When I was designing and knitting my Nympheas scarf I decided that I wanted it to be as versatile as possible. The yarn was warm enough to keep off the chills but the pattern had enough drape and was lacy enough to make it a perfect summer knit, too. I wanted the knitting to act both as a casual scarf and an elegant stole, and decided that I needed a shawl pin.
I have never owned a shawl pin, and they are too expensive for me to want to purchase one, but this blog isn’t called Eskimimi Makes for no reason.
So, out came some scraps of polymer clay, and this shawl pin was born.
To make your own you will need small amounts (¹⁄₈ to ¹⁄₄ blocks) of polymer clay in three or four colours and a small stick with a tapered (but not sharp) end. A spare 3-4mm Bamboo or wooden DPN would be fantastic for this, or a piece of thin dowel sanded to a rounded point would suffice.
Note: I didn’t actually have a DPN or similar item available nearby, so will pick up something from the hardware store. I have made a makeshift ‘stick’ out of polymer clay, which works well enough for the purposes of taking the shawl photos, but might not be sturdy enough for everyday use.
I chose four colours for my shawl pin, to match the colours of my yarn. A beige colour, a light pistachio, pearlescent blue and gold, but choose whatever colours please you. Roll each of the colours into ‘logs’ of polymer clay. If you have larger quantities of some colours, split the polymer clay into two and roll multiple logs of those colours. The important thing is to keep them all the same length. Diameter is not important.
- Press the pieces of clay together, and begin to gently squeeze them to form one single log of colour – try to keep each of the colours visible on the outside.
- Begin to roll this log gently, so the clays begin to blend together.
- After a little while you may realise that you loose sight of some of the colours. Take a sharp craft knife and slice down the length of your clay to reveal the marbling inside. Press the rounded ‘outside’ edges of clay to each other to form a new log with the marbling in the outside, fold in half lengthways and roll into a fatter ‘sausage shape.
- Press this sausage shape into a ball of clay.
- Roll clay along the ‘grain’ of your marbling until it is 2.5mm thick.
- Draw your desired shape for your finished shawl pin onto a piece of paper and cut out. Aim for a shape that is about 6-7cm long for a shawl pin meant to hold a fingering weight shawl. You may wish to make a larger pin for heavier/bulkier shawls and scarves. I decided on a shape similar to a guitar plectrum – I didn’t plan it that way, it was just what I happened to cut, but you could go for a circle, oval, or something else all together.
- Place your paper template onto your clay and cut around it with your craft knife.
- Use a finger to run around the edges, smoothing out any knife marks and rounding the edges for a nice finish
- Cut a hole in the centre of your shawl pin. It should be between 4-5 cm long. I shaped mine into an oval, but you could choose a circle or other similar shape.
- You may also wish to make matching finials for the ‘pin’ of your shawl pin. Small pieces of your marbled clay will set the finished item off lovely. Press clay around the end of your wooden stick/DPN and shape as desired. I used a stick of clay but it is recommended that you find something a bit sturdier (see note above)
- Use a toilet roll inner tube to bake your clay on. This will give it the necessary curve whilst hardening. I wanted a slightly tighter curve than the cardboard tube allowed, so I cut a slit down the length and rolled it a little tighter using two small clothes pegs to keep it in place. I also rubbed a little pearlescent mica powder on the surface of the pin at this point, to give the finished item an extra little effect. Bake clay according to manufacturers instructions and leave to cool before wearing. Varnish if desired.