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.

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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!


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