Published On: 01-31-2012 07:32am
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I went to my local bead store (Bead Happy in Milwaukie, OR) and looked at the listing for classes. I have been working with beads and wire most of my life but am always on the lookout for something new to me and fun. I saw a listing for Viking knit bracelet and even though I had no clue what it was, I signed up. I am drawn to old Norse things and this sounded so fun. When I got home, I started looking up pictures and fell in love with the look of this woven wire art. After I looked around I told Tammy all about what I had found and promised I would teach her once I had a clue as to what I was doing. We both have fallen for this craft as we find it very meditative and mildly trance like. We love the colors and beads that we can use and the face that the pieces always turn out looking unique. After playing with this art form for a few months, I got a wild hair and wanted to learn about the history of Viking knit as I know how to knit with yard and had never assosiated this form as knitting. I was correct. Technicly viking knit is an artform of Nalebinding. The biggest difference seems to be how the fiber is drawn through. In knitting the fiber is not pulled all the way through where nalebinding you insert the end of the fiber and pull through. There are pieces dating back to the viking age although the number of verifiable finds of Viking Age nålebinding is, alas, quite small. So, while we know that nålebinding was practiced in the Viking Age, we don't know much about what was actually produced. This is due to the medium used. Wool shows signs but does not really last.
originially published, 2010