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System for Basic Study of Weaves
Article © MAIL User: sakredchao

System for Basic Study of Weaves (v1.0):

This text attempts to demonstrate a methodical system for the study of weaves.

* measuring dynamic fabric
* choosing ideal AR (iAR)

Measuring Dynamic Fabric
In knitting, this process is referred to as “gauging” fabric. We already have too many “gauges” in the maille world. However, this is a useful technique, so I would suggest finding a unique descriptive for it. Stretching the fabric in both directions and averaging the measurements gives you the fabric “gauge”. This method is useful in tailoring at proper (partial) stretch. A .032 x .131, 20 ring x 40 ring, e4 patch shows gauging in decimal inches.
Image: chaoslgauge.jpg
4.863(l) x 4.180(w) - length stretch

Image: chaoswgauge.jpg
4.100(l) x 7.910(w) - width stretch

Averaging these numbers gives us 4.482(l) x 6.045(w) - balanced (partial) stretch

.224 x .151 is the area a single ring covers.
If you were using a chest measurement of 42 inches, divide 42 by the width dimension of the single ring.
42 / .151 = 278.1 rings in 42 inches, with this fabric at partial stretch.

Choosing Ideal AR

Within the first two weeks in my mailling life I began to collect mandrel sizes. I got ¼” and 5/16”, later picking up 3/16” and 1/8”. when I saw 5/32” and 7/32” I thought the diameter difference to be trivial, but I bought them anyway. I found that weaves had a “sweet spot”, or ideal AR. the finer the increment of your mandrel set, the closer to your ideal AR you can get. The best way I’ve found to choose your iAR is to experiment. Make the weave in all of the ARs available to you, different applications have different iARs.

Image: chaosample.jpg

This image shows sample “gauged” patches of 3 common weaves, e4, byz and box. The easiest to deal with are box and byz, as they have relatively specific iARs when made from a single ring size.

Byz has 3 ARs gauged. Normally I test more ARs than 3, but by chance I landed on my iAR, and added the next smallest and next largest just to be sure. The tighter example began to bunch up, the looser example had floppy rings.

In the box sample I tried 6 ARs. Box is one of those weaves which wants to be made in a specific AR.range. My mandrel set varies between .005” and .010” increments ( x/128” ). The iAR tolerance for box falls on one of the ARs I used. The chain will not squash at the slightest touch, and will not bunch up as you construct it.

In box and byz, if you use a ring in the iAR range, you know it. E4 is a little different by nature. The iAR tolerances are much wider. Where box and byz pretty much hand you the iAR when you make a gauged patch, due to bunching and excessive flop, e4 shows you the various options, leaving you to make your own decisions. Most ARs will make a passable e4, without bunching or excessive flopping. The minimum AR is determined by the weave being solid-stiff. The upper limits are dictated by the rings being strong enough to hold together.

With any weave, the important part is to make the piece large enough to hold, and large enough so that the smaller size does not affect the current ring structure. If the smaller size is bunching, the current size will be affected by that occurrence. A large enough sample usually solves this.

If you are going to spend the time making a piece of maille, you might as well use the AR which is most pleasing to you.

I refer to this as basic weave study, as the sheets are static flat. They contain no expansions or contractions, no seams, no variations. I do not have a developed system for intermediate study of a weave, but I imagine it would involve making samples, in various ARs, with consistent expansions and/or contractions at various frequencies. Advanced study would involve inconsistent expansion/contraction models, utilizing multiple gauges and ARs to create an intended shape. I do not believe in weave mastery.

Please do not contact me requesting iARs for any weaves. you will notice a lack of specific AR information in this article. This is intentional. My purpose is to demonstrate a method for finding the answers, not to hand out answers. If you buy rings instead of wire: repent.

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