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Ostrich/gold weave


Ostrich/gold braid 1Ostrich/gold braid 2I was unsure of how to use the 25-micron wire.  At first I tried to incorporate it into the necklace weave as a transition from the flax to the 34-gauge gold wire.  There were a few problems.  First, the wire was so fine that it was nearly invisible.  Second, the wire got tangled easily and was not particularly strong, causing it to break off often.  In short, it simply wouldn’t work in that capacity.

Then I had an ingenious idea.  I could wrap the fine wire around the ostrich herl to give it a bit of sparkle and make it look as though the ostrich-herl “straw” was turning to gold.  In my first attempt, I started the wire strands at the base of the ostrich herl and twisted a single strand around each herl from butt to tip before tying them in.  I was counting on the memory of the wire to hold it in place, but it soon became evident that the twisted wire would not cling to the ostrich herl sufficiently for a wearable fly.  After some more thought, I decided to double the wire over just shy of the “grain head” at the tip of the herl and braid it down the length of the herl (the braid being composed of two strands of wire, from having doubled it over, and one strand of ostrich herl).  The logic here was that the braid was a weave rather than a twist, and with the tag-ends of the wire being tied in with the butt of the herl, the wire would stay permanently attached to the herl.  The problem with this technique was that it was time-consuming.  Braiding with gold finer than a single strand of human hair is tedious, particularly when staring at a pile of 50 or so herls needing to be similarly prepared.  Out of necessity, I soon came up with a better solution: I would braid the first half-inch of wire with the herl, but once the gold was well secured, I would spin the strands around the herl, one strand clockwise and the other counterclockwise, before tying them in with the herl butt.  I reasoned that the opposing directions of the wraps would help them stay in place.  This strategy proved much faster and equally effective.  In the end, the herls looked so good I could scarcely believe it.  They glittered and glowed from every angle.  The straw had become gold.


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