Jewelry Journey, Chainmail Woes!

I have had a love hate relationship with jewelry making. Aka, I bought giant clunky pliers to do all the work, they were hard to work with, and I have been doing designs on and off for a year and a half or so. I still keep up with the trends and snizzy, and had a specific type of jewelry I wanted to make from the getgo. So of course, when I couldn’t figure out how to make the jewelry I wanted to make, I went to just doing the basics: Stringing beads onto beading wire, crimping the ends, and tah-dah! Pretty pieces that I get to say “I made that, wee!”. And yes, you do get compliments on that sort of stuff, and people do give you the ‘Oh!’ face and are impressed you made what you’re wearing, but as a creative person that really wasn’t doing it for me. Sure it was pretty, and sure it used some of what I originally wanted to work with, but it wasn’t challenging at all. Eventually, I got bored and stopped designing anything.

I still, and would still, look at jewelry making tutorials online. Youtube is a tutorial gold mine, as are jewelry making sites and Beading magazines. Well, eventually, I stumbled upon wire work – and whoa! I loved the concept. Getting to manipulate something to create a pretty piece of jewelry, with your hands? I’m so there! I adore anything tactile to do (call it a side affect of the blindness lol) and when I can, I put my hands on anything I’m working on. No matter how much I research, I just have to take that final step when I’m excited for something and buy all the materials and work on it, hands on.

So I did!

Forty dollars of wire and jump rings later, I Was deep in the trenches of wire work. Was practicing wire weaving, attempting wire crochet with very little success, and eventually made enough bangles to be like “Hrmmm, what else can I do with this? I thought I could make my own designs with these techniques, how lame!”

Give up, number 2!

Once again, it wasn’t what I was looking for in terms of designing my own jewelry. I had gotten into the ball park of what I had wanted to do, which was good, but still wasn’t doing much for my creative itches with this craft. Back to the drawing board once again for Valky!

I started talking to a friend about crafting. I think in passing, she mentioned she did chainmail. At first, I dismissed it as something I wanted to do because I had tried it a bit a few years back with an instructor, failed at it hardcore after about an hour of trying, and repressed the memory because shploooog it was so hard to do. When my friend said it wasn’t hard, I was like, “Well, I know more about making jewelry in general, so why not try it with what I know now?” bought some cheap jump rings and…

Shplooooog!!!

I had those stupid humongous pliers with these itty bitty rings and I just couldn’t grasp the jump rings to open and close them aaaarg! I had sworn off using jump rings, even in jewelry making – you can close things with head pins and wire and loops and screw chainmail I’ll buy chains if I really want to use one in a design!

“Valk, you need smaller pliers,” my friend says.
“There…are smaller pliers?”

I did the research (once again, with help from my friend) and herpaderp! I had crafting pliers for a year – way too big for anything I wanted to be doing. My loops were huge when I made them, things were hard to grasp, and overall my designing experience was horrible and I feel like that is in part why I gave up so quickly. But now hurray! I got smaller, jewelry pliers – the tips are great, nice and narrow – and now I have gone back to working on chainmail! Mainly because I need smaller gages of wire to do some wire work I want to do, and I have jump rings now. My progress?

I’ve been practicing an hour a day, and at first I wanted to give up. But I told myself – just practice an hour a day. No matter what your progress is the day before, an hour a day isn’t hard to put aside to practice, right? Right! It’s been 3 days now, and I am happy to say it’s been going decently well! I’ve been practicing opening and closing jump rings, then linking them. I went from having a four ring chain, to five in two days! Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s an accomplishment for me and I’ve found myself getting into a rhythm of opening, closing, linking, and closing again to make a chain. Now my next hurdle is uh, not having the chain-in-progress fly out of my hands when I’m trying to close a newly linked ring lolol. Overall though, I’ve been enjoying the process – both the good and bad parts of creating, and it gets me excited to try different wire techniques, and buying more tools! I want to get some mandrels for shaping wire, nylon jaw pliers, a hammer for shaping and texturing wire, wire wire wire…

So yeah, I am hooked on wire work, if that wasn’t apparent! I’m really happy with where I am on my jewelry journey, and am determined to start creating again. I want to buy supplies, materials, and all that jazz gradually so I can truly create what I have always wanted to – which I will talk about later! This post was just supposed to be about my chainmail adventure, woopsy.

What about you? Have you had any hobbies you’ve been determined to do well? Any you just did and didn’t find were for you? Leave a comment and talkity talk about it!

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Author: Crystal

A California based musician who is as passionate about music as she is video games,, Crystal (or ValkyrieCeles around the interwebs) loves to gush about her various nerdtastic loves, rant about anything currently catching her fancy, and generally just express herself in any creative outlet she can get her hands on. An avid reader, writer, and dreamer, Crystal has been leaving pieces of herself around the internet since 2006.

5 thoughts on “Jewelry Journey, Chainmail Woes!”

  1. Hi again. Really fascinating look on crafting, it’s not my thing but I respect the concept a lot more after reading this.
    Me and creativity have had an abusive relationship. Hardcore depression’s a thing with my family, largely battering any creative urges starting in my preteen years. So I’ve never really had that awkward time in a kid’s childhood to tinker around and see what you like, to this day inspiration and confidence are very scarce to come up.
    I remember wanting to try writing when I was younger, and it’s the only thing so far I’ve had any desire to brave it out.
    But, the times I’ve tried have been stressful and frustrating, mostly feels like work to me.
    Yeah, apologies for the downbeat reply.

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  2. Never too late to start creating 🙂 I always tell people that when they say they can’t. I used to want to be a writer like, my entire childhood, and I gave it up in college because of fear that my writing voice sucked and it was too much work to edit blah blah. But I started writing fanfictions, and other stories and honestly, if you ever want to pick it up or try again, I’d say the best advice I could give is to not care how perfect or how off your voice sounds. Your voice is your voice! And it’s unique and no one else can replicate it, it’s how authors become famous: having their own style and voice. I just started writing and letting it flow, fix what you have to later but no matter what don’t tell yourself it’s bad while you’re writing. …uh, that is if you want to start again 😄

    Don’t apologize! If it’s how you feel then no apologies for it ❤

    Thank you for reading!

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  3. When I was young, I had a grandma that taught me to embroider. A little later a different “grandma” taught me to crochet. My mom always sewed clothing and quilts and made throw pillows. Another grandmother mad quilts. And all of the women in my family garden. My daughter makes jewelry and so I started hand stamping metal and making leather cuffs. So with the encouragement of all of these women, I am able to kind of do a lot of crafts. I am currently living with my husband in an extended stay while he finishes a contract position so I can’t garden. But I have been doing all the other stuff. Like you, the first things I tried weren’t the best. Yet I felt accomplished. And I keep getting somewhat better. So I keep going. But I get easily bored so I switch it up often. I like that you keep coming back to it even when it’s frustrating. I like the idea of one hour. That’s a smart way to think about crafting. Tomorrow I’m beginning work on some boxer briefs for my grandsons. I noticed last time I visited with them, they had some raggedy undies!

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  4. Yeah, An hour a day workks great – I find myself slowly expanding to doing it more a day and because I am just enjoying it so much because I didn’t burn out from trying to over-exert myself. Awesome that you do all that! I’ve always wanted to sew and cook…I am leaning towards getting materials for a cheap sewing project, because I can’t burn down the house that way 🙂

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