Wednesday, September 10, 2014
You've Got Chain Mail!
Awesome news! I'm making chain mail for the first time!
I've loved all things medieval for years, especially knights, armor, weapons, and dragons. When I found out how one of my favorite authors, Christopher Paolini, makes his own chain mail, I thought that was pretty cool. I didn't think that I could actually buy the supplies online for making it myself and find it inexpensive. So... for a long while I just left the fun to him.
But then it finally made me curious. I looked up how much the stuff was on Amazon.com, and I was surprised that it wasn't all that bad in price. So, excited, I bought a 1 pound bag of chain mail rings, a pair of bent-nosed pliers, and a closing and opening tool (it's basically a ring you put on your finger that has slits in it).
After it came in the mail, I went to work on it, thrilled.
Unfortunately, I kept getting the pattern wrong. Four times.
I told a librarian co-worker about it the next day (I work as a Children's Page), and she told me that we had books on making chain mail jewelry. I immediately found one and checked it out.
That evening, I set to work, following by the most basic steps, and gladly found it to be quite easy.
It took me two days to turn a 1/4 pound of rings into a hand/arm piece that extended from my knuckles to 2 inches from my elbow. Now you know I'm addicted to making chain mail. ;-D
My first attempt: A little, tangled mess!
My second attempt: Ummm... that's pretty, but not actual chain mail. It's more like connecting one at a time like some bracelet!
Not enough rings!
Well, what'dya know! Sweetie is here to join the photo shoot! Nice teeth! She likes to follow me everywhere (at home) and stay close to me, so I often capture pics like this.
I was excited in the picture, but the more I thought about it afterwards, the more I realized something was wrong with it.
My work space! It's also the desk where I do my writing. You can see my dinosaur I write on (2005 Sony VAIO). On the right is the book I checked out: Chain Mail Jewelry: Contemporary Designs from Classic Techniques by Terry Taylor (2006).
That's two rows of connected ringlets. Each ringlet contains one center ring surrounded by four rings, creating a four-leaf clover shape. I've attached paper clips to one end and squished them in between the dinosaur and some papers and the book. This helps me to keep the rows still when I'm carefully attaching the connecting rings in between each ringlet. It takes some level of patience and care. Haha! "Chain Mail Jew" (No joke. There's actually a chain mail Jew in the pic. Look at the book.) (...and no, I'm not making fun of Jews. I've had four or five good friends in my life who were Jewish.).
Er, I mean... TO WAR!!!
No! It's not long enough. Must make it longer!
My original plan was to make a chain mail bracelet, but as I attached the rings together, I put it on to make sure I had the rings in right and accidentally slipped my thumb through the hole. Right then, I had a better idea to make an arm glove thing instead.
And yes. I do have a sword. Three of them, in fact. One's a wooden katana I got at Akicon one year, and the other two are gifts from an awesome cousin. (I shall show more gratitude by making you something chain mail, Sara!)
Connecting more rows to it....
Hey! It's looking pretty nice, already!
Uh oh. What did I do? WHAT DID I DO??? *frustrated* It's not connecting together right. I needed to add more rings because my arm has more muscle near the elbow, but somewhere I goofed up the pattern. It's likely in several places. Ugh. I need to take a break.
It's been three days now since I got frustrated. I'll go back and continue once I simmer down. Normally it'd take me a week or more (or months... or years) to get back to what I was doing, but since this really is fun, I don't want to give up.
...To be continued.