Experimenting With Viking Knit & Local Materials

I’ve been making viking knit bracelets for Titan Chains for a year, yet never made anything for myself. That is, until I found beads made from material that was a big part of my childhood. My brother and I used to find chunks of hard, green rocks in the sand mine where we played as children. Some of it was smooth and shiny, and some was porous. We liked to think it was lava, especially the porous kind. We were told it was “just slag”. I had boxes full of it and liked looking at it and wondering what I could do with it.

Now, I live a couple of hours north of my childhood home, but still very close to Lake Michigan. I find pieces of this same type of stone washed up on the shore, and I still pick them up;) They aren’t rocks/stones at all, but a glass byproduct of iron smelting from days gone by. Because a lot of it washes up on the shores of Leland, Mi, it is referred to as Leland Blue Stone. Oh yeah, some of it is blue or varying shades of gray.


Somebody spoke to my heart and made beads from it.  Now my childhood dream of finding a purpose for this glass is realized. I was tickled that the skill I’d mastered to earn a living would give me a venue to display these childhood mementos.
One side of the green oval bead has some spots but it is easy to spin it on the wire to show the other side.

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My Ten Best Viking Knit Tips

I’ve learned a few tricks from weaving viking knit bracelets for Titan Chains.

These tips are meant to enhance and perfect your weaving method. Besides the mandrel and wire cutters, you will need:
·        Duct tape
·        Rubber bands/cellophane tape
·        Chain nose pliers
·        Tongue and Groove pliers
·        Vise
1. Wrap your fingers, where they rest on the wire, with duct tape. I wrap my thumb and index fingers on the hand that holds the mandrel. Your method my require you to wrap different fingers. Wrapping will prevent soreness and allow you to pull the wire for a nice tight weave. You might also need to wrap the fingers on your other hand where the jewelry tools rest.
2.  Use a rubber band or cellophane tape to secure the starter bundle tightly to the mandrel.
3.  Don’t worry about the size of the first loops you make on the starter bundle. They will be large and not consistent in size. It is more important to get the loops as evenly spaced as possible.
4.  My favorite and most used jewelry tool is a pair of chain nose pliers. It’s easier to grab the wire with these than with round nose pliers. It is worth paying extra for the padding on the pliers so they don’t dent soft wire. Use your jewelry tools instead of your hands, to pull the wire through the loops.
5.  Push the chain up to the top of the mandrel about every 6-8 loops you make. This will keep the chain from becoming stuck on the mandrel.
6.  Oops, the chain is stuck on the mandrel. To get the chain off, lay the mandrel on an uncarpeted floor. Step on the mandrel and pull the chain off. Be sure to wear shoes.
7.  Now that your chain is complete, cut through the first loops you made to remove the chain from the starter bundle. You may reuse the starter bundle indefinitely. This saves wire and the extra work of making a new starter bundle for every chain.
8.  Thread a couple of wires through the top first loops of the chain you just removed from the mandrel. You will thread these wires through the drawplate and grab them to pull the chain through.
9.  An ordinary shop vise is all that is needed to make pulling the chain through the small holes in the drawplate a piece of cake. Secure the drawplate tightly in the vise to hold it place.
10. Use tongue and groove pliers to grab the wires. The grooves in the pliers keep the wires from slipping, so you have a secure grip when pulling the chain through the drawplate.
Paid Endorsement Disclosure: I may receive commissions/revenue from affiliates or advertisers for endorsements, recommendations, and/or links to products or services from this blog. It doesn’t change the cost to you and helps offset expenses on this frugal homestead.