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A Study of Whipcords

Posted by on April 7, 2017

In my last post and the one before, some time ago, I talked about how I made the Whipcord Bobbins. Since then I’ve made up a number of braid lengths and have learned a few things.


I typically make up my braids with the size 10 cotton crochet supply that you find at your average craft store or online. The desired thickness of my finished braid will dictate how many strands I wind on to each bobbin. It’s important to note that the same number of threads needs to be wound onto each bobbin otherwise you have a very lumpy and uneven braid.

I have found that a single strand of the afore mentioned size 10 crochet cotton wound onto each bobbin makes a nice enough braid but it’s simply too thin for most things like clothing laces or medallion cord. The only thing it’s really good for is decoration, to couch down, or something similar.

Comparison of viking whipcord thickness

Comparison of thicknesses. 1. Black, white, and yellow cord is 2 strands per bobbin. 2. Green and white cord is 3 strands per bobbin.

I find that two strands on each bobbin makes for a very versatile cord. It’s the perfect size and weight for a medallion cord, clothes lacing, or draw stings. Three strands is probably my favorite size. It’s a bit big for a medallion cord, unless of course the medallion is of a heavier or larger variety than normal.

Whipcords made with four or five strands per bobbin are larger but easy to tangle when winding onto the bobbin. These larger cords are good for belts and such.

Naturally, the thicker the yarn or string, the thicker the end result will be. So using size 3 crochet yarn  would give you different sizes. I don’t typically have size 3 yarns on hand so unfortunately, I have nothing to show for comparison.


As with any kind of cord making or weaving, the amount of yardage you start with won’t be the same amount that you end with. In general I find that, depending on strands per bobbin, I will loose somewhere between 3/4 of a yard (2 strand per bobbin)  to a whole yard (3 strands per bobbin) on the end product.

As far as washing these laces is concerned and the shrinkage that might occur there I don’t have any idea. I’ve yet to need to wash them or washed anything with them couched onto it so I can’t tell you how much it might shrink under that circumstance.

Next Project

My next project is to make up some cord that will go on my skjoldehamn hood. The hood that was found and is documented had two cords, and were sewn on just above or below ear height. The left-hand cord is fully preserved and is roughly 6cm or 2.5in long with a tufted end, that is covered with a little piece of green woven fabric (Løvlid, 2009; 48). It was braided with two pairs of olive-green, and two pairs of red-brown threads in a clockwise spiraling pattern (Løvlid, 2009; 47). This would make it look like a version of the green and white cord in the image posted above. I’ll be interested to see when it comes time to sewing the cord on, what the attachment point will look like when I’m done.


1Løvlid, Dan Halvard, Nye tanker om Skjoldehamnfunnet, Masters Thesis in Archeology, Bergen University (2009)

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