Silver Threads

a knitting blog with occasional side trips


Playing with wire

There are too many crafts out there to keep up with (not a complaint!). Last week, E. told Suncat and I about a community ed class on Viking weave that she was planning on taking, and invited us to join her. The class was called, enticingly, “Viking Weave: Knitting with Wire.” Weaving or knitting, I’d never heard of it, and although Suncat couldn’t make it, I decided to give it a try. It was just a one-shot class, which promised to be an interesting way to spend an otherwise mundane Thursday evening. Suncat found a video on YouTube and sent it our way, so we did go into the class with a vague idea of what we might be bringing out of it.

Viking weave in process

The weaving.

The instructor had provided all the supplies and equipment, saving us from having to go out and buy stuff without knowing what we were doing. This looks like a craft you could get into without a huge initial financial investment, especially if you already do beading. The class description had stated that silver, copper, nickel, and bronze wire would be available, but I hadn’t realized there would be all sorts of pretty colors to choose from. E. and I independently decided we liked the same color: rose gold. (Although the deep green was really tempting—perhaps a future project, if I can find it on my own.)

Generally, the class went well. The major problem was that while the weaving is easy to get the hang of once you see it done, the teacher didn’t have any way of showing the class as a group how to do it. She had to walk around showing each student how to get started, and later on, how to finish it off, how to attach the findings, and so on. Although that gave me plenty of time to slip over to an empty table and take a picture of the work in process without disrupting the class.

Viking weave bracelet

The finished bracelet.

And yes, the weaving itself really is easy to learn. You use a bit of scrap wire to form a daisy of five loops that you stick on the end of the dowel. You then take a length of your wire and make what is in essence a twisted stockinette stitch cylinder. Like embroidering with a needle and thread, you poke the end of the wire through a loop, go to the next loop, make a little loop in that loop with your wire, and around. For the next round, you pass the wire behind the little “x” at the bottom of the previous round’s loop, loop it around, and move on to the next “stitch.” When your work is long enough, you remove it from the dowel and pull it through a succession of increasingly smaller holes in a draw plate. This evens your work out and compresses it. My bracelet started out at 13 mm and ended up at 5 mm in diameter.

The instructor had samples for three kinds of weaves we could do. I chose the single weave—what I just described—because it looked like it would make the thinnest, most delicate-looking bracelet of the three. E. went for a double weave, where instead of weaving your wire through the round you’ve just completed, you weave it through the second round up. Other students went for the triple weave, using the third round up. These variations make the piece progressively thicker and denser, but they also consume wire faster. I had enough to make a bracelet, with even a bit of weaving left over, but other people, including E., had to either add more wire or decide to make something else with their piece.

I like Viking weave enough to want to try it again sometime. (E. was also enthusiastic about it.) I just don’t know how many wire bracelets I need, even if they’re in different colors, and I don’t think I’d be likely to wear necklaces made this way. But maybe learning more about it will give me more ideas of what to do with it.