Viking Knit

Viking Knit – a lovely jewelry technique

As you all know my first love is making glass beads.  My second love is jewelry.  So I like learning jewelry techniques that I can incorporate into designs which will showcase my lampworked beads.  I also love attending the Bead and Button Show where there are hundreds of classes to choose from plus a wonderful opportunity to visit with like minded friends.  So several years ago I took a class on how to make a Viking Knit chain.  The chain is an elegant way to display that wonderful handmade bead.

vikibg knit bracelets


But what exactly is Viking Knit?  You don’t use knitting needles.  You don’t use yarn.  You “knit’ using a fine gauge wire that can be sterling, fine silver, copper or any of the wonderful copper coated wires found in the market today.  It’s fun to make the chain and a perfect task for me while I’m watching TV.

Viking Knit – a little history

I researched the internet to find out a little more about Viking Knit and discovered that there is not a whole lot of information out there.  I did learn that it is also called “trichinopoly chain” .  And archaeologists are discovering these woven chains in graves in Scandinavia and England.  You might find this research interesting.

Then 2 summers ago my husband and I took a Baltic cruise.  Our ship left from Oslo and we got there a day early to explore the city and recover from jet lag.  We went to the National Museum of Art and Architecture near the University of Oslo and discovered a Viking knit necklace – created probably in the 8th century.  It was still intact.

viking knit necklace


Viking knit back then was made from silver.  The resulting chains of knitted silver could be worn as adornment by itself or with another piece of handcrafted art hanging as a pendant – sometimes even a handcrafted key.  But a fact that our guide told us about this knitted chain that was interesting was that men would sport yards and yards of viking knit as belts or necklaces and it was believed that snippets of the knit could be used as currency.

I just finished weaving a “Viking Knit chain”.  I have been experimenting on using it this time as the base of a necklace to show off some beads…

viking knit chain by Louise Little


Plan to make more viking knit chain as I watch “The Vikings” as season 3 will start next week.




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