Viking Knit Envy
Last weekend I took a break from my beads and tried my hand at Viking Knit, a type of wirework that creates beautiful wire cords that you can fashion into bracelets and necklaces. For months, I've been admiring some Viking knit bracelets the same way I admire a wonderful painting: Wow, I wish I could do that.
I had a thousand reasons why I couldn't–it looked complicated, it would take days or weeks to learn, it would probably require a bunch of new, expensive tools I couldn't afford, or worse, knitting needles, which I already had difficulty using with soft, pliable yarn.
But when I finally decided to read the section on Viking Knit in Knitting with Wire by Nancy Wiseman and watch the Viking Knit DVD by Step by Step Wire Jewelry editor Denise Peck, I discovered I couldn't have been more wrong. The basic technique was fairly simple and quick to learn, the tools were ones I already had (or could make), and no knitting needles were required! I'm no expert after my brief exploration, but with some practice, I feel that could make something as beautiful as the Trichinopoly Chainwork necklace by Kathleen Pierce. It's an exciting feeling!
What I Learned
Here's what I learned about Viking Knit:
• Nancie Wiseman in Knitting with Wire recommends using an Allen wrench (also known as a hex wrench) because the angles make it easier to insert the wire under a stitch. I learned that this can't be any old wrench–it needs to be open at both ends (not anchored to a carrying case) and have some length. The tiny, fold-out, pocket wrench you use to repair your bike won't work!
• Don't worry if your first attempt isn't perfect–pulling the wire through the drawplate (a piece of wood with holes drilled in it) compresses it and covers a multitude of sins. Think of the drawplate as a girdle for wire knitting.
• One early problem I had was consistent tension–my stitches were loose and uneven. When I watched Denise Peck in the Viking Knit DVD, I noticed that after she made a stitch, she put her thumb firmly over it, holding it in place while she made the second stitch. Problem solved!
Want to learn Viking Knit yourself? Your best bet is either the Viking Knit DVD or the book Knitting with Wire by Nancie Wiseman, depending upon your personal learning style. If you want someone to walk you through the steps and see hand positions and movements, then buy the Viking Knit DVD. If you prefer written instructions and illustrations (or also want to learn hand and machine wire knitting), then order the Knitting with Wire book.
If you already know Viking Knit, you'll enjoy this free article from Step by Step Wire Jewelry with lots of ideas on how to finish your Viking Knit project. In addition to showing you how finish the ends with cones or coiled end caps, the author offers ideas on how to create a dreamcatcher and cover a focal bead.
New Free Project
The Perfect Finish: Tips and Tricks to Finish Viking Knit
A follow up to her Trichinopoly Chainwork tutorial in the winter 2009 issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry, Kathleen shows us unique ways to embellish and finish Viking Knit. Instructions assume working knowledge of Viking Knit. This project will be free for a limited time.
Making Wire Jewelry: 6 Free Wire Designs from Beading Daily
Create 6 stunning wire jewelry projects (2 wire necklaces, a wire bracelet, 2 pairs of wire earrings, and a wire ring) with this free eBook that contains step by step wire jewelry instructions for each project. Jewelry designs range in difficulty from beginner to intermediate and use a variety of wire work techniques, including spirals, coiling, wirewrapping, hammering, and twisting wire. Download Making Wire Jewelry: 6 Free Wire Designs from Beading Daily
Michelle Mach shares free projects every Friday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website.