Along an ancient sacred route from the coast to a cathedral lies an ancient burial site, a large mound with a magnificent view all around from the wild sea to the distant hills. Known locally as the Seven Sisters, as long as anyone can remember there have only been six shallow-rooted trees, and all efforts to have another planted there are fiercely resisted by the enthusiast historians.
Everyone always admires this necklace, and so I was prompted to publishing the idea after seeing a woman on the London Underground last summer looking great wearing her vastly inferior commercial version.
This is what you need:
• some nice soft yarn that is leftover or reclaimed by frogging. You already have this yarn in your possession. The equivalent of one 50g ball will be enough.
• the necklace in the photo was made with Aran yarn, but you can use DK or sock yarn, or even laceweight. Of course the loops will be smaller if you use thinner yarn.
• 2 double pointed needles (DPNs) at least two sizes smaller than the size given for your yarn. If your yarn calls for size 6mm needles, use 5mm or 4.5mm. If your yarn calls for 4.5mm use 3.5mm or 3mm. Go down as far as you can without making the knitting unleasant or difficult. The fabric needs to be stiff or you’ll have saggy loops, and we wouldn’t want that.
• a large eyed blunt needle for sewing in the ends.
• a single, pretty button (not essential).
This is what you do:
Using your two double pointed needles, make a 5-stitch icord. If you have never made an icord, it’s a really useful thing to learn. It’s basically the same as the long snakes we used to make with the bobbins with blunted nails in them that our Grandads used to make for us when we were children.
Here’s an excellent icord video tutorial. There are many others, so do feel free to have a look around until you find one you like.
So, for this necklace, you cast 5 stitches onto one of the DPNs, slide them to the other side of the needle, and knit across. Then slide the stitches back to the other end of the needle and knit across again. Repeat. Keep repeating.
Tug firmly every now and again and you will see the ‘seam’ magically disappear.
Make your icord long enough to loop across your chest, measured against your favourite necklace.
Cast off and without cutting yarn, cast on another 4 stitches to make 5 total inc the last stitch from the previous cord, and continue knitting in the same way to make a second icord. Join the end of this new icord to beginning of the previous one by picking up loops from the end with your needle and casting them off together. Overlap the cords slightly when joining the ends.
It feels a bit like making links of sausages!
Continue until there’s almost no yarn left. This one has 6 icord loops. The Seven Sisters has six trees. You could make five or seven or four loops or however many you like. I prefer even numbers, but I like odd numbers too.
In the necklace pictured, the longest cord is 32”, the shortest is 22”.
When you have just the right number of loops, pick up and knit 6 stitches across the end of the joined cords (or you may need more or fewer, depending on how much your cords were overlapped on joining. Knit 6 rows of stst, picking up stitches from the cord bundle and knitting together with the first and last stitch of each row. Cast off, again picking up and knitting together with stitches from the back of the icord bundle.
The idea is to make a nice neat end to your bundle of cords. It’s easy.
Then you make a looped over crochet chain on one side and a short length of chain with a knot on the other.
Or this is where you can sew on that pretty button.
We are at the beginning of a severe winter. The Seven Sisters are bending against this morning’s savage sleet, and snow is in the air, although it feels too cold. The Houghton Road is an icy corridor, where wild imaginings of ghosts accompany every chill, and the sky is dark and white, all at the same time.
This’ll fill that inevitable gap between your warm winter jumper and your snuggly cowl, will keep your delicate amnd rather beautiful neck warm.
And it’s very stylish.
The lovely and most talented Kirsten Johnson made Seven Circles – a completely different construction method. This is a curtsey to Kirsten, a humble nod to her phenomenal design skills. Please do make them both. I will.