Saturday, September 15, 2012

How to Viking Knit Part 2: Beads

As promised in my previous post found here I would like to share with you how I do Viking Knit with Beads and explain some tips that I use, along the way.

Again, my disclaimer is that this is just how I do it.  I think there are other ways, in fact being that this is a creative venture, I am sure there are; this is just how I do it.  Feel free to post comments and questions at the end of this blog post, in case I need to clarify something.  It benefits ALL readers when you do that  ;)

Using the methods I share will in fact make your knitting/weaving more time consuming.  If you can typically do a piece in an hour, expect it to double or even triple if you have a tough time.  But, don't let that discourage you at all!  Remember this is something you can put down and pick up whenever you have time.

Tip #1 Set up your beads

Okay, so now you have set up your viking knit on the mandrel of your chcoice and you want to add beads.  I typically set up everything before starting, including using small trays for my beads.   And, as experience has taught me, only put a small amount of beads in the tray at one time....let's say around 10 or so.  They are really hard to find and pick up if you knock them over (been there, done that... still finding beads on the floor)!

If you are using mutliple colors, I recommend a different tray for each color.  In fact, I use the trays that came from the packages of beads I bought in the beginning.  Now, if you buy tubes of beads, you will need something different.  In f act, you can use a tupperware lid, yogurt lid, or something else relatively flat with an edge to it.  I don't recommend a cup or anything that deep.  I also don't recommend the counter top, as you will have to chase the  beads around.  But,  I do believe there are mats for beading that you can buy.  Personally, I just reuse/recycle what I have in my house and keep my expenditures to a minimum.  :)

Tip #2 Size of Beads

Now, I have read where people advise that you do NOT pull a beaded viking knit piece through a drawplate.  And, I would imagine if you are using fairly large beads, you shouldn't.  It can crack the beads, distort the viking knit piece and even get stuck in your drawplate. 

However, I DO draw mine through a plate and LOVE the way it comes out.  I use size 11/0 glass seed beads.  I made the  mistake, in the beginning, of getting a 'mixed' package.  Well, I had all shapes, sizes and styles...and it made things so much more difficult!  Now, I buy one color, one size packages and stick to that.

Tip #3 Best Tool EVER

Whether you are using beads or not, this little gadget is my best friend.  I just love that it helps me loosen knots, move beads, etc.

Yes, a PUSH PIN!  It has the perfect little point to get under the rows!

So now, the HOW-TO Part.   There is going to be a series of pictures here with a brief explanation under each.

1) Make a few plain rows, without beads.

2)  Feed a bead into the wire

3) Gently position the wire.  You know it will go straight across,
so you want to "place" it there first

4) Feed your wire behind the previous row now,
as you would normally do

5) Every other is best to prevent crowding. 
As you come around, if the row just above has a bead, then NO bead. 
In the photo above, the row above does NOT have a bead,
so you would add a bead for this row.

6)  As you go around, you will want to avoid any beads getting
caught up in the knitting/weaving. 
They will stick out if they get caught, and will make using the drawplate difficult. 
So, before making a knot, you want to move the beads on the left, to the left;
move the beads on the right, to the right. 
In the photo above, on the left, you can see how close they are to
where I will feed the wire through.  in the second photo, on the right,
you can see how I have slid them away from the knot I will be using.

If your beads are stuck, and you cannot easily slide them, simply use your awesome tool, the pushpin, and lift the knot up away from the mandrel.  This will give the beads some "wiggle" room and can now be slid out of the way.

Just continue the "every other" pattern until you get to the length you desire.  I would do a few plain rows at the end, as you did in the beginning, so you have room to work with your finishings.

Oh and when you add wire, you do as you always have.  Just add a bead if you are supposed to (remember every other row).  And, if you miss some beads along the way, NO big deal.   It all comes together nicely after pulling through the draw plate.

That is truly it for the beading part! 

Next time, I will share with you how I end my pieces, where I cut the wires and how I pull my pieces through the drawplate.   If you are already well versed on finishing your pieces, then you probably won't be stopping by for Part 3.  However, I would love to have you cocme back and share your OWN techniques by commenting below the post.

Until next time, Keep It Crafty!

See my book on Kindle here:



PS:  If you'd like to see more Viking Knit jewelry with Beads, feel free to pop on over to my Etsy shop.  There is also a mini collection on the side of this blog.  Just click on there and check out the many beaded pieces I have made.


  1. Hi, That is very good info about how to do Viking Knit with Beads! Very good photos too, it helps very much to see how to do it.
    Thank you for sharing this!
    I look forward to part 3!
    I have try to do Viking knit and have done some little work with beads...
    I also draw mine beaded viking knit through a plate and it come out very well..;)
    I have not been satisfied with making the end of the chain or the clasp, so I still practice ..
    // Yvonne

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