It's always fun, for me, to try new things and test new ideas. Sometimes, it can be daunting and not as easy to get started as it may seem at the beginning of the new task. I experienced a bit of this when I started making chainmaille. I have always found chainmaille interesting but the day I decided to start making my own, my journey down the proverbial rabbit hole began. Every time I learned something in my new hobby I found 10 more things that I needed to learn. It keeps everything interesting but can seem daunting. With these beginners posts I thought maybe I can attempt to streamline some of my initial, seemingly endless, hours of research to help aspiring apprentice chainmaillers. So, here is my first post, in what I hope becomes a series, of helpful beginning tips. I have found one of the most helpful things is clear and easy to understand tutorials. So, here is one of the websites that I found the most helpful and still use.
The website is really well designed and easy to navigate and the tutorials are beautifully designed and rendered in 3D computer graphics. There are other wonderful websites out there but I'm going to try and keep this simple today. *grin* Every different style of chainmaille is commonly referred to as a weave. I would say the most basic and common weave is called European 4 in 1. Not all of the names are exactly exciting. *grin* This is a good place to start weaving. Once European 4 in 1 is easy to understand then it is a little easier to branch out and learn other weaves and variations.
The second thing that is a good idea to learn right of the bat is aspect ratio. Aspect ratio is the relationship of the inner diameter (ID) of the ring vs. the wire diameter (WD) of the ring. Yep, there is math involved in making chainmaille. BUT, not too much! So, don't run away yet!! The aspect ratio (AR) is important because each weave has a minimum and maximum AR that lets us know immediately whether the ring sizes you want to use will work well or not. We can also guess how loose or tight the weave will end up. To find the AR, divide the ID by the WD. For example, the minimum AR for European 4 in 1 is about 3 and there is pretty much no maximum. If you are using rings that are close to the minimum AR, each ring will be close to each other and the weave with have a tight or dense appearance. If the ring are bigger and have a higher AR then the rings will not be as close and the weave will have a loose or less dense appearance. Each variation has it's own benefits and there really isn't a wrong way. It is not absolutely necessary to learn AR but I learned from personal experience that it will save a lot of time and failed experimentation to understand the AR from the get go. There is a good explanation of aspect ratio and another factor call springback in this article on CGMaille.com: Aspect Ratio Demystified
The last thing I would like to touch on today is supplies and their quality. I could write several post about this alone, and I probably will in the future, but today I will just list a few places I know that have decent to great quality supplies. I won't force my opinion about each location. I'll just list them and everyone can make their own informed opinion. *grin* Also, I would like to say that I believe quality is VERY important with chainmaille. The better the quality of the supplies you make your chainmaille with the better it will feel wearing it. Sometimes it takes a little effort or time but, it's worth it. Here are a few websites
This is by no means a complete list. Just a few places to get started.
Again, this is just a short intro. I hope it helps get anyone interested pointed in the right direction. My next beginners posts with be about actually constructing the weaves and how to properly open and close rings and how to get perfectly smooth closures. Stay tuned!