Make Your Own Viking Knit Tool

To start Viking Knit the conventional way, one generally fashions a

Flower

Five or Six-leafed petal out of wire

Flower2

secures it to the top of a dowel, and then starts the weave from there.   I decided to try making a tool to make the process a little easier.  I am posting this because some people might find it helpful.

Screws

I took a wooden dowel about 3/4 inch thick and drew a six slice pie on the top with a Sharpie marker.  I continued those lines down the sides of the dowel mandrel using a ruler to draw them straight.  These are guide lines for the Viking Knit.

 

TopView

I used a rotary tool like a Dremel to drill pilot holes for small screws.  I screwed the screws into the mandrel by hand.  You have to go slowly because it’s easy to split the wood.  Don’t use a hammer.

Starting Loops

 

This picture shows how I loop the beginning wire off of which I will work the Viking Knit.  I have used a bit of tape to secure it.  You could also hold it in place with a band of wire under the screws.  Since this part will be cut off, it doesn’t matter what it looks like so long as you are comfortable with it and it works.

 

 

First Row

 

This  is the start of the weave.

 

8Rows

The lines help you to keep your rows straight.

IMG_8009

 

This is the single weave knit that I’ve removed from the dowel after cutting off the starting loops.  (This is 24 gauge copper wire)  I have another dowel the same size as the starter tool I made and I could slip the open weave onto that and keep weaving for a longer chain.  That would help me to keep a uniform shape.  There are those who would be able to do this without the dowel, but I am not one of them!

Length before Reduction

 

I made about 10 inches of weave and pulled it through the drawplate until it was about  18 inches long

Pliers

 

I recommend using wire drawing pliers because it makes the job so much easier.  They don’t have to be expensive.  

You could put end caps and  a clasp Viking Knit at this point.  Here’s a video that shows how to do that.

 

But you don’t have to be limited  to end caps and clasps.  Next week I will post on a new idea for designing and finishing single knit Viking Weave that I hope gets your creative juices flowing.

Viking Masters of the Metal Arts

If you are ever in Copenhagen,  be sure to make a trip to the National Museum of Denmark to see the Viking Jewelry Exhibit.  It is an outstanding collection the likes of which you are not likely to see anywhere else in the world.  I was lucky enough to go there recently  and I would like to share some pictures with you.

Helmet

First some background: We think of Vikings as raiders and pirates.  Actually most  of them were farmers who  went on raids during the intervals between the sowing and harvest seasons.  They went  for booty and the status the plundered wealth gave them.  But raiding and pillaging was a young man’s past time.  When they got older, Viking men were expected to settle down and raise a  family.

Vikings were master craftsmen and worked in metal, stone and wood.  I imagine a lot of the gold they used and prized came from raiding  expeditions but gold was traded as well.    Jewelry like brooches served a utilitarian purpose.  Jewelry was also a mark of wealth and prestige and wearing the gold was the best way to keep an eye on it, although a number of hoards were buried.   Some jewelry was believed to afford the wearer protection or luck and a few very wealthy individuals had jewelry made to be buried with them.  Other jewelry was buried as part of a sacrificial ritual.  Every now and then a cache of gold jewelry is found preserved in a bog.

     Amber

The Scandinavians and their ancestors started collecting amber in the stone age, mostly on the coast of Jutland which is the western peninsula of Denmark.  That’s amber in the above picture.  Most of the amber I saw was dark and I heard that some of the chunks that have been found weigh over 15 pounds.

Armbands

Armbands3

LIL

I didn’t see a lot of silver jewelry; most of it was gold, amber and bronze.  The piece above looks to be a loop in loop chain.

Torque

Viking Knit copy

Oddly enough, I didn’t see much of the so-called Viking Knit although the above picture appears to be an example.

Here are some more pictures.

 

To see a list of museums with permanent Viking exhibitions, press here. 

In the spirit of Viking Jewelry,  I plan to post another tutorial in the next few weeks as a follow up to Viking Knit Unraveled and Revealed.

I believe that I have come up with a comprehensible explanation of  the double weave and can illustrate it clearly.  Plus I will give directions for a DIY tool that makes it easier to begin the Viking Knit.  Stay tuned!