Went nuts with knots

For those that might not know, The Kingdom of Drachenwald celebrates is 20:th anniversary as a Kingdom in June. For this occasion I had really grand plans – but as usual I had time to realize just one out of several imagined outfits.
However the one I chose to really work on was the one that challenged me the most since it was from a period I really knew very little about.
Now I can safely say that my knowledge has increased substantionally and I have learnt several new techniques along the way.
I will not post any pictures of the complete outfit until after the event (why ruin the possibility of a grand entrance?) but I wanted to give a little sneak peak into one of the new things I learnt.

The textile finds from Birka contained a great deal of metal thread ornaments called posament. It seems that there are rather few websites that bring up this technique and most of those that exist don’t share any secrets of the trade.
So I sat down and stared at pictures of the extant examples and of replicas others had made until I finally figured out how it works.
And just to push myself that extra bit I also promised to teach a class at the 20 year celebration on this technique.
After the event I will post about my whole outfit and also post the handout I am working on for the class – but for now I will leave you with this picture of a piece of posament I just finished today and that will be a part of my head wear for the new viking clothing.
The knotted band is about 42 cm long and about 1 cm wide so it is a lot tinyer than it looks like in this picture.
Image

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6 thoughts on “Went nuts with knots

  1. most of those are actaully wire, rather than thread, from what I gather, which is far more difficult than thread, esp if you use the beaded wire which was so popular in the viking period(as above) you can buy plain wire already soft annealed, but the only source I know for the beaded stuff, as well as costing about 4x bullion price, is hard, and its a swine to anneal wire, even if you’re an exerienced silversmith cos it doesn’t heat evenly. beaded wire, like the stuff above, breaks very very easily – I recently treid a twist pattern with some and it repeatedly shattered because it couldn’t take the strain. I would practice with plain copper first

  2. Hello! Actually, the knotwork posament from Birka is mostly silver and made from this kind of spiral metal thread where a silk core has been wrapped with wire. It is the gold pieces that are more worked in braids and crosses that are made out of wire.
    The metal thread I have used is a specific kind that the same people in northern Norway, Sweden and Finland use to make pewter braided jewelry and such.
    I spent last might going through pictures from the Birka grave finds on the Historiska Museets web based catalogue and could conclude that Agnes Geijers descriptions in Birka III, Die Textil Funde, are very much accurate.
    So the above posament is made from the correct kind of thread but would have been silver instead of gold. there are a few knots and slip knots made from gold spiral thread.
    Once I have taught my class at the end of June I will post my whole handout and hopefully that will help others to be able to make more of these decorations! 🙂

  3. Cynthia Konow-Brownell

    That is just beautiful! One thing that occurred to me is that “posament” is darn close to “passementarie” and means about the same thing. I’m wondering if they’re linguistically related words….
    Thea, Caid

    1. Yes, you are right Thea! Agnes Geijer chose the word posament since the decorations sort of are similar. What word the vikings in Birka actually used we will most likely never know – but the word is related indeed!

  4. Margo Farnsworth

    I’m really looking forward to seeing your handout! I’ve attempted this a few times. With a soft craft wire and also with a spiral hollow core wire. Neither time with much success. I’ve just been working from photos with no guidance as to technique, so your handout sounds like just what I need. Thank you!

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