Shawl Pins

I seem to have an obsession with knitting/crocheting shawls.  I love making them, I love wearing them.  I decided to make wearing them easier a few months ago by buying a shawl pin on Etsy, but I was really sad when I lost part of it somewhere in the Peak District while I was away on holiday.  Sad times.  It was beautiful too.

I decided that instead of buying a new one, I’d try and make one.  So today, I’m going to tell you what I used to make mine, and tell you how you can make your own!  I didn’t get any photos of the process as I hadn’t decided to write a blog post till afterwards!  I made four pins out of about 2m of wire.

What You’ll Need

  • Jewellery Wire – I used a copper-coloured aluminium wire that is 2mm in diameter (use whatever colour suits your shawls best!)
  • Pliers – I used the ones I had available out of my husband’s toolbox with the thinnest end – specific pliers for jewellery making would probably work well.  To prevent the grip on the pliers damaging the wire too much I wrapped it in a little bit of tissue
  • Wire-cutters
  • Small file
  • Hammer
  • Clear nail varnish (optional) – used to protect the pin from tarnishing when finished
  • A handknit shawl to use it on!

How To Make A Basic Shawl Pin

A basic shawl pin has two parts – the pin and the shaped part.  As a note, I didn’t make the pin part in these photos.

Make the shaped part

  • Decide what shape you what your shaped part to be, if you want to include perfect circle find something to wrap the wire around that is the right size
  • You can make a version in string/wool/yarn or similar if you want to cut your wire more accurately to length first
  • File the ends of the wire to avoid sharp edges
  • Then shape the wire into your desired shape

Make the pin

  • Cut a length of wire that is larger than the part of your shaped section that the pin is going to go across
  • File the ends to avoid sharp edges
  • Straighten it out as much as possible
  • Use the pliers to make a spiral at one end to help stop the pin going all the way through

Finishing off

  • Check it works and functions as required
  • To harden it up, hammer it gently and evenly all over.  You should find it feels harder to bend.  Don’t hammer it too much otherwise it goes brittle and will break easily.  Depending on your hammer, it may leave marks so I’d recommend doing it on the back side of the pin only
  • Coat all over with clear nail varnish to preventing tarnishing (may need to do one side then the other)

Use your pin

  • Grab your favourite shawl and pin as desired to show off your fabulous yarn crafts and wirework!

How To Make A Penannular (or Open-Ring) Brooch

This is a little harder to make but I find it so much better for wearing with shawls when I’m being more active as they don’t come off easily!  This time, the shaped part is a circle with the two ends fancy.  The pin is attached to the circle so it can’t come off easily (or at all!)  I’m sure you could come up with other designs, but this is as far as I’ve got so far!

Make the pin

  • Start off by making the pin in the same way as above – make sure the spiral has a hole big enough to fit the wire through.
  • Harden it up by hammering it and then coat it with clear nail varnish.
  • Make sure the nail varnish has dried thoroughly before putting onto the circle.

Make the circle

  • Use some yarn to measure the length of your circle and whatever shaping you want for the ends
  • Cut the wire to length and file the ends to avoid sharp edges
  • Shape one end of the wire with your design and then make the circle loop (to make a perfect circle wrap it around something circular such as a glass, toilet loo tube, eggcup or anything that is the right size).
  • Slip the pin onto the circle
  • Shape the second end of the wire as desired

Finishing Off

  • Finish it off by hammering it gently and coating with clear nail varnish as before.

Now grab your shawl and wear your new shawl pin with pride!

The pins below are all modelled on my Half Moon Shawl made in Caron Simply Soft (colourway 9717 Orchid) which is an Aran weight yarn.

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