I have been working with chain mail for a number of years now. I started off learning how to make steel butted mail armour (this is where the individual rings aren’t sealed together, simply pressed together) in the original European 4 in 1 style. This is a simple pattern where each right is connected with 4 other rings. You make sets of 5 rings, one open and four closed, close the fifth ring and repeat. Once you have a pile of these sets, you line them up and connect them together to make long chains. The chains get connected together into sheets and the sheets make the base of the armour.
Becoming frustrated with the length of time it takes to get results from the armour combined with the lack of flexibility in the patterns I was working from sent me on a search for something more creative that also filled my need for complex and intricate designs. There were numerous styles of chain mail armour I tried (8 in 1, dragon scale, 12 in 2 and scale mail to name a few) but all of them fell flat. Yes, they were fun to make on a small scale but the hundreds of hours needed to put into each piece simply wasn’t doable. As with all experiments, though, there was a silver lining; I found that I loved the fine work of some of the fringes in the larger pieces. This grew into working with smaller rings (16 – 20 ga with an internal diameter of 7 – 4 mm) and only doing the detailed work. This love of detailed work lead directly to working with jewelry patterns and introduced a huge range of colours to my work.
Colours and Metals
Currently I’m working in aluminium as it comes in a wide range of colours. I can also get hold of the following metals:
Silver (plated and sterling)
All of my materials come from the fantastic people at Aussie Maille, who also very kindly let me use their images on the blog. You can also find them on Facebook. If you haven’t already, check them out. It’s amazing to have resources of this quality right on our doorstep!
A repeating pattern of two sets of four rings, forming a box shape connected by two rings.
This combines a central run of European 8 in 1 with 6 in 1 running along each of the sides. The result is a tight weave that allows for enough movement to create a cuff. The pattern also allows for the addition of different colours along the bands to add more impact.