Viking knit is one of those things that I always admired but never figured that I'd be able to do. My first attempts to learn Viking knit were pretty much disastrous – being a primarily self-taught beadweaver, I figured I'd be able to learn Viking knit from a book. Right? Wrong. I didn't have any of the proper tools, and I found myself so frustrated that I finally chucked all the wire into a drawer.
My first uneven attempt at Viking knit using my new kit!
A good friend of mine, who shall remain nameless but knows who she is, called me from Florida last summer and was raving about this new technique she learned – Viking knit. She promised to teach me when she came home, but of course, schedules and family and other things prevented us from getting together before she went back to Florida.
Cleaning out my bead stash during an office move, I came across these amazing vintage glass cabochons that I'd beaded several years ago. My first idea for the design had been to suspend them on a Viking knit chain, but when that idea didn't work out, I put them aside. Finding them in the bottom of the drawer I was cleaning made me think again about trying to learn Viking knit. A class seemed like a good idea, but since I live in a very rural part of upstate New York, that didn't seem practical.
A quick web search led me to a Viking knit kit that was linked to a video on YouTube. I watched the video, and then ordered the kit. The kit arrived, and I set aside some time on the weekend to once again try and learn Viking knit. To my amazement, it took me all of ten minutes to figure out how to do Viking knit! Sure, my first attempts weren't perfect, but after a couple of rows, I felt comfortable manipulating the wire and starting new wires when I ran out.
Pulling the Viking knit through that draw plate was magic!
Having the short attention span that I do, I only completed about two inches of Viking knit before I removed it from the dowel and ran it through the drawplate. That wonderful little drawplate smoothed out all of the rough patches and uneven stitches that had worried me as I was working. Running my fingers over the finished and smooth piece of Viking knit was truly a wonderful tactile experience.
So, being inspired by my new skill wire working, I decided to contact Step by Step Wire Jewelry editor Denise Peck for a little Q&A about Viking knit:
Denise Peck is the editor of Step by Step Wire Jewelry
Q: What is the best way to learn Viking knit?
A: You know, I learned the technique in a class, and I think it's one of those things you're best learning from seeing. I have heard from some readers that they had an impossible time learning it from a book. If you can't find a class on it, I've made a DVD on learning Viking knit. People tell me they have learned well from it! Always nice to hear!
Q: Do you have any helpful tips for working Viking knit?
A: I can't do Viking knit without a large embroidery needle nearby. I use it all the time to tug the knitting away from the dowel when it gets too tight to slip my wire through.
Q: Do you have any unusual project ideas for using Viking knit or ideas for using your short scraps of leftover Viking knit chain?
A: I often make a very long piece of knitting and cut it into shorter lengths for various purposes. I love that you can cut Viking knit with no fear of it unraveling. I have used short pieces for the center of a bracelet, with chain on either side. And I always find a beautiful big-hole bead to slip over the short piece of knitting, for interest!
So even if you don't think that wire jewelry making is exactly your cup of tea, take a look at all the fabulous stuff you can make with a Viking knit chain! Viking knit makes beautiful chains to add to your favorite beadwoven projects, and I can highly recommend it – it's almost as relaxing as making beaded ropes!