Ducks, Clocks, Sunshine and Bananas

I make no apologies for the content of this post…I need to drain the brain, such as it were, so be warned…weirdness inside…

now that I’ve scared off the timid… 

Last night, I went to my favorite ring vendor to drool, dream, and torture my credit card.  What do I see front and center?


The duckies are spreading 😀

And how appropriate – for a Tweet to appear featuring one of them?  Maybe I can convince Twitter to start calling them ‘Quacks’ instead of ‘tweets?’

To celebrate, I went to my Etsy account, and scheduled a sale…from March 22nd to the 29th, I’ll be knocking off 15% of the sale price of any of the Duck YEAH sculptures listed on the site, so I can spread them far and wide.



And, in COMPLETELY unrelated news…we’ve shifted our clocks again to be on daylight savings time.  Not sure what daylight I’m saving by this move (as far as I can tell, the sun shines the length of time it’s gonna shine no matter what our clocks say…), and I’ve gone from getting out of bed while the sun is JUUUUST peeking around the buildings to it being dark and cold again.  I’m sure there was some little toadie in some office somewhere in this country who thought it would be nice to get up BEFORE the sun, and everyone should be so ‘lucky.’

To which I say “Dude…get a damn cat, and leave the food bowls empty overnight.”  I can guarantee you’ll be getting up at Feed-me-O’Clock and the rest of us can sleep in!



And…slightly related but yea, that’s a stretch here…I had a hard time falling to sleep last night, partly because of the yearly issue with the aforementioned clocks and sun, but also because I had an earworm running rather loudly in my head.

The fun part (or annoying, as this one was chasing off the illusive ZZZ’s…) it the worms were singing it wrong.  I now am utterly convinced there’s a line in Weird Al’s ‘Tacky” song that goes…

“banana-flavored love machine…”


I may have to step away from the iPod for a few days…


Visions of a Celtic Bastard


Wow…that’s a weird title…

It’s also the name of a brand new – never before configured – chainmaille weave.

And I’m the one who did it  😀

insert bragging rights here…

See…I had an idea.

Yea…me & ideas.  Usually make the household run for the hills…

I’ve been playing with Celtic Visions, which is the core chain weave used to make those little flowers I’d been messing about with.

These…for a refresher…Single Unit

I took the flower form, and turned it into the balls I then gifted for the holiday.

Here…have a ball…

On Hook

And it’s also featured quite heavily in the holey grail/Tree of Life forms I’ve been developing…

Soooo…with this weave currently occupying the ‘hot seat’ in my head…

The muses LOVE to muck about with that hot seat stuff…

I really, REALLY wanted to sheet the weave.

‘Sheeting’ a weave, in chainmaille terminology, is when you add additional rows to a chain weave to make a larger-than-a-single-row chain of any chainmaille pattern.  Useful for making armor, belts, bags, and other sculptural elements out of little metal rings.

If you haven’t already guessed, I’ve got a rather large weakness for sculpture made outta those little metal rings…


So, with the Muses fully fueled with starches (well, it WAS the holidays, and I DID cheat more than just a bit on the Keto thing…) and pliers in hand, I started to play with the pattern.




Dutifully, I posted a shot of the weave on my chainmailler’s group on Facebook, looking for someone to ‘name’ the weave.   See…I figured if my logic strings wandered along these easy pathways, someone HAD to have configured this weave before, and I wanted to give it the proper name.

The enthusiasts I associate with in my group are big on keeping the names of patterns ‘pure.’  No sense in having a dozen names for the same damn weave, after all.  We often quote the website M.A.I.L. as the leading repository of weave names, descriptions, and a LOT of tutorials.

Imagine my surprise when I find out this new weave does NOT appear anywhere on the M.A.I.L. website….

That means I get to claim it and name it.

In my mind, calling it ‘Visions of a Celtic Bastard’ is perfect, because that’s essentially what I did – I bastardized the original Celtic Visions weave simply by dropping one ring out of the chain form, and stabilizing it once it spreads to a sheet form.


My chainmailler’s group has gone completely berserk over this new weave.  So far, I’ve had multiple deman…er…requests for a tutorial.  Someone wants to take the weave and make a ‘badass guitar strap,’ someone else has suggested it would make a fantastic watch band, and yet another wants to do a complete chainmaille vest outta the stuff.

So…if you don’t hear from me for a bit, I’m currently ‘chained’ to my computer, writing a how-to for a new weave.


At any rate…it’s purdy 😀



This started as a little lark about a month ago.

Single Unit

The chainmaille form is called the Celtic Star.  Basically, it’s a short length of Celtic Visions (WHERE do we maillers come up with these weird names???) chain circled around to join with itself and all the outside frilly bits tied up nicely with additional rings.

Well, I attached a couple of these stars together.   And…meh.  Took that apart, and attached a different way.  That’s when the muse woke up.

Day 8

Why is there a voice in my head right at this very moment screaming “DUCK AND COVER!”?

See – the 4 flowery forms had attached in a configuration that was VERY familiar.

So I rather quickly built up 2 more stars, and put them in juuuuuust the right spots.

Half Ball


I had half a dodecahedron…my favorite little 12-sided Platonic Solid.

I liked this form so much, I immediately went out (well, in…as most of my jumpring suppliers are online) and got the right size rings in bright red and green.  I was making ornaments for the SQO’s family for Christmas.

Look pretty, no?

On Hook


How to Chain Your Dragon


I did it…I got the tutorial done for my dragon design.

YEA, ME!!!!


It was a monster of a project – almost as monstrous as all the design work that went into the form.  I lost sight of the actual photo count by the time I finished (added a few last minute shots, dropped a few others) but I had 251 pixs edited and lined up by the time I’d finished the photo work phase.

The final page count for the tutorial is 79 – but most of that space is taken up by the pictures.  It ended up a HUGE file in my hard drive.

Now, I’m no stranger to writing (duh!).  I’ve done ‘how to’s’ for employers in the past as they attempted to document JUST how a certain job is performed.  The writing of those little guides were usually dry, cold, impersonal and boring as hell, because there were higher-up’s involved who wouldn’t know a humorous phrase if it came up off the page and bit their noses off.

When I started the dragon tutorial, this was how the writing ‘clicked,’ because that’s my past experience with guides…a very ‘business impersonal’ style.

Took me a moment to realize what I was doing – and scrap the first draft.  I didn’t need to impersonalize this work, because there were no higher-ups between me and the publishing button.  The ONLY thing that would stop me from inserting my personality into this work was ME.

Can you see me cackling madly at my keyboard, yet?

If you want to make a dragon of your very own – here’s the listing:

How to Chain Your Dragon (a tutorial)

And if you want a dragon withOUT all the mucking about with pliers and little metal rings – I’ll make one for you:

My Pet Dragon

Chainmaille Dragon Face close in




Pair -o- Dice

I did a thing…

Chainmaille Dice

I felt the need for a little something hanging from the rear-view mirror of my car…and a good friend in the Chainmailler’s group just happened to write up a tutorial for a delightful little 6 sided cube with spots 😀





These should look absolutely fantastic in my car…I even offered up a blood sacrifice to the chainmaille Gods to insure it…







And – because everyone should have a pair – I stuck ’em on my Etsy page, as well…

Too fun!



Leg Day


I have a couple of Facebook friends who are gym rats.

You know the type – they post their little check-ins when they get to the gym of their choice – because if you don’t check in with Facebook, it doesn’t ‘count.’  They detail how many reps they did of this exercise or that one, and how fabulous they look.  Sometimes, they offer up complaints of this soreness or that one from their exertions, anecdotes of locker room hysteria, or even “This guy was appreciative of my quads…maybe I should have asked for his number…”

Gym life…is actually a LIFE, complete with highs and lows and social expectations and anxieties.

Now, the Gym Life isn’t for me, but those who commit to this discipline are still having a damn good LIFE.  If the endorphin rush you get from repeatedly stressing your body to its muscular limits makes you happy…fabulous.  Keep at it, and don’t let anyone dissuade you from enjoying yourself.

Now that I’ve laid the groundwork…

I have this one friend who is a gym rat.  He posts often enough about Leg Day.

Leg Day.  You hate leg day, but you never skip leg day…because it’s LEG Day!


Chainmaille Dragon Legs CIR



Here’s how I do leg day.


I don’t hate leg day, though – I enjoy it…because that means my dragons can stand on their own.



I’m trying a different weave for my dragons’ legs.  Before, I’ve used a captured bead frame, and wired the legs for stability.  Earlier this week, I dug out the tutorial for Captive Inverted Round (CIR) and made a couple of short strands to experiment with.

I’m loving CIR.  It’s a bit of a fussy weave, and the three connection/terminus points may make for a new challenge in attaching the leg to the body – but the weave is structural on its own, without the need for wire support.

I need another leg day to continue my experiments.  With all the household stuff (laundry, groceries, dishes) and having a voting day and the SQO’s mother’s birthday this week, I’ve been banned from my workbench for anything longer than a few minutes to glance longingly at the leg bits and half-constructed dragon form.

I might just have to go to the gym  🙂



European 4 in 1 Chainmaille Weave


It’s a lovely little weave – most chainmail enthusiasts will call it the ‘beginners weave of beginner’s weaves.’  A LOT of folks start their maille-crafting with this one.

It’s easy enough, I’ll give it that.  Each center-ring in the pattern goes through 4 other rings (which is why it’s called 4 in 1).  It’s easy enough to expand the single-length chain into a sheet weave by adding new rows to your existing one.  You can even collapse a 3-ring strand of it in on itself, add a 2nd row of center rings to stitch up the back and make a box chain out of it.

People usually use this versatile pattern to make all the maille wear you see – shirts, belts, gloves & skirts. Making this weave into an expanding circle will give you the bottom for dice bags and the tops of coifs (those maille caps worn under a more solid helmet).  Some people make thick chokers from this pattern, and because of the extreme flexibility of this weave, you can use it for sculptural applications as well, making triangular patches to stitch together.  Most of the folk doing inlay work (think cross-stitch with little metal rings instead of embroidery knots) also use E 4-1 as their main pattern.

A whirly group shot

My Whirly pattern is based off a slightly bastardized version of E 4-1.

European 4 in 1 is the common textile sheet of the chainmaille world.

Now…I’ve only been doing chainmaille for a year and a half, and I’ve only ever built a E 4-1 chain twice.  Both were single-strand lengths of chain, and I hated them both.

At the single-strand formation, the end rings are waaaaay too flippy.  They pop out of place.  They twist backwards.  The weave is NOT stable.

I started mailling instead with byzantine – another beginner’s pattern (and still a pattern I love to this day), and went forward from that into circular chains (the Persian and Turkish lines, mainly) because those are patterns are all stable within a short length.  You can even make a box chain by starting with Byzantine instead of E 4-1.  And, damn it…Byzantine is easier to freaking TYPE.

Chainmaille Dragon Face close in

Well, I’ve wanted to make wings for my little dragon for quite some time…because a dragon just HAS to have wings.  It’s what makes him so majestic and terrifying and stuff.  A dragon without wings has more in common with a horse or a dog than a flying, fire-breathing, terrifying reptile swooping down out of the sky like death on wings.  So I sat myself down this weekend, and decided to make a patch of this ever-so-versatile weave to see if that would get the job done.


Remember, I said E 4-1 can fold over onto itself and make a box chain once you stitch up the back end…so the burning question that sat me down to tackle this versatile-but-I-don’t-like-it weave was:  What would happen if I boxed up individual 3-row sections of the sheet weave?  In my head, I could see such a configuration looking a LOT like the skeletal structure within wings.

So I sat down this weekend, and wove my first sections of E 4-1 sheet.  2 sheets of rings 6 sets-of-3 wide by 27 rows deep.  350-ish rings per patch.  Just the right size for my little dragon to have wings.

I must say, I have to revise my position on the weave.  In a sheet, the entire pattern stabilizes.  The thing no longer wants to curl up, the ends no longer flip-flop around like a fish on the deck.

But the whole box chain within E 4-1 thing?  Well…that needs some more work.   Guess my imagination is more vivid than the rings will allow me…

Dragon Wings:  1.   Me:  0.  

For now

700-ish rings now locked in a pattern with no place to go but the ‘Well, THAT didn’t work’ pile, and no real will to tear it all out.

Maybe I’ll stitch the pair together and make a coaster out of it…someday.