The Trollen Wheel. What it is and a flat braid turorial.

Well, it’s been an interesting week. I seem to be in a state of injuring myself. Nothing major, a few cuts, a strained ankle, several bruises.
We have had some very temperamental weather, from glorious sunshine one moment to heavy rain the next. We have been woken twice in the mornings by thunderstorms which have been spectacular.
I have been working on a new blog, Inspired by Waldorf, where I am sharing our homeschooling adventures.
Still working on my “tiny knitting” I have also been learning a new braid on my Trollen Wheel and I thought I would share a step by step guide for this basic flat braid.
But first, a little history.

h 035 (800x600)
The Trollen wheel is a much debated historical braiding tool. Some say it is Viking, though others will argue there is no historical evidence to support it; no archaeological finds of the tool or the resulting braid. It seems to be known as solid fact by some, utter nonsense by others. How can it be Viking if one of the earliest examples found was from the 1600s?
So if not Viking, what else could it be?
The National trust state here that the Romans used Trollen wheels.
In Japan they had the Kumihimo method. This dates back to the 8th century. The handheld ones look pretty much identical while there are also disks mounted on a stand.
Does it stand to reason, that if we were trading with, or being invaded by these people, we would have learned a thing or two from them? Women and wool being how they are would have surely talked and passed on skills. Perhaps if our disks were not as common spread as a loom or lucet, and made from wood they could have simply rotted away, as could any braids.
I think that until time travel exists we will never know for sure and the topic will continue to be debated.
Either way, they are fun to use. If you have children there is a guide in the book Creative Wool; making woollen crafts with children by Karin Neuschutz (Floris Books).
Otherwise I hope this guide inspires you to give it a go. You can find a guide on making a disk here in wood, here from an old CD or here from card.

Once you have your wheel or disc, Gather eight strands of yarn, four in colour A and four in colour B. I have used two colours to better the photographs. Tie your strands below the opening in the centre and add a weight to aid your tension.

h 066 (598x800)



Move strands 1and 2 one place to the left and strands 3 and 4 one to the right.h 067

Bring strands B and C up into the now empty slotsh 068 (599x800)

Strands 2 and 3 come downh 069 (598x800)

A and D come uph 070 (600x800)

Strand 1 will now cross from the top left to the bottom righth 071 (600x800)

Strand 4 from the top right to bottom left
h 072 (600x800)


Simply repeat these steps until your braid is the desired length. The back and front should look as below. To finish the braid off, carefully remove it from the disc and tie a firm knot.h 074


Happy Braiding!


About woodlandknitter

Who am I? A Mummy first a foremost to my two children, Toby and Emily. We took the decision to home educate the children after Toby had many problems within state education. Unable to send them to a Steiner school at present we base their education around the Waldorf ethos. This is working out wonderfully so far and we wish we had done it sooner. Secondly I am a fibre obsessive. Knitting, spinning, felting, dyeing or just generally stroking, anything goes. You can usually find us in the woods or up a hill, by the ocean's edge or climbing trees. Follow the little trail of yarn clippings and there we will be, me with some form of fibre in my bag at all times. #118 We try to live a simple, natural and holistic lifestyle, making sure that we connect to nature daily. Fairy tales and seeking out the enchanted in everyday life is a big part of our lives, as is plenty of craft and art. I am a new member of a medieval re-enactment group, the House of the Black Star and have met some amazing people through it. I have much to learn from them. In this blog I hope to inspire and share with you the things which inspire me. Feedback is always enjoyed and appreciated. Comments on my blog are always loved! I hope a little woodland magic makes you happy today! #037 Find me on facebook Ravelry Craftsy Etsy Pinterest
This entry was posted in craft adventures, Home Education, knitting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to The Trollen Wheel. What it is and a flat braid turorial.

  1. mudarissa says:

    Thank u for this. I’ll definitely b giving it a go-once I’ve made my trollen wheel:) just love the name too!

  2. Jane says:

    We visited the Jorvich Viking Centre in York where they were giving out little eight slotted cardboard Trollen Wheels (they didn’t mention the name, so thanks for that) to kids. My daughter enjoyed making a braid but hasn’t had the opportunity to make as second as Ive become obsessed and can’t put it down.

  3. Roslyn Pittoni says:

    I bought a Trollen Wheel at a Re-enactment Fair along with the instructions. Alas, I stored them separately and have now lost the instructions after discovering the wheel. Thanks to your guide, I hope to build up my own instruction booklet again.

  4. Julian says:

    I sell trollen Wheels and have linked to this page for the instructions on how to use it. Hope that’s okay.

  5. Donar says:

    Thanks for sharing this information.

    In the end, I think that anyone could agree that it is wrong to claim that something is historical without evidence. Maybe they were used in the early Medieval period, maybe they weren’t. Who knows? They will only be an anachronism until something proves their presence in any given time period.

  6. Jeannie says:

    Hello, I came across your blog quite by accident and am enthralled with the Trolley Wheel. I have been using a solid foam disk for Kumihimo to create beaded braids for bracelets and necklaces.
    Is there any information that the Trollen Wheel could be used to create flat braids?
    Thank you for sharing a small but of your life with us.

    • Hi, thank you – actually this particular braid is pretty flat but there are also quite a few tutorials and patterns out there. I think I remember one on YouTube too.
      Your bracelets sound lovely!

  7. Debby Rollins says:

    I just found your site with the trollen wheel and it looks like you could weave metal with this as well. The ‘viking’ bracelets that are woven would be fairly easy on this it seems. I have the kumihimo and I’ve made cardboard ones for the kids but I would love to find this one to try working with the wire. Thanks for sharing this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s