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I employ several different weaving techniques in my work. Below you can read about a few of them.
“Viking knitting” is not actually knitting in the way you might think (i.e. with two needles), but is actually a type of weaving. Chains are made from long pieces of wire (typically 5'-6') that are worked by hand into interconnecting loops. For those who knit with yarn, the connected loops look like twisted knitting (knit through back loop).
Necklaces require anywhere from 30' to 60' of wire, so several shorter pieces must be joined together during construction of the chain. This can done without the use of solder because the wire is spliced together in a way that is nearly impossible to detect in the finished piece. The raw chain is woven around a form (Allen wrenches or dowels) and is typically then pulled through holes in a wooden drawplate to tighten the weave and make the chain pliable. Necklaces containing gemstones, however, cannot be pulled through a drawplate and must be pulled by hand. The ends of each chain are finished by hand-coiling a heavier gauge wire, again using only cold connections and no solder.
Examples of these chains have been found at various archeological sites in Scandinavia dating back to the 8th century A.D (the Viking era). Similar chains have been found in other areas of the world, so the technique may not have been unique to the Vikings. Indeed, chains that look identical can be made with a different weaving technique that forms the chain in the opposite direction. For instructions on this method, refer to Tim McCreight's Jewelry: Fundamentals of Metalsmithing.
The soumak weave is a very old textile technique used to weave Persian rugs and bags. A quick search on Google will reveal many results for textiles, but this technique can also be worked with wire. The resulting "fabric" has a solid-feel with lots of interesting texture. To work the technique, I will usually use blue painter's tape to hold the silver elements (the warp) in place as I weave with the thin wire (the weft). Once the piece is stable, I can remove the tape and weave more quickly. (photos will be added!)
This section is still under construction!