Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Homage to Anne Mitchell Part 2

Instructions are tricky and often it depends on the student. I've found I have one guidebook I always go to when I'm having trouble following a beadwork designer's pattern (the Art and Elegance of Beadweaving) and the same is true for chainmaille. Although Anne is not the only source for chainmaille I use, I do find myself referring to her booklet, Chain Making Techniques, quite often. I also refer to the site,, for instructions, clarification, and variations.

two pictures are kits my friend Loretta purchased at the show and I made for her (Italian Links and Crystal Corduroy). We have a great relationship that way, I get to keep the leftover rings and instructions to make something for myself, and she gets the original. I didn't care for the Crystal Corduroy at first, it flips over on your wrist and the wire shows. I eliminated the second problem by adding seed beads between the crystals to hide the wire. Replacing the toggle with a box clasp made all the difference in minimizing the flipping.

The last bracelet (Xox Overlay) is taking chainmaille to the next level. For this bracelet I made my own jump rings. What did I learn from this? I don't like making jump rings. The waste involved was too much for my psyche (kinda like some play the stock market, some can't take it!). I'm very proud of the result and make my own rings when small quantities are involved. I also learned that toggles do work in some weaves, the overlap of rings hide the chain on the bar when the bracelet is closed. I also love mixing silver and copper. Not only does it save money, but you always have a two tone effect. I achieved this before by oxidizing half my silver. Unfortunately, a few times in the tumbler would eventually reduce the effect of the oxidation. With copper, it oxidizes naturally. Tumbling brings back the shinny penny color, but in no time you get nice variations of brown again. When the brown gets dull, you tumble again.

In my next posting, I'll include pictures of some of my other pieces and a list of my favorite suppliers for kits, jumprings, and instructions....then we'll move on to beadweaving.

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