Friday, May 15, 2015

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue...

...and it's not about a wedding!

Something Old:  It's a very old craft
Something New:  I am learning it as a new craft
Something Borrowed:  I started with a borrowed lesson sheet
Something Blue:  and here you go →→→→→→

I guess it was just a progression from my recent need to attach one ring to another, which I had been doing for a while now.  I have been making 2 in 2 chains from anodized titanium and niobium.

One of the things I couldn't get away from was the fact that even though I was making chainmail (maille) kinda', it still wasn't real chainmaille. Well OK, it is, but it's not... it's not!  It is chain, it is a recognized weave...of sorts, but it's not what one sees if they search for chainmaille/mail (and another thing, I know it is technically called "mail" but the peeps I hang with, will automatically see postal mail in their minds if I keep saying mail).  So, I will add the 'chain' in front; and since my supplier is in the eastern side of Canada, they're technically French Canadian, so I am calling it the french way: Chainmaille.  

So, I bit the bullet and decided to learn about real chain maille.  I bought a "kit" from my supplier and invested some internet time (OK let's call it what it is, I invested some 'google time') and learned chainmaille!  
So here are my first pieces of chainmaille:  
Byzantine Weave

Once I had the works down in my brain; once I could see it, and I mean really see it from the inside out, I set out to do some patterns. As it ends up, by my second try, I was mixing things up.  I will explain as I go down the page to the best of my non-maille lingo (since I really don't have any idea about terminology maillers actually use), I will describe things in ways that I hope the average reader can easily digest merely by looking at the item.

Due to my ignorance about maille terminology, I will expain how I see it here. If you look into the rings, at the pattern (the part that looks like a snake's back), you'll see a pair of doubled rings first facing outward then laying sideways.  I call those the connector rings, which hold sets of rings together. In this case, they're black.

This is how it starts.

My kit came with two colors of rings; black and a choice of one second color.  Since I am a colorful person, and from an Oregon State College family, I chose orange.  Black and Orange. All of the rings are rounded.  I followed instructions and I seemed to get it right.  So I changed it up by making different orders of rings, then I brought out the square rings.  And the colors.  My square ring shades:  red, gold, green and blue. (square rings come later)

In chainmaille an AR is used. AR stands for Aspect Ratio. I am still not really sure what that means except I think it has something to do with how the weave holds itself up (or falls flat) depending upon the inner diameter of the rings used, in relation to the thickness of each ring.  I am sure that as I go along it will fall together in one huge Ah-Ha, or lightbulb moment for me.  I get a lot of that, usually after the fact. 

So these are my first!

On this bracelet, I used the orange rings every time I was placing the connector rings together.

From different angles the connectors are easier to be seen, and I describe this as 'Black with Orange.' Or in brain speak: most black least orange  I see the orange as peeking out from the black. One third of the volume of rings.  It's just how I see things.

Black with Orange
Next, I switched it up to Orange with black, which is the opposite version of the bracelet above. I really like the light shade in front of the connectors, but then I also like the flash of color that can peek out from inside the ring weave. Ah well, I go on...

These rings are 5/32's

Orange with Black
It's very snake-like, like a diamond back!

Orange with Black
After finishing the above bracelets I decided to try alternating the colors, which is probably the best pattern for alumni collectors like the ones in my family (one of which bought this immediately upon listing), and for this I used only one shade for each group at a time.  And this I call Orange and Black (or Black and Orange) Alt.  The word "and" is the key for me. It means balanced or even color amounts.
Orange and Black Alt

Then the square rings came out and I made my first colored bracelet  Oh, did I not mention that all except one color of my square rings were one size larger than my kit's rings?

So here, after I had figured out what was happening, I introduced the square rings, and had an awakening moment regarding that term I used AR (aspect ratio). I didn't really run into any size issues until I had finished the colored section, and going back to black round rings that I noticed how they were a bit tighter to fit together.  I have things to learn.

So the green rings are the connector rings.  This is  how my brain works. In this pattern I alternated colors each time yet the connectors stayed green.

 I love the way the chain takes a rope effect!

Next, I decided to attempt a different effect. It took me awhile and the only descriptive name I can give this is 'coral snake' or perhaps:  "red next to yellow, you're a dead fellow."

Coral Snake

I'll be making more of these in other colors

Coral Snake
For the next pattern I once again mixed the square rings with the round rings, however the red rings  are the same size as the kit's rings.  I used the square red rings as connector rings and the black rings as the weave rings.  So it's 'Black with Red'
Black with red

Black with red and an extender for adjustability

So this is where I ended, oh, except that I also made earrings to match, but I am not going to bring them in now, however I did accidently discover a box weave when I made an error.  So, I guess that's where I am headed next, to the a box weave, when I get my new assortment of rings in the mail.....

I found out that this is called a basic 2in2 chain.  I also saw it named 2 in 4 chain, meaning 2 rings hold 2 rings at each end, so it 4 rings held by 2.  Get it?  2 in 2 seems much more descriptive.

Rainbow Niobium Bracelet
Anodized niobium with extender and bauble.

Handmade niobium hook clasp

I can't wait to get my shipment of new rings, because I have some ideas to try!
Thanks for reading this.  Feel free to comment.