO row.
Knit approximately 69 rows garter stitch, using 2 to 3 beads per row, and scattering them evenly across piece. Place the beads in different places in the rows; you want to achieve fairly even coverage, with a seemingly random appearance. Remember to leave a bead free zone between the selvage stitch and the next stitch (only on one side). As you knit, pull the rows you have knitted into shape after each row. Having exactly 69 rows is not crucial. The most important thing is that the knitted fabric fit snugly around the armature. When you have achieved the proper length, cut the wire, leaving a 20 inch tail. Ensure that all the beads are on one side of the fabric, so that they will face out when the rectangle is seamed. It is easy to push the beads through and close the wire so they do not slip back through.
Stretch rectangle to proper dimensions if you have not already done so. Remove needle from live stitches, inserting a piece of waste yarn to keep them from unraveling. Wrap rectangle lengthwise around armature, making sure the beads are on the outside of the fabric. Graft together live stitches with cast-on edge. Remove waste yarn. Wrap knitted fabric around armature so that the area without beads is on the inside. Without cutting wire, sew together lengthwise edges of knitted rectangle around armature.
Wrap wire around itself several times and clip, being careful not to leave ends sticking out. Tuck wire in.
The fine print: Copyright 2007 Rosemary Hill. This pattern is for personal use only and may not be sold or knit for profit. Thank you and enjoy!