St. Patrick’s Day tends to be a widely celebrated “mini holiday” regardless of whether or not you’re Irish, as is perfectly acceptable, since it is a saint’s feast day and not so much a national holiday. Intricate Celtic knots are a more beautiful, history-laden way to dip into Irish heritage than the usual beer and leprechauns.
There are lots of Celtic knot designs, all with different significances and interpretations. One of the most popular, the trinity knot, is speculated to have meant earth, air, and water to the pagan Celtics. When Christianity took over Ireland, though, it came to symbolize the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.) Some say the symbol originated with the Christians, but at any rate, it has always represented three interconnected essential pieces of life, both spiritual and physical.
The trinity knot is far simpler than its intricate image portrays. Two separate pieces of wire are formed and connected, and what you use yours for is completely up to you – small knots look lovely and delicate for jewelry (such as for the earrings below) and larger knots can be hung from fishing line or clear string for window hangings.
The knots featured here used 20-gauge wire, though slightly heavier wire (18 or 16 gauge) is sturdier for non-jewelry related projects. Many different colors of wire are available at the craft store aside from the typical silver – gold, rose gold, green, purple, pink, blue and more are all available.
The knots you make in this project for the earrings are about one inch in diameter, perhaps slightly larger. The ratio of the wire is always the same (2:1). If you want bigger knots, make the trinity from a 12-inch piece of wire, then make the inner circle from six inches of wire.
The knots are not difficult to make but do take a bit of practice. You’ll probably get your first one or two attempts wrong before really getting the hang of it, but once you understand how they’re made, it will become intuitive. The steps are exactly essential to follow, and it might help to look at a picture of the knot, so you know where the points, twists and circles connect.
Needle-nosed pliers are essential for getting the three points just right and also make wire work far easier in general. Tractor Supply, Lowe’s and Michael’s Crafts all sell affordable pairs.
Beads can be added for a more sparkly effect – hanging a teardrop shaped bead in the middle with some fine thread is a lovely way to add subtle glamour.
6 inches 20-gauge wire
3 inches 20-gauge wire
Make a circle with the six-inch piece of wire. Do not join ends. Mentally, look at the wire and divide it into thirds. Use pliers to make two bends in the wire where the two joins are for the thirds.
Bend one end of the wire up into the middle, making a sort of oval or teardrop shape. Repeat on the other side – you’ll have two about equally sized wire loops. Use pliers to crease a good point into the tips of the two ovals. Twist the top two wire ends together – you now have three roughly equal teardrop shapes.
Next, use the three-inch piece of wire to make another open-ended circle. Weave the circle through the trinity using an in-and-out over-and-under motion to weave the circle into the middle of the trinity. Use pliers to push the ends together as close as possible to close the circle. Attach earring hooks and embellish with beads, if desired.
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