This is a post for all those interested in chainmaille but not quite sure where to begin. Look no further, this is a great place to start, with a discussion on basic chains. I picked these two because they are simple and relatively the same, so if you can master one, you will definitely be able to master the other.
Chainmaille itself isn’t hard, it’s more repetitive than anything else. It’s very much like knitting, just with rings. Everything follows a set pattern.
For most chainmaille you are going to need two pairs of jewelry pliers and a lot of rings. For this example and for learning I was using 18g rings. These are a bit too large but easy to see as an example, so for my next batch of jewelry I will be moving to a slightly smaller 16 1/4 ring and after that 18g 5/32.
For supplies, I recommend The Ring Lord because they have good prices and ship extremely fast in Canada. The site can be a bit tricky to navigate, but all your supplies are there and they sell instructions for different chains.
Another good stop is Weave Got Maille. The kits cost more, but have everything you need to make a project(except pliers). Perfect if you aren’t quite sure what to buy. I linked one below for a 4 in 1 but they do have other colour options.
Since these sites do offer detailed instructions this won’t be so much a “how to” as much as a comparison and look at each chain. Again, both are similar so if you can understand the pattern and logic it should be very easy to do either one. For both, it’s easiest to pre open and pre close a bunch of rings before starting to keep things moving quickly. In the examples below the green ring would be the open ring and the silver would be the closed rings.
The European 4 in 1
The 4 in 1 chain is probably the most recognized and one of the simplest chain to create. The middle ring goes through two rings on each side. For an example I used a green ring for the middle to make it easier to see. The green rings are the ones with four rings chained. As you add a middle green ring, you would also add two closed rings to keep the chain going.
This chain can easily have additional rows added to it. To add another row, take an open ring and bring it through two closed silver rings and add two silver rings. Then to continue the pattern, place another green ring to the three surrounding silver rings and add a silver ring. That may sound confusing, just keep in mind each green ring should be linked to 4 silver rings. Once you have that down, you can make a chain as wide as you’d like.
The European 6 in 1
For this one, the first ring would start with six silver rings attached to the green then to keep the chain moving you would add two silver and one green. The only difference in this pattern is that the green ring would go through four rings before adding the two new ones. The process for this is almost identical to the 4 in one. Since this is a tighter chain, it can be a bit more challenging to put together giving it a unique look to the 4 in 1. This chain can also add a row, personally I usually don’t widen it, just because of the amount of rings it takes.
These two different chains are both very achievable for a beginner. It may take a while to get the rhythm but once you do it will move quite quickly so don’t get discouraged. Perfect for jewelry and also a starting point for larger pieces. Once you get the hang of it I guarantee you will fall in love with it.