My First Presentable Viking Knit Bracelet

I realized today that I have spoken so much about learning how to Viking knit – a weaving technique where you knit a row of loops around a pencil, or dowel, until you get your desired length, then pull the piece through a draw plate to stretch the piece to be longer.  I’ve done a lot of practice pieces, with a lot of trial and error, and honestly wasn’t too keen on sharing any of my prior pieces.  Like a major derp, when adding extra wire, I was not tucking it into the tube and wound up with all of the icky prickly extra wire  parts I had to try and fix and it just did not turn out well and was super messy.  A few days ago, I did another bracelet, and actually liked the turn out!  Here’s my end result:

 

 

A viking knit bracelet - silver wire woven to look like a fine rope, with sparkling crystals, and rose quartz beads on each end to accent the piece. A hook and eye clasp is used to fasten the bracelet.

There are a few things I really want to do differently next time when finishing off a piece.  I feel like my coils with the wire around the piece aren’t suuuper even, and I can tell one side of the bracelet is a bit thinner than the other – so I think I definitely want to make sure to either cut off the thinner part, or cover it up with the coil better so both sides look more even.  I really need to practice making bead caps, too, because I think they look kind of eh lol.  I think to fix my coiling problems, I’m going to try and use thinner gage wire next time – I was wrapping the ends with 20 gage, and thought it was a bit too rough on the Viking knit section (like it crushed the thinner side of the knit rotfl), so next time I’m going to try 22 gage and see how it works (I mean I am pretty sure it will work better XD I’d try 24 gage, but I currently don’t have any).

 

It took me a lot less time to do this piece than usual!  Was about a 2 to 2 and a half hour stretch to make this bracelet.  I really want to work at being able to have the patience to work long enough to make a necklace length chain, and I think if I stretched it over 2 days that definitely will be possible.  Just have to…get to doing so XD

 

Have you ever done any Viking knit pieces?  Have any good finishing techniques?  Would love to hear about them!  I think I’m just going to keep this one for myself, because I tend to do that with the first thing I’ve made, but eventually really want to get to where I feel comfortable with other people wearing/purchasing these!

 

And now, I’m off to buy some cording supplies~ this jewelry bug has hit me hard the past few months, and I am loving every minute of it XD

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Wire Woven pendants, Some of the things I’ve been working on lately

I spent an hour trying to take a picture of these myself because I am stubborn and of course doing so failed miserably so I had my Mom take pictures and she did it in like three tries cruel world XD I feel I should have learned my lesson with trying to take pictures, but darn it I’m stubborn and will conquer taking pics with this webcam blind one day!

 

But anyway!  That mini rant aside.  I wanted to take some more pics of other things, but I will get to that later lol.  This pendant style is my latest obsession, and here are two variations of it:

2 circular pendants made out of wire, with a smaller weaving wire creating a pattern on the thicker frame. One has a jade bead at the top of the design, and is coiled like a snake, or snail shell, and the other has three base wires, a pyiramid style weave on the base wires, and a tear drop, blue lace agate stone wrapped in wire, and dangling from the middle of the circular frame.

Personally, I like the one with the jade bead on it a bit more:  Which, I find a little funny, because the style came about on accident.  I had woven two separate pieces with two base wires, to try and make a bracelet with both pieces.  I don’t really like to measure and eyeball things primarily (another habit I probably should get out of lol) and one piece was bigger than the other.  I figured, ok, I could make one of these the focal for the bracelet instead, and made one a coil that’s waiting in the wings for just that.  But with this one, I figured, why not coil it, and play around with it to make a pendant?  The bead was added primarily as an afterthought:  I wanted to stabilize the top wraps, and hide the weaving wires end, so stuck it there to do so.  All in all, I love the end result, and am definitely going to incorporate this pendant style in different things.
The second one was inspired by a CSL Design tutorial for an elvish wire woven pendant.  I took 3 base wires, and did a pyramid weave.  I caged a blue lace agate teardrop with 26 GA wire, and voila!  This one was a major accomplishment for me, because I had been having trouble wrapping such tiny stones, and after multiple attempts and research, figured out how to wrap this tiny bugger!  So glad I did, because I now love using tiny stones, and definitely won’t shy away from them from now on.  Now to figure out how to wrap my 4 MMs…

 

But yes, here is what I’ve been working on recently!  I need to still take pics of the loose wrapped stones, but I’ve been crazy about just using wire, and a minimal amount of stones as of late, so figured I’d share these first.  Must be the Bohemian inside of me coming out, but I just really love this style of pendant, and can’t wait to make more!  I just finished up a craftsy class on making wire frames too, and have been practicing those, so I also can’t wait to make some pendants with those frames!

Two More Days…

Two days ago, I officially ran out of my last lengths of wire making a Viking knit length long enough to make a bracelet.  This would be saddening news, if not for the fact that I made the length of Viking knit…to stretch through the draw plate I ordered that will be coming on Friday!  😀

 

I’m beyond excited, have been so anxious all week because I did a major, 150 dollar shopping spree for a ton of beads, wire, and loose cabochon gemstones to play with.  Two of the packages have already been delivered, and I’m just waiting on the third one (ironically, the one with my ring mandrel and draw plate in it, along with all my beads lol).  On Saturday, I’m going to pick up all of my stuff, and then let the jewelry making shenanigan’s recommence!  I have so many ideas for so many projects, some design  experiments I’ve been jotting down to try, and finally, I get to make my own rings!  I have been wanting to be able to make some for months, and now with a ring mandrel I will be able to get on the ball with that 😀 I feel like I should probably start selling these things, because otherwise I’m just going to be swimming in a sea of beads and cabochons haha.  I got some really pretty dagger beads, some seed beads in different colors, and some dragon scale beads, as well as some rainbow moonstone, blue lace agate, termalated quartz, and Lorimar stones. I’m especially excited about the larimar:  I have been wanting to work with some for ages!  And I found some great suppliers I am definitely going to be reusing in the future, so happy with their customer service!  I tried to diversify my color spectrum a bit, but in the end I wound up with a lot of greens, blues, pinks and silvers haha.  But not a biggy, because those are all my favorite colors, and I already have some darker colored gemstone beads I can tinker with.

 

I have so many projects in store, and like I said before really can’t wait to get going again!  I was so tempted to get a chasing hammer this time, but opted to get some smaller, less expensive  tools and get more beads and the like for this stash upgrade.  I’ll get a chasing hammer and bench block for sure, but I think I’m going to wind up buying some more cabochons and beads before I do that regardless XD

 

So yeah, I’m so so so excited!  Saturday can’t come soon enough.  In the meantime,  I’ll be organizing things, and also in the meantime:  here’s a picture of a sword pendant and necklace I made a while back to celebrate my supply run!

A hand made chain consisting of links of silver wire with 3 golden beads on each link. Hanging on it, a Sword pendant, made out of wire, with golden beads on the swords hilt, and a crystal bead in the center of the hilt for decoration. The sword blade has not ornimentation on it, and is a hollow piece of wire in the shape of a broad sword.

Jewelry Journey, Chainmail Woes!

I have had a love hate relationship with jewelry making. Aka, I bought giant clunky pliers to do all the work, they were hard to work with, and I have been doing designs on and off for a year and a half or so. I still keep up with the trends and snizzy, and had a specific type of jewelry I wanted to make from the getgo. So of course, when I couldn’t figure out how to make the jewelry I wanted to make, I went to just doing the basics: Stringing beads onto beading wire, crimping the ends, and tah-dah! Pretty pieces that I get to say “I made that, wee!”. And yes, you do get compliments on that sort of stuff, and people do give you the ‘Oh!’ face and are impressed you made what you’re wearing, but as a creative person that really wasn’t doing it for me. Sure it was pretty, and sure it used some of what I originally wanted to work with, but it wasn’t challenging at all. Eventually, I got bored and stopped designing anything.

I still, and would still, look at jewelry making tutorials online. Youtube is a tutorial gold mine, as are jewelry making sites and Beading magazines. Well, eventually, I stumbled upon wire work – and whoa! I loved the concept. Getting to manipulate something to create a pretty piece of jewelry, with your hands? I’m so there! I adore anything tactile to do (call it a side affect of the blindness lol) and when I can, I put my hands on anything I’m working on. No matter how much I research, I just have to take that final step when I’m excited for something and buy all the materials and work on it, hands on.

So I did!

Forty dollars of wire and jump rings later, I Was deep in the trenches of wire work. Was practicing wire weaving, attempting wire crochet with very little success, and eventually made enough bangles to be like “Hrmmm, what else can I do with this? I thought I could make my own designs with these techniques, how lame!”

Give up, number 2!

Once again, it wasn’t what I was looking for in terms of designing my own jewelry. I had gotten into the ball park of what I had wanted to do, which was good, but still wasn’t doing much for my creative itches with this craft. Back to the drawing board once again for Valky!

I started talking to a friend about crafting. I think in passing, she mentioned she did chainmail. At first, I dismissed it as something I wanted to do because I had tried it a bit a few years back with an instructor, failed at it hardcore after about an hour of trying, and repressed the memory because shploooog it was so hard to do. When my friend said it wasn’t hard, I was like, “Well, I know more about making jewelry in general, so why not try it with what I know now?” bought some cheap jump rings and…

Shplooooog!!!

I had those stupid humongous pliers with these itty bitty rings and I just couldn’t grasp the jump rings to open and close them aaaarg! I had sworn off using jump rings, even in jewelry making – you can close things with head pins and wire and loops and screw chainmail I’ll buy chains if I really want to use one in a design!

“Valk, you need smaller pliers,” my friend says.
“There…are smaller pliers?”

I did the research (once again, with help from my friend) and herpaderp! I had crafting pliers for a year – way too big for anything I wanted to be doing. My loops were huge when I made them, things were hard to grasp, and overall my designing experience was horrible and I feel like that is in part why I gave up so quickly. But now hurray! I got smaller, jewelry pliers – the tips are great, nice and narrow – and now I have gone back to working on chainmail! Mainly because I need smaller gages of wire to do some wire work I want to do, and I have jump rings now. My progress?

I’ve been practicing an hour a day, and at first I wanted to give up. But I told myself – just practice an hour a day. No matter what your progress is the day before, an hour a day isn’t hard to put aside to practice, right? Right! It’s been 3 days now, and I am happy to say it’s been going decently well! I’ve been practicing opening and closing jump rings, then linking them. I went from having a four ring chain, to five in two days! Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s an accomplishment for me and I’ve found myself getting into a rhythm of opening, closing, linking, and closing again to make a chain. Now my next hurdle is uh, not having the chain-in-progress fly out of my hands when I’m trying to close a newly linked ring lolol. Overall though, I’ve been enjoying the process – both the good and bad parts of creating, and it gets me excited to try different wire techniques, and buying more tools! I want to get some mandrels for shaping wire, nylon jaw pliers, a hammer for shaping and texturing wire, wire wire wire…

So yeah, I am hooked on wire work, if that wasn’t apparent! I’m really happy with where I am on my jewelry journey, and am determined to start creating again. I want to buy supplies, materials, and all that jazz gradually so I can truly create what I have always wanted to – which I will talk about later! This post was just supposed to be about my chainmail adventure, woopsy.

What about you? Have you had any hobbies you’ve been determined to do well? Any you just did and didn’t find were for you? Leave a comment and talkity talk about it!