Viking Wire Knitting

Viking wire knitting is a wire working technique used by the Norse and Anglo-Saxon peoples of Europe to create wire rope for jewelry and other decorations. One of the oldest items found to date showing the use of Viking wire knitting in Norse culture is a silver scourge dating from the ninth century (see picture below from the British Museum).
Viking wire knitting, British Museum, silver scourge

These days, there are commercially made tools for Viking wire knitting; however, I use hard wood dowels (as mandrels) and my own wire frames. The picture below shows how a length of Viking wire knitting begins.

Viking wire knitting, how to, tools

By adding or decreasing stitches, almost any object can be captured by Viking wire knitting. For example, the picture (below left) shows a beach rock covered in Viking wire knitting going in two different directions.  In this example, I embellished the top of the knitting with red jasper beads. The rope or chain produced by Viking wire knitting is flexible and hollow which lends itself well to other design possibilities, such as in the penannular style brooch (center below) and the bracelet (right below).

Viking wire knitting can also be used to create settings for cabochons.  The short video below shows the basic technique for Viking wire knitting.  For more detail on this technique and how to use it check out The Purple Raven Boutique's YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZNh0y3Wp1c7WCw9A-JXLWw

Viking wire knitting is a versatile technique that relies on the maker's hand far more than sophisticated tools.  Just as knitting only requires yarn and two needles to get started, Viking wire knitting can be undertaken with some wire and a dowel.   I was a knitter long before I ever made a piece of jewelry and take great satisfaction in using fiber techniques such as knitting and weaving in my wire work.  Knitting takes practice and your technique will evolve over time.  If you are curious about how mine evolved, take a look at this blog post.  http://www.thepurpleravenboutique.com/apps/blog/show/43476918-the-evolution-of-a-viking-wire-knitter