For different areas of the Finnish coil-embellished apron, there were different kinds of coils I’d need. I had a few different requirements:
- a lot of same-length cut coils for the side borders
- stretched-out coils evenly divided for the gridded motifs
- a number of coils cut to various lengths for the open work motifs
Finishing cut coils
For cut coils, I needed both ends to be reasonably smooth so that they don’t shred the yarn or catch on fabrics too much. In an initial attempt with these coils I tried pushing the cut edges into the tubes, and while this worked ok for very large diameter spirals, this was not good for the small ones because there wasn’t enough room inside for the threads to pass, and the yarn became snagged even more easily than without them tucked in.
To make the cut spirals I:
- measured the spiral to length, and used a chisel to divide the wire. Unfortunately the chisel wasn’t suitable for cutting the wire which would have been ideal!
- slipped the spirals with wire cutters. This wasn’t perfect because it squished the coil a bit, making the next step necessary
- used the tip of needle nose pliers as a mandrel to re-open and restore the shape of the coil along both edges.
- Threaded the coils back onto the jig rod
- Used needle nose pliers to smooth the edges of each coil along the rod, making a smooth spiral.
The smoothing of each of these takes a LONG time.. I timed one 13-15 centimetre strip, dividing it into 8 2cm long spiral beads. It took 5 minutes to finish off just the 8 beads, and that doesn’t include the time to wind the coil!
Finishing divided coils
For the divided coils – where they’re stretched out rather than cut, the finishing involved some similar steps, but not all. This also took a lot less time, since there were far fewer rough wire edges.
The steps included:
- Measuring and dividing the coils with the chisel as previously
- Using the snips to cut the strips into the desired lengths
- Stretching the coil spacing with my thumbnails, and trying to straighten out the coils which curve through the dividing slightly.