After I had completed most of the Byzantine costume, I decided I really wanted to make a necklace in the style of one I saw on Pinterest. While the example is from the 7th Century, and my costume is based on an 11th Century style, I still thought the style was nice, and that I could accomplish something with the same shapes with tools I’m familiar working with.
The other day I sent in my intent to compete for the Kingdom of Avacal Arts & Sciences champion. I’m still really new to the SCA, so I don’t really think that I stand a big chance of winning (though I’m still going to try to work towards that!) but I’m more doing it for the experience, and because I think that if more people are active -that more people will see A&S as something fun and interesting to try, and to support!
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.
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
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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:
Optional design elements
You can also add leather cord, mix your chain with other chains or cords, beads, pendants, etc…
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
1 hour block
Digital hand-out only, no paper copy provided.
While chatting with my friend about Viking Knit, we were discussing how to estimate length for a given project. Since doing Viking Knit is somewhat time-consuming, and there’s no good way of adding more wire and continuing a project after it’s gone through the draw plate – one wouldn’t want to weave a lot more than they needed, nor would one want to make too little… However, there are a lot of variables that determine how long a finished piece will be in relation to how long it is on the dowel/jig. Some of those include:
- How many ribs (ladders) the piece has
- How wide the dowel is
- How tightly the chain is knitted (how close together the ‘rungs’ of the ‘ladder’ are)
- Single-knit vs. double-knit
- What type of wire was used (copper, silver-plated, stainless steel, etc)
- What gauge of wire was used
- The diameter of hole used on the draw plate
When I was collecting my pin-board for my Enchantment Under the Sea costume, I came across a necklace that I really liked for the concept. Although it doesn’t necessarily say “1950s” I thought it had a watery look to it that appealed to me for the overall costume theme.
Keep reading below and I’ll share how I made it!