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Names for the Different Types of 'Eyes'
Article © MAIL User:

So over the years, the chainmaille community has learned several terms and techniques that have greatly improved our ability to be creative in the art of chainmaille. We've learned all about the importance of aspect ratios, the difference between 'through the eye' and 'around the eye,' and what a grain is in a weave, among other things. These concepts have eased our burden as teachers of chainmaille by explaining somewhat complex ideas in simple terms, accessible to any mailler who takes the time to look.

Well, being a long time mailler, but a somewhat new teacher of maille, I've been noticing places where we still have difficulty explaining or putting into words some of the concepts that we all have learned from years of weaving. The ability to put concepts into words can really be a very helpful teaching tool, as every student learns slightly differently and through different media. Plus, I think it can only make our lives as experienced maillers that much easier.

That being said, where I think we are lacking in terminology is in the specifics of the different types of 'eyes' available to go through and around. There are at least 4, and these are the 4 I would like to propose names for. I want them to be names that make sense; names that are adequately descriptive without being overly burdensome. Here's my train of thought in arriving at these names:

First off, we have European style eyes. European 4 in 1 has two grains to it, one going one direction, and one going the other direction, resulting in two different types of eyes. I'm proposing that we call the two grains 'left-lean grain' and 'right-lean grain,' as seen in the picture.

Image: femailler_euro.jpg

Think of a row of dominoes, pushed to the left side. They all lean over and pile up in a way that looks like the 'left-lean grain' of a European weave. The rings in this type of grain don't go into each other, they just lean on top of each other. That's my reasoning behind those names.

So, left-lean grains and right-lean grains result in two different eyes, which I would like to call 'left-lean eyes' and 'right-lean eyes,' pictured below.

Image: femailler_lean_eyes.jpg

Make sense? Simple enough, but gives us more terminology to work with. I should point out that a left-lean eye becomes a right-lean eye as soon as you turn it around or over, and vice versa, so this one is perspective based, but I still think it's worth labeling.

Now, on to the next two types of eyes. We all know that when we make Mobius Balls, that we have to keep all of the rings going the same direction, otherwise it won't turn out right. We also know that we can switch directions and make a mobius-ball reverse of the first one we just made. I would like to call those two types of mobius-balls 'clockwise mobius-ball' and 'counterclockwise mobius-ball,' as seen in the picture below.

Image: femailler_mobius_balls.jpg

Make sense? Think of it like a whirlpool or a hurricane, where the center (the eye) is rotating in a clockwise manner. Any circular shape that twists inward in a clockwise direction is referred to as right-handed, or clockwise, and vice versa. I felt 'clockwise' and 'counterclockwise' were the most universal terms for it that I could think of, but 'right-handed' and 'left-handed' would also be correct terms, respectively.

So that being said, we all know to make a mobius-ball you have to continually put the new ring into the eye of all the other rings. If we take the two types of mobius-balls down to their simplest form, which is two rings, we get the other two types of eyes, which I would propose we call 'clockwise eye' and 'counterclockwise eye,' as pictured below.

Image: femailler_mobius_eyes.jpg

Now, these eyes are a lot more crucial, as no matter how you flip or rotate the eye, it will always stay a clockwise or counterclockwise eye. This terminology would be very useful, especially teaching weaves like Elfweave and the like.

I personally get annoyed when my descriptions are as unspecific as 'take this ring here and go through this ring from this side, then into this other ring from that side, making sure the orientation stays like you want it to.' If you have students who like to take notes, good luck with that. And yes, pictures are worth a thousand words, but not everybody translates pictures as well as most of us do. Some students need both pictures and words. I would much rather say, 'go through this clockwise eye, then through the counterclockwise eye' type thing. And I think the concepts are simple enough to teach beginners, and gives them a good foundation for learning new weaves.

I originally posted this article in the Article Discussion forum to weed out any flaws before it got posted as an article. Thanks to lorenzo, the correct terminology is now used for the clockwise and counterclockwise eyes. Everybody seemed to agree on the final article and the terms used for these eyes.

I hope this helps you on all your chainmaille endeavors!

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