Book Review: Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop

Interweave Press does it again with Karon’s outstanding book that demystifies the art of weaving jump rings into lovely jewelry with timeless appeal. Beginning with an overview of the necessary tools and how to interpret different metal gauges, readers then move on to simple chain construction with each new project building upon the previous. Step-by-step instructions accompany clear, color-coded diagrams illustrating the weave process and particularly helpful are the pictures showing how to recognize potential errors. The construction of several weaves such as the Byzantine are simplified using different speed weaving techniques that greatly simplifies the process.

Helpful tips are liberally mixed in along with ideas for further weave exploration. Karon makes use of paperclips as a weave starting aid but her clever use of urethane film to begin the more complex Half-Persian is nothing short of inspired. All the weaves shown use 16 or 18 gauge wire so beginners need not buy a huge inventory of ready made rings or bulk wire should they decide to make their own rings. Especially nice to see is the in-depth explanation about aspect ratios, a vital part of successful chain maille, along with comprehensive aspect ratio charts that are an indispensable aid in the process of creating new weaves. Although this is aimed at beginners, the aspect ratio charts alone make this a valuable addition to any chain maille weaver’s library.

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