About Jewelry Chain: Viking Knit Chain and I Cord Chain

By on October 31, 2012
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by Rose Marion, Wire-Sculpture.com

Wire Jewelry Idea for
October 31, 2012

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What’s Viking Knit Chain?

Viking knit and Spool knit chain are two types of jewelry chain you can make at home! Viking knit chain is a bit of a weave, created by guiding fine-gauge wire through previously-made loops. Spool knit chain looks similar, but is slightly different, coaxing the wire into interlocking loops. Both types of chain can be made from just 1 continuous piece of wire, then guided through a drawplate to stretch and even out the stitches, resulting in a long, narrow chain.

Both of these chains have been traced back through history thousands of years; Viking knit got its name from being found in graves in Scandanavia – some fragments suggest to archaeologists that Vikings and other cultures in ancient Europe would cut this chain into segments and use it as currency!

You’ll want to use a wooden drawplate for this. Metal drawplates are for drawing down individual pieces of wire, so they’re too small to use for reducing chain. A wooden draw plate will gently coax your wire chain into longer and narrower segments while allowing the wire to glide past.

Albina Manning taught us how to make Viking Knit Chain in her DVD. You’ll get to see every step as she makes her own tools, creates the stitch, joins wire, draws the chain through a wooden drawplate, and finishes the chain with a clasp. Click here to check out the DVD.

What knitters call I-cord is also called spool knitting, or using a knitting nancy or knitting spool. This ultimately gives a similar effect as Viking Knit, but uses a different method. Instead of feeding the wire through existing loops like in Viking Knit, the wire is wound around (typically) 4 pegs. These pegs hold loops of wire, and as more wire is wound around the pegs, you lift up the loop, slide it over the new wire, and off the peg, joining the chain. This makes a real knit stitch, as if you’d made it on double-pointed needles (but much less fiddly). This chain doesn’t usually have the even, sleek stitches that Viking Knit has, and can take longer because of having to pass the loops over.

Both styles of chain can easily be embellished by sliding beads onto the wire. With spool knitting, be sure to slide them on ahead of time, because the end of your wire disappears into the chain!

You can make your own spool with a piece of wood with a hole drilled in it and cotter pins, or I’m sure you can find a knitting nancy tool at different stores. Here’s a demonstration, using yarn, of how to set the tool up. You’ll use wire the same way as yarn!

To finish the chain, the best way seems to be to cover the end with a cone bead, sliding the cone over any remaining wire, and make a wrapped loop after the cone bead to lock it in place. Then attach the clasps of your choice.

This is similar to making a wire chain with crochet.

wire crochet necklace by Lorry Norton

Lorry Norton created this wire crochet necklace for her daughter, Amanda, to wear at Lorry’s youngest daughter’s wedding.

Hit a lull in your chain making? Try using 2 strands of 30-gauge wire instead of one strand of 26 or 28. Try different colors, too!

Pictures of "Knit" Chain

Viking Knit Jewelry Chain Examples

Albina Manning’s gold filled Viking Knit chain, top; Stephanie Eddy’s copper Viking Knit chain, bottom

Viking knit chain diagram

Knit chain can look very different before and after going through a draw plate!

Hint: You can click the above picture and right-click > Save to save it to your computer, or click on it and Print. There will be more diagrams coming!

Next week, we’ll talk about Figaro chain. See you then!

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  1. avatar

    Edilberto Durano

    October 31, 2012 at 12:49 am

    The video was pretty instructive. The designs are totally amazing. Kudos to the minds behind this!

  2. avatar

    Lorry Norton

    October 31, 2012 at 8:36 am

    The video on spool knitting looks so cool! Especially if it is done with wire. I am going to try to do this!!! What a great idea. I wire crochet and it’s so easy. I’ve got to try this one! Thanks for the video!

  3. avatar

    Rose Barden

    November 29, 2012 at 6:32 am

    Good Moring,

    The Viking Knit Stitch, I have done this technique, and it is an addiction, almost in most item I create has this technique in it.

    But, I just wanted to let you know that it is a joy to have run across this technique, can you tell I love it!

    Just want the share!

    Rose Barden
    Keeping it Twisted
    Riverview, FL