How to Wire Spool Knit in 7 Easy Steps

How to Wire Spool Knit in 7 Easy Steps

One of my favorite toys as a kid was a red spinning wheel. Once the ends of my yarn were attached to pegs on a spindle, I turned the wheel and flipped loops of yarn over the yarn already on each peg.  Around and around went my wheel, and out came a long rope, which I coiled and stitched into hats, potholders and more potholders. I had no idea at the time it was spool knitting! I totally forgot about that toy spinning wheel until I was introduced to wire spool knitting. What fun to rediscover the same technique with wire! I have modified a tutorial with photos from Jean Campbell, to show you basic spool knitting, and included my tips and method for how to add beads as you work.

Basic wire spool knitting tips
Keep your loops as consistent as you can in size. Be careful when you pull the wire loops over the pegs, as thinner gauges of wire can easily break. Wire knit ropes will stretch and thin out a bit. You do not need a long length for a nice bracelet, especially if adding accent beads.

Step One
>Step 1
  Step Two
Step 2
1: Wrap thin wire (28-gauge) around the first peg, leaving a long enough tail to poke down through the spool. You use this tail as you work to gently tug your knitted rope through the spool. 2: Wrap the wire around all the subsequent pegs, making sure all the wraps wind around in the same direction. Go around again so there are two wraps on every peg.
Step Three-1
Step 3
Step Three-2
3: Use the pointed tool to grab the bottom wrap. Pull it over the top wrap and up and over the peg. Repeat around for each peg. Do not to pull too hard with the tool to force the wire over the pegs, as thin gauge wire can easily break.
Step Four
Step 4
Step Five
Step 5
4: Wrap the pegs again and repeat Step 3 for the desired length. Once you have a few rounds finished, tug gently on the tail to pull some of the rope into the spool. 5: Remove the knitting by using the pointed tool to gently pull the wire off the pegs. Use the remaining knitting wire at the ends to weave through the end loops so the knitting doesn’t come undone. Keep this finishing part small and tight. Most people pull the tied-off ends into an end cone, so your twists will be nicely hidden.
Step SixStep 6 Step Seven
Step 7
6: There are several things you can do with your knitted tube. One is to pull it through a wooden draw plate, creating a crushed chain. Rolling it on a table with your hands will also lengthen and slim the rope. 7: Jean’s favorite technique is to simply pop a bead inside the tube and squeeze the wire at the top and bottom of the bead to secure it in place.
Spool knitting with beads and wire
I love spool knitting wire with beads. Pre-string beads on your wire before starting, leaving the wire on the spool. Better to string more than you think you’ll need than too few. Beads must be small enough to fit inside the knitter spool as you work.
Make loops around each peg as usual, simply bringing up a bead between each peg before making the next wrapped loop. I found the best way to fit beads inside the spool was to knit alternating rounds: a round with beads, a round of just wire, a round with beads, and so on.

After the rope is finished, adding end cones and accent beads is really fun.

A drawing overlays over this photo, showing a wire loop capturing the knitted rope inside the cone, coming through the cone and accents, culminating in the final wrapped loop.

Two of my finished spool knitted bracelets.


Finish the bracelet with end cones and accents
Tie-off and secure the rope the same as in Step 5. You only need a short rope for a cool bracelet–the really fun part is choosing great end cones and accent beads. My ropes are only about 4-5″ long, so I have room to add cones, beads and the clasp. Remember the knitting will stretch a bit, too. You can always add beads to make the bracelet longer.

Use wire-wrapped loops to attach the cones and clasp

To attach through an end cone and add a clasp, use about 5 inches of a slightly heavier gauge wire (24 or 20 is good) to make a tiny, simple, wire-wrapped loop secured to your rope end. On the long straight part of this wire you can now string your bead cone, pushing it down to obscure the end of the knit rope. String  a focal bead or two. Push all the beads and cone as snug as possible to the rope, making sure the rope end is really inside the cone. Make another wire-wrapped loop holding those beads snug to the rope, onto which you can attach your clasp.

Step-by-step photos like these are valuable teaching aids, but isn’t it even better to watch a technique in action? Of course!  So be sure to check out our video projects, especially instant-access lessons such as the Ionic Column Earrings downloadable class from Beaducation!

And when you try spool knitting, keep us in the loop on Beading Daily.

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