MOAR Chainmaille!

Just a quickie today…as I hear the pliers calling me even now.

 

I got to put the finishing touches on a couple of things.

 

Not content with JUST making cubes with the Shippo Tsunagi weave – I tried my hand at using a single long strand as a choker.  I think it turned out rather well.

Shippo Tsunagi Choker

A new conjure princess-choker also emerged:

Conjure E4-1 red and black

This is my first attempt at different colors in the European 4 in 1 weave, and I added that step in the weave I find so very fantastic.  Soon (as directed by purchases of colored rings) I see myself sitting down and crafting an inlay.

Lemme explain…

An inaly, as defined by the chainmaille community, is a simple sheet weave, usually E4-1, where a pattern is woven into the thing with different colored rings.  Some people out there are coming up with INSANELY detailed stuff:

 

And, maybe one day, I’ll be that detailed, too.  But for now – I think, once I’m ready to tackle a longer range project like an inlay, I’ll stick with something really simple.

Or maybe I’ll go back and finish the dragons…the gold guy still doesn’t have feet.

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Abracadabra – I Conjure a Pendant!

Look…I made a thing!

Conjure - 3 unit E4-1 choker

 

I have to admit – I dithered over purchasing this tutorial for the focal, called a Conjure Pendant, for about a month.  This weekend, I finally caved in and ordered it.

Now, I have two sides to buying tutorials for crafting stuff.  On the one side, I like to support someone else’s creative endeavors.  Not only are these people taking the time to craft a new way of weaving little metal rings together, but they’ve also dropped creation to take multiple photos and write up the do’s and don’ts of their particular creation.

I wrote out a tutorial once – it’s a whole ‘nother brand of insanity.

But…on the other side of random internet purchases…I hate to buy tutorials because I may not have the rings or stones on hand, which means a delay of a week or more to get rings in from TRL, or time and more temptation running to the beading shop in Brookfield, or just putting the tutorial in one of my files for ‘stuff I gotta get around to…’

That file is starting to get a bit large…

I’m blaming the chainmaillers group I belong to on Facebook for the purchase of the tutorial.  Too many people were posting too many pendants, earrings, and other bits and bobs featuring the Conjure pendant for me to resist the urge to get the damn thing and make some of my own.

So, I caved, and hit the purchase button on Saturday.

shocked-face

 

 

I HAVE RINGS IN THE RIGHT SIZE!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

*Insert celebratory dance here*

Out of respect to the author of the tutorial – I won’t go into detail on how I built the Conjure unit.  Once the pattern is in the hands, though – the units go together nice & smooth.  By the time I was on the 3rd pendant, I was fully ‘off’ the tutorial, and weaving in a way that made more sense to my own personal pair of hands.

Now that I had three little fully-encased gems – it was time for some fun.

First, I attached the three units together with short lengths of byzantine on either side.  Sure, I could have connected the units together with a single ring between the pairs, but what fun is that?  And I like the bubble effect it gives between the units.

I tried to craft a length of hoodoo for the chain – but that failed rather spectacularly.  I’ll just add hoodoo to the list of ‘stuff I gotta get around to.’

See…that list grows even with the right rings in stock…

But…I do know E4-1 quite well, and the sidewalls on the Conjure pendants were spaced like the pendant was created specifically to fit into an E4-1 sheet with my ring sizes in mind.

I just love when things work out like this 😀

I even struck gold on the clasp.  A couple of months ago, I bought a tube clasp for a different project.  That clasp turned out to be way too small for that project, and has been languishing in my parts bin since.  It fits this choker PERFECTLY.

 

So much for getting anything else done Sunday – I spent pretty much the entire day on this build.

Worth it!

Conjure units

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  🙂

 

The Art Abandonment Project – 2nd Drop

Art Abandonment logo

Soooo…there’s this group of people all around the world.  They’re artists, and their fervent wish is to spread a little beauty around this deeply troubled world.

I joined ’em.

My first drop was around two weeks ago – I went to one of the coffee shops in downtown Waukesha, and left a little dude behind.  I hope he’s brought a smile to the face of whomever adopted him.

 

Whirly Birds

 

This week, I packaged up 4 of my whirlys.  Two were dropped in Brookfield last Monday night, 3.20.17, due to an amazing coincidence with my recent post on hot dogs.

 

 

It’s pretty standard in the human mind, that once you bring a thing to mind, you mull over that recollection for days.  You might have dreams about it, you might want to re-live the entire scenario again in your head (selectively editing the situation in your imagination now that you know better…) or, if the recollection involves food – you’ll experience a fresh craving for it.

Well… I wrote my little ditty on hot dogs.  Mind you, I didn’t want the ketchup-flooded disaster of the past… I wanted some GOOD dogs.

Coarse grind, natural casings, a bit spicy, and a REALLY good grainy mustard to go with.

The kids came home from a trip to the grocery store that fateful Monday.  S announced she NEEDED hot dogs…but not the industrial sausages pumped out by the big food manufacturers…she needed the dogs they sell at our local Brennan’s.

Which just happen to be (yup…you guessed it…) the good dogs.

It was a good night.  Brennan’s always has a bunch of samples set up all over the store – various sauces, fresh veggies & fruits, and cheese.  It’s what they do.

Heart Whirly Bird Abandoned 3.20.17

 

So I got snacks at Brennan’s.  I got Mmmmmm-dogs.  Some spectacular grainy mustards…and an opportunity to stick a whirly on a tree lining the parking lot for the AA Project.

 

 

 

Open Whirly Bird Abandoned 3.20.17

 

Because the Brennan’s is in the same strip mall as Kopp’s Custard, (oh…look at that…I’ve also mentioned them!) I also got a pint of frozen custard for the SQO, and stealthily slipped into the dining area to hide a second whirly amongst their planters.

 

 

 

I like spreading smiles about my area.

 

Stop Dragon my Heart Around

Chainmaille Dragon Face close in

I’d like to introduce you all to my new pet, Drags.  He’s completely housebroken, will never dig up the back yard, hork a hairball in the middle of the hallway, or jump on your chest at 3am because he wants his food bowl filled.

I made a dragon out of chainmaille, and I’m bouncing between extremely pleased with myself, and disgusted with the amateurish results.

See – I look at the form, and see the flaws.  The back legs stick out JUUUUUST a bit too much.  The top-most scale likes to stick straight up, giving the guy an almost comical look.  He’s got a little bit of mutt and horse in him – I can see the alternate animal forms clearly.

the feet…are.  not.  claws.  Instead, he has cloven hooves.

And…really.  If he’s gonna be a DRAGON – he needs wings.

But I also look at the form, and see something wonderful.  The first time I’ve made an extremely complex 3D sculpture out of rings.

Without a tutorial.

He stands on his own.  His neck and body hold their shape.  He’s much more than a tube of interconnected bits which lay quiescent on a surface until you pick them up and arrange them with your hands.

The scary part?  Even though he’s a prototype with a multitude of errors in his construction – I’ve got friends at work who swear up and down they NEED one …. NAOW.

I do geek well.  One of my favorite geek-obsessions is the dragon.  It doesn’t matter if the form is European or Chinese – Fantasy or Tribal – I love ’em all.

I’m not alone.  I’ve seen a bunch of variations of dragons in maille since I took up pliers and started weaving rings…and what I’ve seen are variations on the same tutorial pattern out there on both the M.A.I.L. website and for sale at The Ring Lord.   Almost all the maille dragons I’ve seen images of on the web are unwired, meaning they flop about like any other chainmaille chain.  Most are completely snake-like without any limbs, although a few people have added stubby little sub-chains to suggest them.   I think I’ve seen one or two where the creators added a fan of scales to suggest wings…but nothing really SCREAMS dragon.

So I did my own thing.

I posted pictures of his construction on Facebook, of course – and everyone there seemed to enjoy his emergence.  So…with that in mind…I’m sharing here how my first boyo came together:

 

20170209_221518

 

I started with 2 identical lengths of Full Persian 6 in 1 (FP).  I attached the two together with a modified European 4 in 1 (E4-1) for the belly, and bound up the top half with shiny silver scales.

THAT…was the easy part.  A tube with scales.

 

 

The head – is a mess of weirdness.  Small patches of E6-1, box, the same eye construction I used for the face of the Dudes, and various random rings to stitch the piece together and attach to the body.  As I was building the head, I was also taking some good notes.  I should be able to duplicate the head at will.

 

chainmaille Dragon on sideOnce I had the head attached to the body, I threaded a length of copper wire through both the head and the body.  Secured it at the mouth and ass.  No floppy dragons here – he’s gonna be posable.

The tail is a simple length of FP again, with some scales at the tip.  At this point, I haven’t wired the tail, but I’m considering it for future builds.

 

The legs were tricky.

First, I spent a couple of hours playing with the cats (so they wouldn’t suspect I was staring at them) – because I needed to see actual legs -in action- on a 4 legged animal.  I wanted to know how they were attached.  How they were jointed.  How they flexed and flowed and were used for work and play.

I spent additional hours looking at images other people had drawn of dragon legs…but it wasn’t as much fun as playing with the furballs.

Slowly, the bends in the limbs started to form.  The weave I used for the legs is a fairly simple 4-ring bead capture…with some additional ring-weirdness at the joints.  I strung additional wire through the beads (and, thus, through the legs) for stability.  The guy can’t stand on his own with weak legs!

I think I tore off the front legs 3 times.

20170202_112156Now came the toes.  I tried several variations of wire-form feet that died on the craft table before ever coming in contact with Drags, and ended up with stubby toes with the beads shown.  I am still working on proper clawed appendages for the dragon at this point.

His brothers…WILL…have claws.

 

Don’t worry – the design is still in various stages of modification.  Horns, claws & wings are all ideas at this point…as is a full Chinese style dragon.

Stay tuned for more dragon work!

Chainmaille Dragon Final 2