This week's Facebook Live Video focused on the Beadalon/Artistic Wire Chain Maille program. Lauren Andersen, the Chain Maille Lady, was instrumental in helping us set up the program that I think is a great way to begin your Chain Maille journey. Chain Maille can get a little complicated once you get into things like Aspect Ratio, Inner Diameter, Outer Diameter, etc. These terms basically mean that the rings are going to WORK with the particular weave that you've chosen. Beadalon/Artistic Wire has taken all of the guesswork (and math) out of the equation, and put together a program where we tell you which rings and gauges that you need to make each weave. I reference this handy chart every time that I'm ready to start a project. I just pick the weave that I'm going to make, check the chart for which gauge and size, pick my color, and I'm ready to roll.
You can also make your own rings in any color that you wish using Artistic Wire and Ring Mandrels. That's a video for another time, but I love that you can take these little rings and put them together in a meditative and calming way and make beautiful jewelry that you can embellish with beads.
I use Lauren's Snub Nose Pliers, Curved Chain Nose Pliers and/or Flat Nose Pliers to open and close my rings. There are lots of pliers out there, and you'll probably want to try a bunch to see which ones you like best for weaving Chain Maille. You'll need two pairs of Pliers, one in each hand. Grasp the ring on each side of the cut and use a back and forth motion to wiggle the sides together until you hear the "click". That lets you know that the two sides have joined together appropriately. Depending on what weave you're doing, you'll want to open and close a bunch of rings before you start.
In the video, I tackle European 4-1, Parallel/Helm's Weave, and (slightly less successfully) Half-Persian 3 in 1. Lesson learned - double check your aspect ratio before starting a demonstration. Chain Maille can definitely be complicated, but Lauren Andersen breaks it down really well in her booklets Beginning Chain Maille and Advanced Chain Maille which we also combined into a book, Basic & Advanced Chain Maille. As in all challenging techniques, practice makes progress!
I hope that these short demonstrations helped inspire your interest in trying your hand at some Chain Maille. You can find the whole program laid out on the Beadalon website. Have fun with it and don't forget to post your creations on the Beadalon Facebook Page.