How to Chain Your Dragon

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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

 

 

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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 😀

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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

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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

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Getting my Geek on…

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I’m a fiction-geek.

I fully admit it.  I’ve have two Klingon costumes in my closet, mourned when Firefly was taken off the air, fantasized about traveling through the Stargate, wanna find a blue box in my backyard, had a dream one time where I blended RHPS and LOTR and ended up with transvestite Hobbits dancing on top of a bar, and wonder when they’re going to make a movie about the Dragonriders of Pern.

I do geek well.

I’ve even gone to medieval-geek in my crafting with chainmaille.

This last weekend, instead of indulging in the Superbowl, I made another Byzantine chain, a special order I procured by wearing some of my stuff to the SQO’s Friday Night gig.  The drummer’s girlfriend saw my frosting, and simply HAD to have the denim lapis pendant I’d made…along with an 18 inch chain.

I wear most of my stuff on a 24″ chain because I like the extra length.

So stitch, stitch, stitch…weave, weave, weave.  Chainmaille – especially an easy pattern like Byzantine, is very soothing.  18 inches blossomed under my pliers in a pleasant afternoon of work.  I can’t wait to get this beauty in her hands…even if I WILL miss the denim Lapis stone.

I simply must remind myself – the lapis is going to a great home!

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To Infinity!

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A couple of weeks ago, a lady on my chainmaillers group on Facebook posted a video of a new creation she’d come up with.  Everyone ooo’d and ahhh’d and, with the fevor of hard-core creative types, requested (begged, pleaded, kowtowed, offered lavish sacrifice for) a tutorial become available.

Well, JUUUUST before Labor day – that tutorial suddenly appeared on the interwebz.  There were delays involving technical difficulties with recording the tutorial video, a LOT of Facebook stalking of that thread in our group, a few bitten fingernails (mostly mine, I can’t confirm the status of anyone else’s digits) and, overall, a lot of good-natured ribbing as we waited for the magic images.

The $12 bucks I threw at her tutorial was some of the best money I’ve spent on the web.

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She calls this pattern the ‘Infinity Rose.’

Damn…this thing is addictive – both to create, AND to play with.  So addictive, sadly, that I think I irritated a nerve.  The inner tip of my left ring finger has been slightly numb since Saturday evening.

My pliers are, for the moment, in the penalty (tool)box – waiting for some feeling to come back into my finger.  With most sprains, strains and body-irritations, time & rest is what heals things.

But I’ve NEVER wanted to chainmaille so bad in my LIFE!

On the other hand, a forced break from creation is allowing me to get some well-overdue listings for pieces up on Etsy.

Come see what I’ve been up to 😀

Disregard the sound – Roommates watching Futurama when I recorded this…