The other day, while showing off a couple of felted scarves on facebook, someone showed me a nice pin that she'd made with her own lampwork beads, which got me thinking about the different types of pins I make with my beads and why.
First is the fibula pin, which your leg bone was named after, not the other way around (or so I've been told). Mine are made on 16 gauge brass wire, which is pretty thick~ so that it won't bend out of shape easily when used. Brass is nice because it doesn't patina like copper and it is cost effective. Because these pin wires are so thick, they should really only be used on loosely woven things like shawls or sweaters. Otherwise they might make big old holes in your lovely scarf! Fibula pins are rather time consuming and tetchy, so I've come up with two different options.
Next came the fork, which can also be used to hold hair back (mine works best when put in while my hair is still wet~ I have the thin, slippery kind of hair, so it will slide a bit as the day progresses otherwise). I was happy to find that these had two good uses. They are also quite thick as they are made on 14 gauge brass wire. So, again good for loosely woven items.
Then came the simple bent stick. Really cool because it is so simple and it works quite nicely! This is very similar to the hair stick option, but with just one wire to thread through the shawl. Another 14 gauge choice, so still not great for a scarf.
Once I started making felted scarves, I got serious about stick pins again. The pin part of these is quite slender and, after searching high and low, I found some hat pin blanks in stainless steel that were nice and strong. The bits and pieces to put these together come from about 4 different companies~ yikes! I find it easiest to insert the stick pin in and just leave it there, putting the scarf on and off over my head.