Tutorial – Trollen weaving

This is a form of weaving to make braids that we were shown by a friend’s daughter some years ago. The daughter was interested in archaeology and brought this method back from a dig. I’m told it dates to Saxon times but I haven’t researched this. I do know that it’s fun, simple and has kept my daughter entertained for hours.

1. Make a trollen
You can use cardboard, plastic (lids from Pringle tubes are great) or hardboard like mine. Make a small hole in the centre and cut in 8 slots at equal  spaces around the edge. They only need to be small cuts.

2. Setting up
Cut 7 equal length threads. I’ve used multi coloured yarns but they can be all one colour or any combination you wish. The thicker the thread the thicker the finished braid. Begin with a thread no longer than a foot (30cm) long until you get the hand of it. That way I hope you won’t get too tangled up.

Push one end of the threads through the central hole and tie in a knot. Flip back to the top and arrange the threads into the slots. There should be one empty slot.

Hold the trollen in your left hand with the empty slot towards you. With your right hand, count three threads up on the right (anti clockwise) remove it from the slot and put it into the empty slot.

Now hold the trollen in your right hand.The empty slot will be at about 1 o’clock. With your left hand count three threads to the left of the slot (anti-clockwise) and move that thread into the empty slot.

Just keep repeating these actions until the thread is used up has just small ends hanging over the edge.Remove the threads from the trollen,  pull the braid free of the trollen and tie a knot in the end. Finished!

As you work you will need to make sure the threads hanging down don’t get tangled. Every second time that I move a thread I then run my hand down the full length of the spare thread. This separates it from it’s neighbours and prevents tangling.

I’m sure you can think of many but just like French Knitting you can twist the braids into a circle, sewing them as you go and use as coasters etc. We’ve successfully used them for hair accessories, belts and handbag handles to name a few. Big fat ones makes great snakes for younger children.


3 Replies to “Tutorial – Trollen weaving”

  1. Thank you for the tutorial.
    I had been taught years ago but forgot how to create the braids. This has reminded me.
    In the process of creating a braid in black, purple and gold as per your instructions. Looking good so far.


  2. Thankyou so much for this easy to follow instruction. We had an initial lesson at a museum event and had searched the internet for hours not realising we were spelling it incorrectly as we had been told ‘trolling’. So its great to be able to remind ourselves how to carry on.

  3. Thank you for showing me how to use a Trollen Wheel Angela. I have just seen a Braiding demonstration at Bodiam Castle. It was hard remembering exactly how it was used. I have just made one and will try using it soon. Take care now. Marion

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