Chainmail is one thing I never thought I would do. Enter Valkyrie, stage left.
I decided that since Valkyries are often lightly armored, and I did not want to do plate or leather, chainmail was the way to go. So I turned to the trusty interwebs, ordered a sample kit of rings (there are square ones and rubber ones and all sorts!) and started thinking about the shape I wanted and how one would create this out of rings. I settled on a simple vest with no sleeves and a boat neckline.
I chose to do European 4in1, because it is a commonly used pattern throughout history, is relatively easy to learn and has a nice drape to it. I am using anodized aluminium rings because they are lighter than steel and I have no intention of going on a battlefield. The ring size is 16 gauge, 1/4 ” (wire gauge, inside diameter). I made a ‘tension square’ ( to use a knitting term), and calculated that it would take about 18, 290 rings. When the bag arrived, it weighed about 5 pounds.
To create my pattern I traced off a sewing pattern, minus 5/8 inch all round since chainmail does not have seam allowances. I was so proud of myself for remembering/realizing this! I then divided it up into rectangles and triangles. My thought was that I could make the rectangular parts first and fill in the triangles to make the neckline and armhole shaping. To my immense surprise, this is working quite well. I am now halfway through the back piece, and just filled in the corners. It is looking very much like the pattern. More to follow…
Shortly after starting the above project, I was working on it at lunchtime at work, and a colleague got very excited. It turns out she teaches jewellery classes and chainmail is one of her projects. So off I went to her next class and learned how to do a byzantine chain. I made a bracelet and earrings.
Now I’m using the byzantine pattern to make a chain for an amazing dragon pendant which I found at the Irwindale Renaissance faire. I chose bronze, gold and orange coloured rings, with the odd red one thrown in for interest. These rings are also anodized aluminium and are 18 gauge, 5/32″. This necklace will eventually be accessorized with a steampunk dress and hat.