Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Finding chain maille for the first time

Byzantine chain maille weave bracelet
I finished my last post with this photo of a Byzantine chain maille weave bracelet that I made recently.

I have seen chain maille before, primarily used for making armour for re-enacting various battles, and once I got to try making a very basic sheet of maille from copper rings at a convention.

Last year I was looking for chain maille instruction sources on the Web, I found a few but found the instructions difficult to follow, so I kept looking. At some point I spotted a book on Amazon that looked interesting so I picked up a copy (when I remember to get the details together I'll put the name up here).

From this book I learnt about making jump rings, the basic building block of all chain maille creations, and about the Byzantine weave. From what I can tell the weave is not named for having been used in the Byzantine world, it is a much more recent creation than that.

I find that I love the Byzantine weave as it is deceptively simple (to me anyway) and it grows at a good rate when being made. I can easily sit in front of the TV and make sections with no problems.

I made nearly all the pieces of jewellery in the book from silver plated wire that I had cut into jump rings.

Those early jump rings are very rough in cut and sizing and I have since learnt that the sizing especially is very important when creating chain maille pieces as the slightest variation in size and affect the lie of the rings once woven together. Some weaves rely on an inner diameter of a ring leaving only just enough space for the other rings to fit inside so that the structure of the weave grows correctly, more about those later.

More another time

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