Viking Knitting, a Jewelry Making Technique

Posted by on Mar 15, 2013 in Jewelry Making, Knitting | Comments


I’ll admit, when I first heard about Viking knitting, I thought it referred to either knitting Viking-like hats, or to Vikings actually knitting. Color me surprised to find out that this is a jewelry wirework technique used to knit wire and make cords. Here, I’ll explain to you what Viking knitting is, where it came from and even share some tutorials on Craftsy to help you create your own items with the unique Viking knitting technique. Let’s dig in!

Viking Knit Neclace

Viking Knitting dates all the way back to, well, the Vikings. Handmade chains were found in Viking treasure troves in Scandinavia. Made from melted down coins turned into fine wire, these chains were formed using a loop in loop technique. Basically the Vikings literally wore their treasure!

Tools for Viking Knitting

There are a few tools needed to recreate this ancient method of knitting. First you will need some craft wire, the thinner the better to make it more pliable. Try starting off with cheap 26 gauge craft wire to perfect your skills and then move up to gorgeous thin copper or sterling silver.

Shaping

Next you must have something to shape your cord. Some use a metal knitting needle, others use an allen wrench or even just a pencil. You will also need tape and a drawplate, which is a metal or wood block with various sized holes that you will use to draw your chain through, to properly shape it. You can also try using a simple knitting needle gauge plate.

Vanilla Bead has a great pattern and tutorial here to show you how to use this technique with over 40 illustrations and 25 pages of step-by-step instructions. It’s a steal at only $5.

Viking Knitting Bracelet

Member BeadedJewelry also has a lovely tutorial on this complex craft. She has created an ebook that will help you to determine how much wire is needed for a project, how to make end caps, and how to put the pieces together for beautiful jewelry!

Viking Knitting - Bracelet

Or if you need a bit of inspiration before you dig in, check out some of the amazing Viking knit projects done by our very own Craftsy members! Abby Hook has a few finished projects that are stunning in copper! This 6 loop bracelet looks so intricate, yet powerful, true to the nature and design the Vikings wanted to showcase.

6 Loop Viking Knit Bracelet

Another member TjeCan has created one of the most stunning necklaces I’ve seen using the Viking knitting technique. Her copper and jade necklace is unbelievable! She also included a Danish knot and beads to complete this St. Patrick’s Day inspired look.

Viking Knit Necklace with Beads

You may be interested in trying the FREE Craftsy class Micro Torch Basics, which walks through the steps of finishing metal jewelry with a torch.

So now that you know Viking knitting doesn’t mean knitting miniature vikings, will you try your hand at this ancient craft?

Comments

  1. Rosanna Lovecchio says:

    Where can I get the drawplate and wire (presuming craft store for this) to do this technique? I absolutely love it and want to try it!

    Rosanna

    1. jenn says:

      “Michaels” store has a viking starter kit with the wooden dowel and draw plate. Located in their beads landing department. Its inexspensive to buy. I bought it and it works great!

  2. Jo-Ann Sutherland says:

    I am going to be in so much trouble ! My DEAR husband will say another PROJECT :) BEAUTIFUL

  3. Viki says:

    I just took a class locally on this a couple weeks ago and was able to make a beautiful bracelet in an afternoon. It is not as difficult as it looks.

  4. Debbie says:

    You can make a draw plate if you cannot find them in a store. Use a piece of wood, about 1/2″ thick or more. Drill multiple holes in different sizes, starting with the size of your weaving and go down.

  5. Aleis says:

    If you are really interested in doing viking knit I highly recommend you check out this tool http://www.stephanieeddy.com/id80.html
    It makes getting started with the viking knit so much easier. The kit even includes some wire to practice with and a draw plate.

  6. Bobbie Mabe says:

    i love this too,i will have to try it,i crochet and make jewelry too,i have crocheted other jewelry such as necklaces,.thanks for shring all the beautiful things.

  7. Linda says:

    These creations are absolutely stunning!! Thankyou for explaining what this technique is so well. I am very interested in learning this and might even have everything I need to get started! TY!

  8. Shana says:

    Rosanna, my husband made one for me by drilling various size holes in some ash wood. You can get premade ones from Rio Grande, Fusion Beads, Fire Mountain Gems and Rings N Things. Prices range from 6 – 18 dollars. I’ve not seen them at my local craft stores. You might also find something at Harbor Freight.

  9. Sally says:

    Rosanna, you can get a drawplate at Rio and I am sure many other places. If you have a handy woodworker in your area, they can make you one. I get my wire at Artistic Wire but Michaels, JoAnns, etc carry colored, coated wire. Google Viking Knit and you will be surprised. It is so much fun – good luck:O)

  10. Pamela Rumsey says:

    I got my tools for viking knit not too long ago at firemountaingems.com. They have good prices too.

  11. Nancy says:

    This is the funniest thing! I just found out about this technique not even 5 days ago! After watching “Vikings” on TV,,, I just did a search on all things Viking and came across Viking Knitting last week! I found this site on Etsy http://www.etsy.com/listing/102179504/viking-knit-mini-kit-with-illustrated?ref=usr_faveitems and ordered it. It came today,, but not after making a DIY one using a cooking spoon, just to get the feel for it. I ended up going to a local beading store by me 2 days ago and lo and behold,,,, they had an item I’ve seen online,,,, a complete kit,, at http://www.stephanieeddy.com/id80.html. Can we say I’ve enough “toys” to practice my Viking Knitting?

  12. Nancy says:

    PS – when practicing,, don’t go broke! I was at Walmart and while strolling thru the floral area,,,, I spied florist wire. Ok, it’s green, but about 90 yds of 26 gauge,, you get 3x more than on a spool of average wire!

  13. yvonneowendesigns says:

    Where can I order the pattern for this prodject please .

  14. Trisha says:

    I so want to try this! Glad it is March Madness maybe my hubby won’t notice me slipping it in the house. ((:

  15. Abby says:

    Great article!

    My partner and I have combined forces to produce a handmade Viking Knit kit, which includes a handmade drawplate, wire, mandrels and a detailed tutorial, here is a link to his Etsy shop:

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/Planengrain?section_id=7987459

    They are also available from my website:

    http://www.abbyhook.co.uk/jewellery-making-kits-and-tools/290404_viking-knit-chain-kit-includes-drawplate-mandrels-wire-and-tutorial.html

    This ancient craft is so much fun – but be warned – it id HIGHLY addictive ;)

  16. Terry Evans says:

    Thanks for including my necklace in your blog. Viking knit is really fun to do and once you get your tension right it is pretty quick to create some fun pieces. I love how the knit changes like magic when you put it through the draw plate!

  17. Dawn says:

    These “Viking” style bracelets are very cool! I’m going to try making one today, just hope I have the tools. Thanks!

  18. Nan says:

    I made a draw plate using a piece if 2×4.. I had one from Michaels that was plastic .. It did the job but didn’t hold up. With the 2×4 if I need a new hole I just drill it