Now some of you I know are a little intimidated by our Faerie Ears because they are made with wire. But I am here to tell you that you need not be afraid! Crocheting with wire is not much different than crocheting with yarn. In fact, while I intended this to be a tutorial post, it's really more of a you-can-do-it post because there isn't really a specific technique you need to learn.
To start, you'll need some of this:
This is what we call artistic wire--the stuff used to make jewelry. You should be able to find it from any jewelry supplier (we're a big fan of Artbeads). Some craft stores carry it, if you're not particular about what type of metal it is. We like non-tarnish silver.
While yarn thickness is categorized by weight (worsted, DK, sock, etc), artistic wire thickness is measured by a unit of measurement called gauge. The higher the number, the thinner the wire. I'd recommend playing with 28-gauge when you first start out. It's a thinner wire, but it's easier to manipulate. Once you feel comfortable with that, you can move on to the thicker wires, which are stiffer and may require some finesse to get the look you like.
Another thing that's special about crocheting with wire is you'll need a much larger hook than you'd expect for the thickness of the wire.
28-gauge wire is comparable to size 30 crochet cotton (the really fine stuff), which you would work with a tiny little steel crochet hook. Not so with the wire. Wire will kink before it makes loops that tiny, so for that smooth, rounded look, you'll need a bigger hook. For 28-gauge wire, we like a size F-5 (3.75mm) hook.
Other things to consider when crocheting with wire:
1. Stitches are made exactly the same way as they are when working with yarn. Just take care to keep a loose tension. If you pull your stitches too tight, you won't be able to move your hook in and out of the stitches. And take your time! Pulling out erroneous stitches is tricky, as it often kinks the wire. When done correctly, your stitches should be even in size and loopy in appearance.
2. When crocheting with yarn, the top of the stitches looks like a braid. When crocheting with wire, it looks more like interconnected loops.
3. Despite the difference in appearance, crochet stitches in wire are made exactly the same way as they are in yarn. It helps to be a bit more deliberate as you make them though, since wire likes to hold its shape.
4. Weaving in ends is pretty easy. No needle needed--simply weave the wire through the stitches a few times, then snip it. Since it likes to keep its shape, it'll stay put better than yarn will.
5. Wire projects, like yarn, may require a bit of "blocking." If you don't like the shape of the finished piece, don't despair! Thanks to the malleability of the wire, you can often mold it into shape with your hands.
Now who wants to get started crocheting with wire?