Thursday, April 30, 2015

Book Review and Giveaway - Advanced Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop

By on Thursday, April 30, 2015 39 Comments

Many people enjoy the spacial challenge of making chain maille jewelry.  The results are gratifying and often admired by the uninitiated.  Once you have done some of the basic weaves and enjoy this crafting process, then it is natural to want to move on to the harder ones.

I recently received a new book for review called. Advanced Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop  by author, instructor and designer, Karen Karon. It`s also available from Interweave, the publisher. This book caters to those who wish to expand their repertoire for harder projects with more advanced weaves, sheets and linkages.  It is definitely NOT for beginners.

Unlike other chain maille authors, Karen uses chain maille rather than chain mail which I also prefer. Chain mail sounds to me like the never ending emails you get cajoling you to spam send to multiple people.

Many if not most chain maille weaves are notoriously difficult to start - the Persian ,Elf and hybrid weaves covered in the book are not exceptions.  What I like about the tips and tricks covered are the various things use as starting aids,  Besides the usual tape, paper clip, wire ties, this author also shows how to prepare a starter tool using Tuff Brake or a strong flexible substitute such as thin leather.  Really useful for the Half Persian. She also explains how to use a patch of European 4-in-1 to help close weaves.

I agreed with the author. It is best to read the beginning of the book (Introduction and Review Material) as well as the end of the book (Terminations, Attachments and Finishing Touches) first before diving into the projects.  

Karen is also not afraid to admit she is a little intimidated by power tools.  So she prefers to buy her rings ready made.  I thought her rationale for buying made sense - the pros will cut better than you and making your own jump rings takes longer so labor costs goes up!  But making your own does increase the handmade value and if you enjoy doing so, why not?

She cites 3 of her regular ring suppliers at the beginning of each weave - the best ring size options for them.  She has clearly tested many of the jump rings  - the AR (aspect ratio) can differ so she explains what happens with each AR variation. Did you also know there is a difference between actual AR and common AR?

The instructions for making the more difficult sheet version follows each weave instructions.  

Also helpful are her tips and direction on how to close the chains for claspless bracelets and rings. Or to make a V from two sheets like the Two -Tone GSG (Great Southern Gathering) sheet necklace above. 

Part of the challenges of this book includes micro-maille work such as this ring!

Where the book really shines are the projects which use scales. Scales were once part of ancient armor. These shield-like metal plates are great for adding color and additional style to chain maille projects.  All the designs in the book use lightweight anodized aluminum.

Note that the majority of her projects use sterling silver jump rings.  It is the metal of choice for this designer. So bear in mind there might be differences if you substitute with copper, brass or other metals.

The book is definitely challenging but doable especially with the guidance of this instructor.  It obviously suits those experienced in chain maille.  The ability to work with images and written instructions (as opposed to video format) is essential.  The written text has to read and understood before commencing.


If you'd like to win a copy of Advanced Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop, please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog.

Email subscribers need to scroll down the post they receive, click on Share Comment and enter your comment. Pick Name/URL. If you don't have a store or blog, leave the URL blank.

This giveaway is international.
If the winner has a non-post box US address, the prize will be a physical book.  Otherwise it will be an eBook.

Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments.

It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Thursday, May 7, 2015 . I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!


Before You Go :
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. The book looks fantastic! Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  2. OMG OMG OMG I ABSOLUTELY LOVE LOVE LOVE Chain Maille, or as I will often spell it chainmaille. It is the one jewelry technique that I was able to learn extremely fast and I have only one weave out of all the weaves I have made that I still cannot master for the life of me. And that weave is JPL. JPL just kills me so if I was to win this book I am hoping that maybe I can master some new weaves and maybe eventually JPL. Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. I love this. I love the look of chainmaille and this book looks awesome.

  4. I just tweeted about your review and giveaway.

  5. WOW, Impressive chain maille...Would love to look at that book!

  6. Extraordinary. . . Would love to have the book.

  7. I've been experimenting with chain maille lately. I really enjoy the process. Based on the review, this book would be a great next-step in taking my knowledge to the next level.

  8. Love chainmaille. Thank you for the giveaway. I love your site.

  9. Chain Maille, a very cool art. Would love the book :)

  10. I have always wanted to do chain mail what wonderful way to start! Thank you

  11. This looks awesome! Would love it!

  12. Those are wowsers ! WOW!
    I would love to win this book!
    I am a follower, blog subscriber and pinned this on my giveaway board.

  13. Ive just done a few very simple peaces and I'm hook. Thank you for the chance to win this great book.

  14. Wonderful necklaces, I would love to try this !

  15. I find chainmaille very therapeutic and would love to win this book to learn even more of it

  16. I've seen many tutorials for regular chainmaile, but not with the scales. I'd love to try some of that.

  17. This looks like a wonderful book, it would make my day if I got to win it. Thanks for the contest!

  18. Pearl-You taught me byzantine weave at the Farm and I have been addicted to chain maille ever since. I would love to win this book....more fuel for the chain maille fire.

    1. Hi Debbie! I am so pleased you still love chain mailed!

  19. What a fantastic book to win. Would love it. Thank you.

  20. Glenda RutherfordApril 30, 2015 at 3:58 PM

    Wow, what an amazing book. I would love to try my hand at that!!

  21. I have had this book on my Amazon wish list since it came out!! As a Mailler for many many years, I'd love to add it to my collection!! Thank you for the chance :-) I'm an email and blog subscriber, jave shared on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+ :-) Fingers crossed :-)

  22. I'd love the chance to win this book, thanks.

  23. This book looks awesome! As a chainmail lover and creator, this book for enhance my skills immensely!

  24. Would love to win this! Absolutely gorgeous pieces!

  25. Wow what great designs. I love the use of the scales - I never knew how to incorporate them into my designs. Also love the little tips that are spread through the articles. This book would take my chain maille to the next level.

  26. Thanks for the review. I love that in your book reviews you always show the Table of Contents.
    I don't always enter the give-aways, but this time I am really intrigued by your factoid. I must learn the difference between actual AR and common AR. I have all of my fingers (and toes) crossed!
    I am a subscriber, and my email is catnpr (at) aol (dot) com.

  27. Greta gdmar@comcast.netMay 1, 2015 at 3:02 PM

    What a cool book. Thanks for a chance to win it. I am a Blog subscriber.

  28. I'd love to win this book!

  29. I follow your blog through blog lovin and would love a copy of this book. Chain mail is something I'd really like to get into.

    icbnett (at)

  30. Looks to be a nice book. Like how your able to add color to classic chain mail designs.

  31. This book looks really fab. It's great to see books for using colour more and for more advanced chainmaille.

  32. Looks like a great addition to my library, and winning it would make it complete. Thanks for the give-away.

  33. This looks like a fabulous book! I've done some chain maille, and I do enjoy it, but it's my husband who's the expert in the family. He and I have taken several classes from our favorite ring supplier, Blue Buddha Boutique, and he has even created some projects for them. I'm in awe of his skill, and I know he'd love this book!

    I'm a follower. :)

  34. Heard good comments about this book, hope i have a chance to win it.

  35. I would love to win this for my "Secret Bead Buddy" our club has a yearly draw and the member we draw becomes our Bead Buddy. Only this year mine turned out to be someone who does Chainmaille.. would love to win this for her.

  36. I am ready to learn other things, as I have basically been stringing beads so far. Thanks for the chancestors t o win.