Knitting in Metal Marla S. Rudnick
 Many artists have experimented with metal fiber for art and ornament. Some have explored weaving, others have worked with knots, and many have worked with knit and crochet techniques. The designation as either knit or crochet for connecting metal fiber by securing one loop onto the next is debatable and in some cases interchangeable but both techniques shall be referred to as knitting for the purposes of this explanation. Knitting with metal fiber can be characterized in to several groups. There are hand knits using needles of varying sizes, Viking knits (a variety of nalbinding), spool knitting, finger knitting and machine knitting. Hand knitting results in a lovely organic material that holds its shape which ever way it is bent. Viking knit can be used to create an "I" cord, a hollow metal bead or a flat piece of material that can be formed into a sculptural shape. Spool and finger knitting result in beads or "I" cord of various dimensions which can add an elegant touch to any wearable art. Machine knitting on metal fiber results in a very even knit as the needles are adjusted to create a stitch with a set size. Machine knitting can be done two ways. One way is to use the shuttle to automatically knit a row as the shuttle is pulled across the bed of needles. The second way is to knit manually, pulling the metal fiber across the needles and setting the stitches by pushing them up and down systematically. My use of machine knitting only incorporates manual techniques, primarily due to the breakage of fine silver by using the shuttle. Using my hands, I can manipulate the 26-30 gauge fine silver wire so that the force of the needles' movement can be minimized. I use a Passap Duo 80, which has a double bed of 180 needles per bed. My work is flat when finished but can be embellished with fresh water pearls, natural stones and glass beads.