Trichinopoly (Viking Knit) class

There are a few people who indicated that they’d like to learn how to do Trichinopoly, and so I offered to teach a class/workshop.

I wanted to put together a short post for those interested to pick up supplies/etc.

Class description

Introduction to Trichinopoly (Viking Knit)
Drífa at lækjamoti

A hands-on introduction to Trichinopoly, sometimes called wire weaving, wire knitting, or Viking Knit. This technique produces beautiful chains documented to multiple ages and cultures, useful for necklaces, adorning clothing, and for practical use. Students will learn how to start, loop, add additional wires, and finishing options.

In a 2-hour class, students should be able to finish a length of chain suitable for a bracelet.

In a 1-hour class, students will be introduced to the technique, but will complete their projects after class.

Class limit: 2-8
Cost: Free to attend, but supplies will be needed (below)
Age limit: adults


The wire packaging

The wire packaging

  • Wire – I recommend copper wire, easily available through craft stores, bead stores, etc. I have purchased mine through Beads & Plenty More. If there’s time, you can also order online; I’ve shopped with Fire Mountain Beads and Etsy as well.

You should be able to make a necklace in any style from one 30-yard roll, however the amount of wire needed greatly depends on the style you make.

Avoid stainless steel wire, silver wire, brass wire or gold wire for your first project. Silver-plated copper wire is ok, but plain copper (available in a variety of colours, including silver-colour and gold-colour) is cheaper for your first project.

(As pretty as it is, avoid the Artistic Wire in turquoise colour.)

I recommend 24 gauge wire for your first project, however 26 gauge also makes a nice chain (though it takes a bit more wire).

  • Jig wire – You will also need a length of wire for the jig. This should be at least 24 gauge,  (22 gauge is also fine) and you can use the same wire as above. I recommend inexpensive wire – this won’t be part of your project. A contrast colour is nice to see what you’re making. If doing this in a group, you could just use a length traded with someone else. I recommend copper wire for this as well.


Joining a new wire into the chain

Looping the wire onto the dowel

Dowel – you’ll need a dowel, approximately 1/2″ in diameter, by approximately 12″ long. The length isn’t totally important – you just need a part to work on and a part to hold. Shorter is fine, longer might get in the way, but it’s up to you. The diameter is a bit more important – 1/2″ will allow for enough room to work, though you can adapt with narrower and wider.

I’ve always used wood, but theoretically you could also try using any smooth, long rod with an even diameter along the length.

  • Wire snips – These are vital.
  • Very fine needle-nose pliers – These are totally optional.
  • Nylon-head broad pliers – These are optional but very useful.
  • Masking tape – you’ll just need a small strip.
  • Straight pin – This is optional but useful. An alternative is a small sewing awl, or a sturdy sewing needle.
  • Ruler – or measuring tape
  • Fine-tip felt pen – totally optional
  • Pen/pencil, notebook – optional

You may also wish to bring (scent-free if possible) hand lotion (I find my hands get sore after a while) & glasses (if you need them for close work like reading or embroidery). If you have difficulty working with small needles (etc.) you may also find the optional pliers & straight pin more useful for grabbing & manipulating the wire.


Once you’ve learned the technique, you’ll need a few items for finishing.

  • Pliers – these are just to grasp the wire to pull it through the drawplate.
After going through the smallest drawplate hole, (approx 6 cm) the chain is 24 cm

My drawplate and fine needle-nose pliers

  • Drawplate – this is just a piece of wood (hardwood if you have it) with a series of holes in it. The largest hole should be the same diameter as your dowel, and the holes can get smaller from there.If you don’t have (or don’t want to make) a draw plate, you can also use (non-precious) plastic household objects with gradually reduced hole sizes to reduce your chain width. The chain may damage these items; so don’t use anything that isn’t ultimately disposable. Don’t use anything too hard like metal, as it could damage your wire.Below is a photo of some of the things I’ve used for draw plates before – two thread spools, one spool for elastic thread, and a spool for bridal elastic/trim.
  • 8-row Viking Knit red copper wire 'chain'.

    8-row Viking Knit red copper wire ‘chain’& the make-shift draw plates I used

  • Chain ends/jewellery components – these are totally up to you, you can use jump rings, end caps, bead caps, more wire, ribbon, cord… etc. I’ll show a few options in the class/workshop/demo, so you won’t need to get these until you’ve completed your chain.

Some examples of ways to finish off the ends of chain:

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Optional design elements

You can also add leather cord, mix your chain with other chains or cords, beads, pendants, etc…

For more…

For more inspiration, instructions, and ideas, you can also check out my other Viking Knit posts here.


Alternate description submitted for Yule 2015

Introduction to Trichinopoly
Aka Viking Knit / Viking Wire Weaving, this technique produces beautiful chains documented to multiple ages and cultures, useful for jewellery, adorning clothing, and for practical use. Students will learn how to start, loop, add additional wires, and finishing options. Attendees should have time to finish a small project or start a larger one in class.

With Drífa at lækjamoti

Maximum 6 students

Cost: $10.00

1 hour block

Digital hand-out only, no paper copy provided.


Copper and blue beaded Trichinopoly chain

Beaded blue and copper trichinopoly (Viking Knit) chain, after going through my draw plate

Beaded blue and copper trichinopoly (Viking Knit) chain, after going through my draw plate

I completely love my latest Trichinopoly (Viking Knit) project. After making the silver-plated copper chain with garnets, I decided to try the technique with seed beads as well. It’s a five-row chain done in 28 gauge copper (the thinnest I’ve used so far) with a silver-lined blue glass seed bead every 3rd “stitch” – the result is much less bead-dense than the silver/garnet chain and the result is super light, delicate-looking, and pretty.

Continue reading

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….

Continue reading

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.


Trichinopoly for auction

Completed Viking Knit / Trichinopoly chain for the Avacal auction

Completed Viking Knit / Trichinopoly chain for the Avacal auction


I have a very simple Viking Knit chain to show off today, made of 24 gauge silver-plated copper wire, drawn down to approximately 7 mm in diameter. It’s finished off with a hand-made silver-plated copper (18 gauge) ring closed with spiral-wrapped ends, and was made using the single-knit technique.

I’m donating it to the Avacal Online Auction with proceeds going towards the Kingdom travel and general fund. If you’re interested in bidding, click the link and check it out! (Along with all the other beautiful things made by members of the soon-to-be kingdom.) The specific link to my necklace is here: Trichinopoly Chain

Completed Viking Knit / Trichinopoly chain for the Avacal auction

Completed Viking Knit / Trichinopoly chain for the Avacal auction

It is 25 ” / 63.5 cm long, including the ring. I made it this length so that it would fit over large heads, but not hang TOO low. The length means it doesn’t need an additional (non-period) clasp. It can be shortened, if you unwrap/open the ring.

Wearing the chain

Wearing the chain

The dressform I’ve photographed the chain on is a child-size form, in the photo above I’m wearing the chain. (and photoshopped out my scar..)

Chain shown with an example of a pendant (I'm not including the pendant mind you.. just an example...)

Chain shown with an example of a pendant (I’m not including the pendant mind you.. just an example…)

The photo above shows the chain with a pendant clipped on; I’m not offering up the pendant with the auction, it’s just for illustration purposes.