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Writing Prompt: Back to Life

4 Aug

After an especially long and exhausting drive or flight, a grueling week at work, or a mind-numbing

exam period — what’s the one thing you do to feel human again?”

Tammy and I of Entwined Vines Jewelry both have very busy lives. Tammy works at a corporate styled job that frequently requires overtime. This entire year has entailed mandatory 7 days a week with an average of 10 hours each day. This is on top of everyone normal; laundry, house work, yard work, maintaining of this house that she is the sole owner and resident. As you can imagine this is grueling week after week. I also have a pretty crazy life of a household of 6, running and operating of an in-home child care that is open a minimum of 60 hours a week, extended care with a special needs child for an additional 59 hours a week, as well as another business where I create cards, scrapbook pages, and sell products like paper and embellishments. We both continue to work Entwined Vines Jewelry AND work our share of duties with Artistic Portland a local artisans co-operative storefront (If you find yourself in the Portland, Oregon area be sure to stop by the shop and check it out as it is way cool and always changing depending on the members and what we are all creating at the time!) We both have one primary thing that always makes us feel human again and that is weaving wire. I know that I have mentioned many times that our passion is creating Viking knit pieces of jewelry and I am going to keep repeating this as it holds true many years later.  Interested in seeing more? Checkout our studio on Artfire or swing by Artistic Portland for the in-person experience. Until then please take a moment to look through the following and then make a comment. If the comment is approved your name will be entered into a drawing for a free product later this year!

Dichroic Lampwork Glass Viking Knit Bracelet


Red Tigers Eye Viking Knit Bracelet


Fused Glass Fish Viking Knit Necklace

Amethyst Viking Knit Necklace


Finishing that Amazing Viking Knit Bracelet Tutorial

16 Jul

I know you have got to be really ready to finish this stunning piece that you have been working on and so without any further ado here you go…

You will need; your finished viking knit weave, completed 2 end caps, completed swan clasp, 18 gauge wire of choice to run through everything, basic tools, and any beads you may wish to add.

Take a length of wire that is about 4 inches longer than you want your completed piece and make a loop with a little extra on the end to wrap around your main wire for strength.

Take that spare wire and wrap it around a few times nice and snug.

Thread your first end cap on the wire

Slide your woven viking knit onto the wire and into the cap.

Cap off the other end and do another loop like the first one to lock this all in place. then clip the wire close.

Do a simple looped hook with the remaining wire and attach to the main bracelet. Once attached put any beads you want on.

Do another loop.

Attach your clasp and do any minor adjustments needed for a comfortable fit…

How to Make a Basic Swan Style Clasp

9 Jul


Most pieces need to have a clasp of some sort or another. One of the most commonly used clasp here at Entwined Vines Jewelry is the basic Swan style. This clasp works with almost any piece, is graceful, sturdy yet adjustable within reason, and can be made with most metals. We recommend having the following tools and materials to start; 18 gauge wire, round nose pliers, wire cutters, flat pliers of your choice and amazing music rockin in the background.


We cut off a piece of 18 gauge wire about 4 to 6 inches in length. Take the round nose pliers and start a small loop at the end of your wire. Using your other pliers continue to coil around your loop for a round or two then make a crook before continuing around so you will have a nice spot for your product to hand on without messing up the flow of your clasp.





Once you have gotten to the other side of your coil from the crook, you will bend the wire in a gentle curve up and around for a hook area.




Continue around till you are almost back to your coil then pull back a small loop to close off the end of your wire on the clasp.


Then trim off any extra wire and there you have it a nice, simple clasp.



If you would like to see this in action, watch our YouTube video of us making one from start to finish.


How to make basic end caps

2 Jul

Tammy and I (Tina) use end caps in many projects with our viking knit pieces being the most popular. End caps can be used to accent a bead, cap over the end of a bundle in strands on a piece, or in the case of viking knit cover the end weave of wire that may be a little pointy or un-sightly to some just as a few examples. There are many varieties on the market in a large array of materials, sizes, and styles. We like making our own though as often as is practical as we can really get the right color, texture, fit, and feel for each piece. These end caps can take a bit of time and practice to be able to get a pair or more to match up well.

To begin, you will need; 18 & 26 gauge wires of your choice, round nose pliers, needle nose pliers (bent or not is up to you), Wire cutters, small mandrel that is the size of the inner circumference that you want to end up with.

Take a length of 26 gauge wire (we use about 12″ to 18″ per coil, cut one per cap at the same length) and make a simple coil that is just about the same inner circumference as the 18 gauge. Set the coil aside. Take a length (we us about 18″ more or less per coil depending on size and desired pattern, remember this is an art and not a pattern so play with it) of the 18 gauge wire and create a tight loop at one end.

Once you have your loop, use your pliers to continue that loop into a flat coil that is large enough to cover the tip of your mandrel.

Add one more rotation of wire in line with but a little below the flat coil so you will have something to help grip around the mandrel.

When you have the start of your cap created, place it over the end of your mandrel and hold it firmly in place with your thumb or finger.

Continue wrapping your wire for several rows to give yourself a nice solid foundation.

Once you are happy with how many rotations you have around the end, slide one of your 26 gauge wire coils over the end of your 18 gauge wire and move to the coil. Continue the rotations around the mandrel while holding your wire coil in place as it may want to move down the 18 gauge wire instead of staying where you want it.

When you have wrapped the 26 gauge wire to its completion and the 18 gauge wire to almost the end, you have a choice of how you want to end your cap. In this piece we decided to end with a decorative spiral. You could just tuck the end of the wire on the inside of your cap before you place on a piece and we have done that many times. In this case though, we made a nice little spiral by making a small loop again…

Continuing to the spiral with our handy pliers…

and rolling the spiral flush with the base of our cap.

How to make a basic wire coil

25 Jun

This is a very short tutorial blog but you will need to know this if you don’t already for next Monday’s blog (how to make an end cap) and further down the calendar blog roll for basic jump rings (should post end of August) as well as sever other posts scheduled for this year. We use wire coils as the foundation for many pieces. The first use we will be showing is in the end caps that enclose our viking knit weave. You will need very few materials and limited tools. We suggest having the following on hand at the start of this project; 26 gauge wire for the end caps (or larger depending on project), a small mandrel just a little larger than 18 gauge wire as this coil will be going on 18 gauge, wire cutters, round nose pliers, and maybe a basic pair of pliers of your choice.

Start off by making a basic loop around your round nose pliers just large enough to fit over your mandrel (or you can just pinch off a small amount of wire directly on your mandrel).

Once you have a loop, slide your wire over your mandrel and hold on tight with your finger or pliers. Slowly but firmly wrap your wire around the length of your mandrel till you have a coil the size you want for your project.

Once you have as long of a coil as you want, cut your wire and smooth out your piece.

Viking Knit tutorial pt 4: How to finish your weave

21 May

Now that you have gotten your weave close to the length you want and have finished off the last of the wire you have been working with, you get to run your weave through your draw plate to help set the pattern and harden the wire. Take your draw plate and start threading your weave through the largest hole  with the “pettels” pointed from the more rounded side through to the flat rough side.  Take a good hold on that bundle of pettels and at a steady pace pull through the first hole. Once you have this done, you will continue pulling your strand of weaving through each hole two times each.  You can try different ways of doing the pull whether you pull strait or give a gradual twist or add weights at the bottom and then give a twist or put a leather cord through so you can tighten the weave till it is snug to achieve differing patterns in your weave for your final piece. This is art and is ment to be played with. Once your piece has a stunning pattern  you are done pulling through the draw plate (most of the time you will NOT use all the holes as the weave would end to tight or there would be no space to thread a core wire to actually making something with). Once your weave is just right, take your snips and trim off the bundle of pettel  wires and tuck the ends so you have a smooth stunning piece to create with.

Viking Knit tutorial pt 3: Double knit

26 Mar

To make a more dense chain you can bring your loop behind the second cross up  (for double weave) or even the third (for triple weave) for a very sturdy chain.  Keep in mind that the denser the chain, the less flexible it will  be.

At some point you will probably come to the end of your first wire and will want to add on. When this happens, you take a second length and insert the tip in the bottom row on the right hand side of the column you ended on, run through the second/third rows following the same path that your final wire length did leaving a small tail of wire. Twist this tail together with the end of your first wire.

Continue your wire working with the new wire going over the tail.

When you return to this joining, pass the wire beind the tail, through the loops like normal and back over the tail to create a cage of sorts.

Weave the length you think you will need but know that you’ll gain a few  inches once the chain is drawn out. Once you have your weave about as long as you want, trim your wire and remove from your mandrel.

In next Mondays post we will show you how to finish your viking knit weave as well as a few tips.