Hämeenlinna necklace artefacts

Necklace display from Hämeenlinna

Necklace display from Hämeenlinna

In November I visited Hämeenlinna (the castle Häme in the town Hämeenlinna in Finland) and pretty much near-exclusively visited in order to see the necklace artefact that I based my A&S project on when I made a necklace inspired by it.

Quotes are taken verbatim from the display – there are some grammatical errors, but I’m just pleased that there was an English explanation to begin with!

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Alpha Officium Viking Mix coins

Replica Viking Age coins from Alpha Officium

Replica Viking Age coins from Alpha Officium

When I posted my article about my Hammenlinna-inspired Viking Knit (Trichinopoly) necklace, I mentioned that I had ordered some replica Viking Age coins from – well they arrived not too long ago! I thought I’d share them with you, though I still have some work to do with them before stringing them on my necklace.

I had ordered the coins in mid-March, though they didn’t arrive until early June unfortunately – way too late for my competition piece, but still they’ll look great. I had asked them to be punched for stringing, and they arrived without holes unfortunately, so I’ll need to figure out how to punch them myself… in a neat way that won’t snag clothing when worn as a necklace or scratch skin. Some of them are a bit rough too, so I’ll need to find some kind of file to smooth them out and polish the edges I think… I wonder if I have a Dremmel attachment that might work? Luckily I got the mix which has WAY more coins than I’ll need, so I have a bit of wiggle and experimentation room.

I thought it was a really good price though either way, especially to get a lot of coins. I’ve seen other places selling them individually or for 2 – and for a lot, this was definitely the way to go.

The mix included:

  • 25 Dirhems
  • 25 Viking York coins – “Another Cnut type penny, unusual for its cross pattern.”
  • 25 Cnut Coins
  • 25 Eric Blood Axe coins – “A ‘King’ Of Viking York. 25 pewter ‘Silver’ pennys.”
  • 25 Tenth Century Saxon coins – “Tenth century Saxon Pennys.”

Photos from the Alpha Officium website

Omayyad Dynasty Dirhem from Alpha Officium (direct link)


Viking York “penny” from Alpha Officium (direct link)

Cnut the Great, Viking King of England coin from Alpha Officium (direct link)

Eric Blood Axe coins from Alpha Officium (direct link)

10th Century Saxon coins from Alpha Officium (direct link)

… and was $50.00 US plus shipping.

 My “horde”

My own personal "hoard" of Viking Age (replica) coins from Alpha Officium

My own personal “horde” of Viking Age (replica) coins from Alpha Officium

If you have fool-proof tips on how to punch holes in my coins for my necklace -please leave your tips and ideas in the comments below!

Update: I did end up punching holes in the coins, quite successfully using a jewelers punch and a set of needle files. A lot more work than I had intended to do with them, but a nice result!

Double-knit Trichinopoly on fabric

Trichinopoly chain created directly on fabric

Trichinopoly chain created directly on fabric

In my earlier post Viking Knit on Fabric I showed off a single-knit trichinopoly chain on fabric. In that post I mentioned that I wanted to try off a smaller dowel, and double-knit to see if that improved the result. I did in fact have the chance to do that, and I wanted to share the photos with you.

“My next step after this is to use a smaller dowel, and try double-knit instead of single-knit to see if that improves the result.”

I did this with 26 gauge silver-plated copper wire, on a dowel just smaller in diameter than a pencil, on coat-weight wool (like Melton cloth).

The result is definitely more sturdy than single-knit, though I am not sure it’s quite sturdy enough to really act as protection to the edge of a fabric cuff…

Beaded Viking Knit – silver & garnets

silver-plated copper wire trichinopoly chain with garnet beads

silver-plated copper wire trichinopoly chain with garnet beads

One of the things I wanted to try when I first was learning the Viking Knit (Trichinopoly) technique was adding beads to the ‘weave’ – rather than capturing the beads within the tube that makes up the chain. I didn’t get around to it for a while; I had to find the perfect beads – super tiny garnets….

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Hameenlinna necklace – an A&S competition piece

My finished (version 2) necklace

My finished (version 3) necklace

In late March I entered (last second) the competition for A&S (Arts & Sciences) champion of Montengarde (Calgary’s SCA barony) taking place in mid-April. I figured that I’d enter my “Purse shaped like a lute” as well as some Viking Knit chain. While I was more interested in the technique than a period finished item, I figured that for judging, something that looked period (beyond the technique itself) would be a good idea. I ended up taking some of the chain I had already made (silver-plated copper double-knit) and had not yet allocated to another project, and trimmed it into eight pieces of one length, and four pieces of a slightly longer length (leaving a short amount left over which I used for something else).

To join the pieces, I first decided to make  my own rings (seen below) from wire – but I didn’t have heavy wire, so I took wire and twisted it to make something heavier. The rings I made were pretty, but closing them was less pretty…

For my second version, I used store-bought large rings, which was ok… I even took it to an A&S gathering and got good feedback from the people there. Still, I was a bit unsatisfied. I kept thinking “I won’t wear that, because I don’t trust those rings…” So, that meant they had to go. I picked up some heavier wire (18 gauge), referenced a photo of the originals, cut my wire into pieces, hammered the ends, formed them around a ‘mandrel’ (a highlighter…), strung them through my wire chain, and wrapped them closed, very much like the originals.

I know I usually share a LOT more detail about my process… but I’ve decided to enter this into a championship… so instead of a blog entry – I have documentation!

AS Viking Knit documentation (click link for PDF)

Making the rings for the third version

Making the rings for the third version

For the third version I cut the 18 gauge wire, hammered  the ends (at the top of the photo above) and then curved the wire around the highlighter to get the shape.

Close up of my crystal pendant

Close up of my crystal pendant

Close up on the crystal pendant along with the wrapped connection ring (and a temporary metal spangle).

Close up of the finished (version 3) rings

Close up of the finished (version 3) rings

Another view of the connection ring and how the ring connects my Trichinopoly (Viking Knit) chain. This connection also has a temporary metal round substituting in for coins – however I DO have some replica coins on order, from Alpha Officium. I placed my order on March 19th, but as of the time I finished my documentation, I didn’t yet have the order.