Monday, 9 March 2015

Linking up

I'm on the Chain Gang!

I made a pair of "His & Hers" chain bracelets as wedding gifts for our son and new daughter-in-law (see post of January 28) and the project re-acquainted me with sterling silver chain making. So, of course, I made up a bunch of rings from some 16 gauge wire I had on hand and set about creating a pair of bracelets to offer in my etsy shop.

Sterling Therapy?

There is something quite soothing about weaving a silver chain. Once you get the pattern (and there are many) established, you can stop and start as you like. It is very much like knitting in that regard - you fall into a sort of knit two, purl two rhythm. Given a tray with sides to corral the components, you can do this task at your bench, in the garden, or in front of television while half watching your favorite hockey team rely way too much on their goalie (sorry Canucks, but I tell it like it is).

In this photo, one bracelet is finished and I have assembled about one third of the next. This is not a great photo but it shows the supply of links, some closed (behind) and some open (front) and the two pair of chain nose pliers used to twist each link open, weave it into the pattern, and twist it closed again. This pattern involves interlocking pairs of rings. I call it Double Link but have seen it called Wriggly Chain.

Power Polishing

The method of choice for polishing any kind of chain is in a tumbler full of steel shot. You dare not try to use a spinning wheel — serious finger risk in that plan — and hand rubbing with jewelers' rouge on a cloth would take months (maybe years). My Lortone tumbler will burnish these to a high shine in an hour or two.

Bright & Shiny

Here are those bracelets after a good tumble. They are ready for handcrafted clasps (I plan to make S hooks for this pair) and a final polish. Then, of course, I will be looking for a bright day to take the photos and make up the etsy listings.

Sterling chains are popular as bracelets but most patterns also make beautiful necklaces (something I would only take on as a custom order because of the unavoidable cost). One other option; earrings.

I made two pairs with the excess rings from this project. Photo below shows the longer pair. The others are about half this length (and half the weight).

I think these would be just plain fun to wear.