Link It! Book Review and Project Results

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May 252009
 

I recently received Link It! (Susan C. Thomas) as a gift from my daughter, along with a great bracelet she created using one of the project tutorials in the book.  Link It! uses stretchy rubber or neoprene rings with metal rings to create colorful and unique chainmaille designs.

I was instantly intrigued…I’d made “stretchy” maille bracelets before, but nothing like the projects in the book.  My previous projects had been mainly metal with some rubber tossed in for stretchability…Thomas’s projects were mainly stretch rings!

The book starts out with some basic techniques, including tools and supplies needed to complete the projects in the book.  Basic techniques include how to make the “elements” that comprise the great looking jewelry pictured in the book.  Also included in the book are lists of suggested suppliers (I use Fire Mountain Gems to purchase rubber rings.)

Speaking of pictures, the photos in Link It! are great.  Colors used by the author for the various projects are imaginative, and you’ll be tempted to go out and buy hundreds of colored rubber and aluminum rings.

I have to admit, being an experienced chainmailler, I thought making the projects in Link It! would be a piece of cake.  However, this is *not* your average maille, and it’s more challenging than I expected!

I did find Thomas’s instructions somewhat difficult to follow, even with colorful pictures to accompany the text.  My daughter said she had the same problem, but was able to figure out the patterns between the picture of the finished project and the directions.

Regardless, I recommend Link It! as a starting point for making jewelry using these techniques.  I quickly moved from creating pieces using Thomas’s patterns to making up my own, like Black and Blue, and Rubber and Road (green, black and copper) men’s bracelets.  Jewelry inspired by Link It! is great for anyone – men, women, teens – and no clasp is needed!

Apr 152009
 

I love doing micro maille…little tiny chainmaille using little tiny rings. My regular Wubbers do the trick, but I’d been wanting to pick up some of the Baby Wubbers that I’d seen on WiredUpBeads.com.

Working on a recent project, I finally decided it was time to bite the bullet and just order a set. (For the record, I ordered the “chainmaille” set – one flat nosed, one chain nose, one bent nose.) I did my normal “are they here yet” dance for a couple of days, stalked the UPS guy, and came home one day to find a nice sized box that I suspected contained my new pliers.

Opened the plain brown box (LOL, that way no one knows about my addiction to tools!) and found pretty teal, purple and white tissue paper (that I can recycle 😀 ) enveloping my purchase.

Baby Wubbers! Patti and Trudy even included a personal note and a freebie with my cute little pliers and their handy stand. Even though I didn’t really have a lot of time (I had an engagement that evening and barely had enough time to make dinner for the guys and run out the door), I went to the studio and worked on my project (Jens Pind Linkage using 20g 3/32″ rings…miniscule!!!) for a few minutes.

The Baby Wubs were perfect for getting those tiny rings open and shut, and getting them in the right position for the weave! I think I got more done in 15 minutes that night than I had in previous evenings and with considerably less frustration.

My only wish is that the handles were longer. I love the tiny tips and padded handles, but they are shorter than the regular sized Wubbers. Having longer handles might make them even more ergonomic.

But the Baby Wubs are getting some major loving from Beading Help Web. I still love my “grown up” Wubber pliers, but they will be reserved for “big wire” projects.