I thought I would try doing Viking Knit again. It has been a while since I did this technique. I had forgotten how easy it is to do while watching television. I even was able to do it while attending my local jewellery making group, where we chat, eat cake and put the world to rights.
My plan was to make a necklace with a Viking Knit based pendant. Things did not go to plan, however, more on this later. I use traditional wooden tools to create my Viking Knit, I like to think that that is how it would have been made when the technique began. It has been dated to the 8th century AD, mainly as that was when the wire was able to be made. At this point, it was flexible enough to go through draw plates. Another name for it is Trichinopoly weave. Before that there is a technique called ‘loop in loop’, but this was using soldered pieces of metal. It looks similar but is not ‘Viking Knit’.
When adding a piece of wire onto the Viking Knit I accidentally over twisted it, and the wire snapped off. I did not know what to do, as I had already spent a long time on the piece already. I decided to add in the wire by holding onto the end of it and just start weaving. It seemed to work, the weave joint looked the same. I thought that all I needed to do was cut it and put it in the middle of the weave later on. I carried on, and luckily all my other joins worked.
Then I decided to draw the Viking Knit, and that’s when the problem became obvious. The cut wire that I had put inside was now on the outside, and the weave joint was very unstable. The more I put it through the draw plate the bigger the hole became. I realised that I had better separate the weave there before it fell apart and ruined more of it.
When using the draw plates, I tend to pull the Viking Knit through them at least twice through each hole. Sometimes it needs a 3rd pull if you still feel resistance when pulling it. To create the necklace I used both of my draw plates to create the right look. Luckily it was still long enough to create a necklace.
The remainder piece that I cut off because of my mistake I put through the draw plate just to see if I could make anything with it. I went down to the last column. It started to look like it was bracelet length. Every time I went down a hole in the draw plate I checked the length of the Viking knit against my wrist until it fitted nicely.
I used a wire inside the Viking knit for the necklace. Warning: threading the wire can be problematic and requires a lot of patience. On the bright side, it does give the necklace some structure. Then I finished the necklace with the traditional way of ending a Viking knit. The bracelet was very delicate, and I wanted to try something different with the fastening. Ribbon ends were the answer, surprisingly, they hold the wires in place.
So the lesson here is, don’t over twist your wire when joining it into Viking Knit. And don’t panic if you do, as it still may turn out ok. That mistake forced me to draw the Viking Knit through the draw plate more times than I would ordinarily do. This meant that I was able to create a beautiful delicate bracelet.