Friday, January 28, 2011

The Roman Gate

I love this picture, I took it my first day in Rome, the first day of my first vacation in Italy. It's the gate to the garden belonging to a monastery, right in the heart of Rome. I see this image every time I upload new pictures and I always have to pause and look at it for a moment, it takes me right back to Italy.

And here is my tribute to that beautiful image, made with knitted wire and beads.

I made my wire fabric especially to fit this glass vase, and added a wreath of pink mother of pearl discs around the top. The beaded wire fabric really draws your eye, lots of sparkly beads to look at. I didn't scrimp on the beads as you can see!

If you want to create something similar for yourself, I can give you some details that will help you estimate the materials you will need. This vase is 8" tall with a 10" circumference, so I needed to make a knitted wire panel 8"wide by 10" long. I took those measurements and used them to figure out the square inches, this helped estimate how many beads/wire I would need. So 8x10=80sq inches. I knew from my test swatch that I liked how it looked when I used approximately 15 beads per square inch. Let me just stop and talk about beads here for a moment, I used a variety of sizes from seed beads on up to around 10 mm. I chose a color palette of pinks, purples and blues and some beautiful Swarovski lead crystal, clear beads for extra sparkle. When I was stringing them, I counted groupings of smaller beads like the seed beads as one bead, so 3 seed beads = 1 regular bead. For this project I used nearly two 40 yard spools of 28 ga wire, I had probably 10 yards left over, but for something like this it's better to have too much than too little. So lets just use a nice round figure, two spools equal to 80 yards total divided by the 80 square inches of fabric created, means that for every knitted square inch, you will need approximately 1 yard of wire. Calculating the number of beads, as I said I used 15 per square inch, so 80 sq inches x 15 = 1200 beads. I strung half on each spool and wound it back around the spool to keep things tidy and organized, plus I used some iridescent beads and I wanted to protect that surface from getting scratched and banged around. So now, the last important detail, how many stitches to cast on? I used size 7 bamboo and for every inch of wire fabric I wanted to create, I cast on 5 stitches, so for my 10" circumference vase I cast on 50 stitches. Your gauge may be different, with something like this, it couldn't hurt to do a test swatch. When it was done, I sewed the butted up ends together with wire, and slipped it over the vase. I like that it comes off so that I can wash and dust the vase if I need to.

Have a wonderful weekend! Blessings Friends!


  1. You are a rock star!

    I love the the vase cover. How was knitting with the wire and beads? Was it hard on your hands.

    Absolutely GORGEOUS!

    Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

  2. That's incredible! I am always amazed at all the wonderful talent I find on Creative Friday!!I must come back and take a longer look at your blog!!

  3. Absolutely Fabulous just Fabulous!
    I so admire your talents!

  4. This is a great idea. I love the resulting fabric. Just beautiful!

  5. Thanks for the comments, I loves working on this project. The 28 ga wire was quite easy to knit with, I experimented with different ga wire and this was fine enough to knit with and easy to string the beads onto, but not so tiny that it would break.

  6. Beautiful, I would have never thought you could knit with that.

  7. Wow!! Melissa you never see to amaze me. How beautiful your work is. I am also wondering if it is hard on your spinning fingers! Really, really beautiful. Go Phattie!

  8. Wow! You sure had a beautiful inspiration to work from. Your work is amazing!

  9. Melissa--I love seeing the 'inspiration' photos for projects like this! You really did a remarkable job bringing some of the beauty of your vacation into your home and daily life. Excellent!!

  10. that is really clever and i bet it sparkles beautifully, esp if a candle was inside. you must be very patient stringing all those beads!

  11. Awesome vase! Your creativity knows no bounds Melissa. Thanks so much for sharing your talent.

  12. Incredible! I love knitting but living in the tropics I find it hardly necessary. You have really opened up a HUGE door for me to experiment with alternative materials other than wool and cotton. Thankyou!


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I'm a crafter, knitter, tinkerer, who always seems to have a project or two on the launch pad. I love to share what I'm working on and I love to see what other folks are working on too, so please comment and let me know where I can see your latest creation!