Thursday, October 27, 2011

Viking Knit Tutorial

Today I wanted to share with you a quick ‘how to’ for making Viking Knit ‘chain’.

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Viking Knit is an ancient technique which dates back to … you got it … the Vikings :), and once you get the hang of it, is super easy, requires little equipment (you’ll find the two main items in your house), and looks STUNNING.

You will need:
  • a ruler, or piece of cardboard, or credit card,
  • a pencil or piece of wooden dowel,
  • wire – the higher the gauge the finer and more flexible the finished piece will be.  I recommend starting with 24g for the starter base and 26 or 28g for the actual piece,
  • and a wooden draw plate – a piece of wood with several holes of varying sizes drilled in is all you need.
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  1. Using some scrap wire, wrap 5 – 6 times around your piece of cardboard or ruler (I recommend 6 when you’re starting for a really nice tight knit.
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  2. Wrap one of the ends around to make a ‘bunch’
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  3. Spread the ‘prongs’ out.
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  4. Arrange on the end on your pencil.  It’s a good idea to use a pencil with hexagonal sides when you’re starting out as the ridges can act as your guide.  Alternatively you could draw lines down your pencil/dowel.
  5. Use a small piece of tape to hold everything in place.
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  6. Loop your piece of base wire through a loop of a prong.
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  7. Continue around the pencil/dowel taking your working wire to the right, through each prong loop and back over your made loop.
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  8. On your next row work your wire behind the loop of the 1st row.
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  9. Continue until you have several rows completed
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  10. OK, you’re ready to start with your ‘good’ wire, work in as you did to start the base
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  11. Keep working your rows until you have the length you want (remembering that it will get longer when you stretch it through the draw plate – it can double depending on how much you want to stretch it).  For this tutorial, I have just done a small length.  *Tip* – start pulling your work off the pencil as it gets longer.  This will help you at the end as a long length of tube can be impossible to pull off the pencil/dowel if you haven’t!
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  12. When done, pull your work completely off the pencil/dowel and use your cutters to snip the 1st row of ‘base’ off your working piece.  Thread a piece of scrap wire through the loops to use as a handle to pull your work through the draw plate.
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  13. Starting with the largest hole, pull your work through the plate.
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  14. Progress through the holes until you have the look you want.
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  15. Walah!  You’re done and can now finish your tube with cord ends etc to make a necklace or bracelet.   Don’t forget you can use your copper wire base to make more tubes and won’t need to make another one until you’ve cut off all the rows!
  16. Try using different colour wire (good quality to ensure the plating doesn’t come off when you’re drawing it down) and different wire gauges to get different looks.
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  17. *Tip* There are fancy shmancy viking knit tools available which negate the need for making a base.  I have never used one so I can’t recommend, BUT, I do sometimes use the bottom of a snap dome blu-tacked to the top of my pencil/dowel instead of a wire ‘bunch’ and copper base.  Something you could try as you become more experienced .
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I’d love to know if you use this tutorial and see your work – do drop me a line at mel@wildflowerdesigns.co.nz

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UPDATE:  2 April 2013  ... hi guys, here's something to try when you master single viking knit ... double knit and varieagated knit  .... http://wildflowerdesignsnz.blogspot.co.nz/2013/04/viking-knit-tutorial-variations-double.html

Mel x

23 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tutorial. I've played with Viking knitting a while back but have been meaning to give it another go and you've just spurred me on.

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  2. Oh excellent Jacqui - let me know how you get on :)

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  3. Thank you for the tutorial :) I've crocheted wire and french knitted it, but this will be a new challenge for me.

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  4. Yay Deb - look forward to seeing what you create :)

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  5. What an intricate thing to do! Heavens above, I think I'll leave the creating to you on this one Mel! Thank you for posting such an informative and interesting tutorial with great explanatory photos! Hands down to you.:)

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  6. It does look intricate Louise, but it really is super easy, and the more you do it the quicker you get! Bookbinding on the other hand ... now that's intricate - hats off to you too ;D

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  7. Thanks for the tutorial Mel, am going to bookmark this for sure! Really great post with very clear photos and explanation... I have ideas for a viking type sister.

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  8. Thanks Mel, this looks like something I could have a go at and the instructions & photos are really clear :)

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  9. I like the idea of using the snap on the end of the rod. It looks like the Lazee Daisy rod you have to pay $25. I will definitely give this a try. Thanks for the tute. Really simple to follow.

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  10. Wonderful ! Thank you so much. I have totally completed a full length of Viking knit ( an entire spool of wire ). I am so proud of myself.I can't believe that I actually did it. Now i have to wait for my Draw Plate to arrive. it won't get here for at least 2 weeks. waaaaa. I wish i knew someone who could drill holes for me in a piece of wood. Oh well. I will just have to wait.
    Big hugs and love, joey

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    1. Oh Yay Joey - that's awesome! But how frustrating you have to wait for your draw plate to arrive. Before I had mine I used a cupboard door that was missing a handle so I could use that hole but I wouldn't recommend it as you really need to start at the largest hole on the draw plate and gradually decrease down!
      I would love to see your finished item - please feel welcome to email me a pic - mel@wildflowerdesigns.co.nz
      Best regards,
      Mel

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  11. Can u use a knitting needle gauge ruler as a draw plate?

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  12. Hi Alexius, I wouldn't if it was a metal one. If wooden then maybe but be prepared for the wire to change the shape of your holes over time if it is a soft wood.

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  13. Love the snap dome thing! very clever! great tutorial too!

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    1. Hi Charlotte - thank you for the feedback, much appreciated :) Mel

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  14. thanks for the tutorial but I have a question what steps do the holes in the draw plate have, I need to make my own cause I'm on a buget so tell me how big the holes are.

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    1. Hi Ellen, I've been trying to find the measurements on-line but am not having much success! My one is a Beadsmith brand and it has 12 holes which apparently range from 1-7mm. Because mine is well used it's not going to be very accurate if I measure them but I guess they must go up in 1/2 mm increments. Hope that helps!

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  15. Nice and clear instructions,thanks

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  16. how do you know how much wire to use for a project? Is there a guidline to follow? I would like to learn how to do this. I would like to try a wrap around bracelet in copper or brass at first of course. Can you work from a spool?

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    1. Hi Meishie, it's a great idea to use a base metal while you practice! You can't work directly from a spool as you are bringing your whole length of wire through each loop. I usually work with a maximum length that stretches from one hand outstretched from my side to the other (about 1.8metres)so I don't get in a tangle with too longer length! Then when that runs out I just cut another of the same size and add that.

      It's hard to give a guideline of how much wire to use for a project as it depends on your tension of knit, the size dowel/pencil (whatever) you are using, how many loops you start with (most 5 or 6 gives a nice look) and how much you will be drawing the finished chain down.

      As a rough guide, you can expect a 23 cm chain to draw down to 46cm (9inch to 18inch). But how much wire you will use to get that 23cm depends on the items mentioned above. I recommend keeping notes of measurements as you practice so you build reference based on your specific knit.

      Let me know how you go :-)

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  17. I Love to learn something new. great

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  18. THANK YOU!! This is the BEST tutorial I have ever seen. Your designs are awesome. I have tried that daizy knitter and I could never figure it out from the instructions. But, I just happened across your tutorial one day and I sat down and in less than TEN MINUTES had a 20inch long weave going. THANK YOU!!! I have been wanting to learn this for the longest time. I caught the metal weaving bug when I learned to make chainmaille designs eight years ago and have seen some amazing viking knit pieces, but had never found a good tutorial. This was so simple and inexpensive with common household items. This is just too awesome for words.

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    1. Hi Renee, I'm so pleased you've found my tutorial useful - I always think the simplest things are the best and you shouldn't have to go out and buy expensive tools to create! Thanks so much for your feedback.
      Mel :-)

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