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Maille Frog Sculpture
Article © MAIL User: MetaLinx

This is the How I did it, and how you can learn from my mistakes article on the construction of my frog sculpture. I did not really have a plan when I started, just a mental image of the end product.

Hardware store Stainless Steel Wire (package says 19 gauge, micrometer says 0.042") I used about 4 30-foot packages on this project.
1/8-inch mandrel.
14 swg. (0.078 inch) Galvanized for the skeleton, approx. 1 foot.
a bit of 24 awg (0.020 inch) galvy to wire in the eyes.
Approximately 24 hours of labor.

I started by weaving the patch shown here:

Image: jehfrog1.jpg

This eventually became the top of his head and his back. I expanded this piece at the sides. I made the divots in the sides thinking that I would somehow work the eyes into the weave itself. This is not what happened in the end. I ended up filling a portion of these divots in.

Image: jehfrog2.jpg
Image: jehfrog4.jpg

I wove the belly using 6 expanding links scattered throughout the section. I matched up the angle seams and then joined the remaining horizontals into a seamless tube all the way to the tail. I filled on the tapered ends shown in the first picture. I ended up having to finagle the weave to match up between top and bottom. If I had it to do over again, I would weave a seamless tube, expanding only the belly side. This may or may not allow the head to bend appropriately as it does in the current model. Experiment and see!

It ended up looking like the thumb of a maille glove, though it has a flat nose rather than round. Once this was complete, I set it aside and began working up from the feet.

Image: jehfrog3.jpg
Image: jehfrog5.jpg
Image: jehfrog6.jpg

I bent a skeleton out of the galvanized wire to provide structure, especially for the feet.
The feet are simply rolls of European 4 in 1, with 3 or 4 links at the back end left unsewn. This unsewn portion was the transition into the legs.

Image: jehfrog7.jpg

Because of how I transitioned into the legs from the feet, the seams at the front and back of the legs were in opposition to each other. My AR was pretty tight, so while I was able to join the front of the legs nicely as in the picture below. . .

Image: jehfrog8.jpg

I had to do some more finagling to close the seams on the insides. It is still a repeating pattern, but it is not clean in my opinion.

Image: jehfrog9.jpg

I closed the outer seams of the legs before sliding them onto the skeleton. Once on the skeleton, I closed the inner seams and they were locked onto the frame for good.

Image: jehfrog10.jpg

The insides of the legs joined nicely with the front of the belly. The front of each leg meets at the center of the belly. I had to bend the skeleton out of whack to weave it, and then straighten it when done. Maille flexes nicely, and it was pretty simple. At times I felt like I was skinning a frog in reverse.

Image: jehfrog11.jpg

Another finagled patch at the rump. I continued the weave across from the outside of one leg to the outside of the other, but it was not as straightforward as it sounded in my head. I had to add/subtract links in order to fill it in appropriately. It worked out to be a kind of expanding ring, but the opposite direction from what is typically done.

Image: jehfrog12.jpg

I married up the opposing grains of maille between the butt and the lower back. This was not planned, but it worked out really well in my opinion. I stuffed him with dry split peas to stretch out the belly. They were big enough not to come out the pores, hard enough to be durable, and small enough not to be lumpy.

Image: jehfrog13.jpg

Almost done!

Image: jehfrog14.jpg

I used Roundmaille for the front legs, attached by 2 rings to the torso and 1 ring to the feet. I made them a little long so they would bend a bit. There are no bones in the front legs.

Image: jehfrog15.jpg
Image: jehfrog16.jpg

The eyes are beads from a local bead store. Use what you like here. I wired them to the maille with 22 ga. Galvy.

Image: jehfrog17.jpg

The eye ridges were assembled ring by ring, starting at the head and working out. It was too hard to try to make a small patch of E4-1 and then sew it on.

Image: jehfrog18.jpg
Image: jehfrog20.jpg

On one side the frog looks angry, and on the other he looks happy. This is because of how the maille lays: rings lapping toward the front on one side and toward the back on the other.

Image: jehfrog19.jpg

Here is Steely Dan in his new residence in our knickknack display in the living room. He is among all his comrade anniversary frogs (10 others).

Image: jehfrog21.jpg
Image: jehfrog22.jpg

This was an experiment from start to finish, but I think it turned out really well. The wife loved it, and was surprised when I told her I made it myself. I have been out of the ring for a while due to 2 hand surgeries, but I think I still have my knack for maille.

Feel free to pirate the ideas herein. Nothing fancy or terribly original. Enjoy yourselves!
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