A New Idea for Starting a Chainmail Weave by Marilyn Gardiner

By on May 19, 2017
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by Judy Ellis, Wirejewelry.com

Wire Jewelry Tip for May 19th, 2017

A New Idea for Starting a Chainmail Weave

by Marilyn Gardiner


The starting rings of some chainmail weaves are very difficult to keep in order so they don’t just become a messy jumble when you pick them up and try to find where to put that next jump ring.

One way to do this is by punching holes is an old credit card or loyalty card for the starting rings. Another is to wrap them in painter’s tape so they don’t move.

While browsing in a craft store I noticed a package of 10 small squares of flexible, plastic canvas (7-count) intended for needlepoint. It is very inexpensive. I also found Pinterest pages and e-books with tons of creative ideas for using them.

I bought a package and started experimenting. First, I cut the 4” square into 4 pieces.

Here’s how I started the European 4-1 weave (one ring at a time method):

Euro CU 09.49.51

You’ll notice that I used 5 extra rings to attach the starting row to the canvas, and that I used alternate holes. (There are 7 holes to the inch.) The main copper rings are 18 awg, 3.5 mm ID. The attaching rings are 4 mm ID. I tried adding the starting row to the canvas, but it was too tight.

Next I thought I’d try a round weave: Roundmaille.

Round-BR 09.48.05

There are 3 connection points for this weave, so I positioned the first two at a corner so I could use 2 edge holes. Then the third point of the triangle was easy to place.

I could also use this method to start Turkish Roundmaille and Inverted Roundmaille.

The third example is an advanced level weave called Oops.

Oops SF 09.50.46

I used 16 awg, 5 mm ID rings, and it worked perfectly to add the starting row directly to the canvas, without skipping holes or it being too tight.

I cut the 4 inch squares into 4 pieces, but now I can see that they could be much smaller and still work well.

I plan to continue looking back at weaves I teach to see if this canvas can improve the ease of beginning a new weave for students.

Happy Wrapping!

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  1. avatar

    Connie MacDonald

    May 19, 2017 at 9:47 am

    That’s great. I was taught to use a paper clip, now I have another way to try. Thanx

  2. avatar

    Barbara Anderson

    May 19, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Brilliant! I wish I had thought of that!

  3. avatar

    Emma Guy

    May 19, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Love these articles

  4. avatar


    June 3, 2017 at 7:28 am

    Way cool. Going to try this. Thanks for sharing.