Easy European 4-in-1 Chain Maille Technique

Perhaps it's my inner ADD child, or maybe it's just part of being a creative person, but I get sidetracked very easily. For example, I was tech editing Lynn Davy's project for the October/November 2011 issue of Beadwork magazine last week. Lynn's necklace design incorporates a strap that's stitched to look like chain maille. "What kind of chain maille pattern is this?" questioned my inner child. "Not sure you've actually done this one, Jean," said my inner child as she grabbed the mouse from my tech-editing brain and started surfing the Web. Click, click, click. Research, research, research. "Ah, it's the European 4-in-1 technique that was often used to make a fabric of chain for warriors' tunics," my inner child explains as she pulled my helpless self to the workbench. Before I knew it, I was miles away from editing Lynn's fantastic piece and hunkered over a bunch of jump rings and a pair of chain-nose pliers to figure out how this technique is done.

Though I have an attention-deficit side, I'm also quite prudent, so I figure I'll redeem my inner child's naughty "playing while working" folly with a practical tutorial on how this wonderful ancient technique is done:

1) Use one open jump ring to connect four closed jump rings. Use two pairs of chain-nose pliers to close the ring so the seam is even and tight.


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2) Lay the jump rings on the work surface in this configuration. The connector ring from Step 1 should sit in the center and the four rings should sit at the upper left, lower left, upper right, and lower right.

3) Use one open jump ring to connect two closed jump rings. Don't close the ring yet.


4) Leaving the five jump rings from Step 2 in their configuration, use the open jump ring from Step 3 to connect the lower right and upper right rings. Close the ring. Repeat Step 3 and 4 to continue to connect the two right-side edge rings, lengthening the chain maille strip. Widen the strip by making a second strip and connecting the side rings with more rings.

How did that go? Pretty easy, eh? This technique is great for making chain fabric as for a purse, and I've even seen a little jacket done this way! Does this easy technique give you the chain maille bug? If so, check out Scott David Plumlee's new DVD, Make Chain Maille Jewelry. It includes great step-by-step instructions for making single, double, and Byzantine chain as well as giving tips for embellishing the chain maille with semiprecious beads and for forging an S clasp.


Happy beading-


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