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!