"Yael, Which wires do you recommend for wire crochet in the ISK technique ? "
This is a question I frequently hear, and although the answer is on each and everyone of my tutorials, it is worthy of a detailed post of its own here on the blog, plus its a chance for you to add your 2 cents.
My most general recommendation is to work with the very soft wires, a common definition used is "dead soft" , this means the wires are the softest they can be depending on their material. Wires that are heated become super and easy to work with, if they are hard, it is both hard on your fingers when crocheting, and tend to break when bent.
As I previously mentioned different materials have different characters, here is a list of the materials you can choose working with.
Copper - copper is the perfect natural companion when wire crocheting as it is naturally soft, the downside with copper is that in its original finish it will tarnish and change color from nice & shiny into dull mat brown. This is why either I recommend to either pick non tarnish copper wire that was treated to keep its look or colored coated copper, the later has an additional layer of finish over the copper. The quality of the plating should be examined carefully, there are all sort of qualities there. In this spectrum you would also find wires that are simply coated with color and others that in order to achieve certain shades have in addition a layer of silver, I was explained by the wires producer that to achieve a nice and rich gold shade they use 3 layers, copper + silver + gold.
Note that not all colored looking wires are copper inside, some would be brass, which is harder to manipulate and less recommended when crocheting with wire.
Brass - Brass is naturally harder than copper and therefore not as easy to work with as copper, it has the same problem when it comes I its natural finish , it will too , turn from shiny gold to dull brown due to oxidization.
Niobium - Niobium is an interesting option to work with, it is more expensive then coated copper wires and more durable but has a smaller spectrum of colors. I haven't personally tried it (yet... ) but a few of my students have and they report it is great. one of its beauties is that its available in a a muticolor roll, no need to switch wires to switch colors !
Silver – when talking about silver, there are 2 options I find best match the requirement of IKS . The first is fine silver - 999, it is very soft white and delicate, I prefer it for flat designs or when there is a stern to hold its shape .The other is dead soft sterling silver 925, which is good for items that need more body, like tube necklaces or rings, it tarnishes quicker than 999 wire and is slightly more grayish. if you go wiht sterling silver, makes sure it is dead soft and has been heated evenly, otherwise it wont function that well when wire crocheting.
Gold filled – for a golden finish with economic costs gold filled is your choice, gold filled wires have a nice gold look and are less likely to change color due to oxidization like plated wires. it comes in various qualities and color finishes, in yellow gold and a bit harder to find rose gold filled , gold filed is available in 14/20 or 12/20 which means it has outer layer of wither 12k gold or 14k gold.
Gold – last but not least ,solid gold, when working in gold its important to remember it needs to be soft, therefor the recommended gold would be 18k and up, and not less, believe me... I tried 14k and it was no good.
Other - YES! ... there always others too ..... found any interesting ones that you feel like sharing? the stage it yours... post below !
Yael aka Yoola