Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Knitting with Scales

The first step of any craft project is to impulse buy anything you see that looks shiny, pretty, cool or challenging. So this week I may have bought 100 scales, 500 jump rings, a set of pliers and some findings with the intention of making some sort of beautiful dragon necklace. I've never made jewellery or chain maille or anything with scales before but I've seen beautiful photos on Etsy and Pinterest, how hard could it be, right?

The Supplies

Today my scales and jump rings arrived from Bead Sisters which is a lovely website and one of the very few UK suppliers I could find for scales. At £1.50 for 20 scales and £8.85 for 500 jump rings I figured that it sounded like a good, cheap start to a new craft. I bought 5 different colours to match the elemental drakes from my LARP group and the jump rings in champagne to match one set of scales.

Of course, my pliers and findings haven't arrived yet but here I am with this whole bag of new toys and nothing I can do about it! Or is there? A little internet research tells me I can knit with scales and before I know it I'm knee deep in video tutorials, how tos and hints and tips from around the web. The best page I've found for this, and the one I'd highly recommend for anybody else starting out is Crafty Mutt's Learn to Knit With Scales. This is an amazing blog that has everything you need to start out, including a video tutorial, step by step instructions with photos and a little sample pattern at the bottom for practising with.

The Project

Having read her pattern and all the hints and tips, I picked up my 4mm needles, some yarn I had handily close to my desk and 4 scales of each colour to make a little sample. The pattern I used is as follows:

Cast on 12
1. Knit 2, *Knit with scale, Knit 1* (repeat 4 times), Knit 2
2. Knit across
3. Knit 2 *Knit 1, Knit with scale* (repeat 4 times) Knit 2
4. Knit across.

And that's it. That simple. 

When I'd used up all my colours I cast off and added a little tie so I could make an armoured cape for a creme egg. When I got bored of parading around my little armoured friend I gathered the top, tied it to my necklace and claimed it was a mini-dragon egg. 

I quite like my mini-dragon egg pendant, one day I may make it properly. I'll add that to my future projects list :)

What would I do differently next time?

This was only a sampler so I'm not too fussed about it not being perfect but I think next time I would have to neaten the edges that aren't covered by scales so the wool isn't visible. If I was doing a dragon egg I'd have to add some shaping and work out how to do the top and bottom neatly.

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