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Weave Theory - Discussion; Terminology...
Article © MAIL User: MusicMan

This article is intended to introduce more advanced terminology, theory and information on weave theory and how we understand it to this point.

Weave Families "Changing Times”

The family system of classifying weaves has been around for decades and as new weaves have been invented new categories have had to be created. From my understanding it all started with just the European, Persian, Japanese, and Spiral families. These were the families that everything at the time originated from. As more weaves were created more families were added to the group because they did not fit the standard definition of the original three families. These families include the Hybrid Family, which is a combination of different families, the Orbital/Captive Family, which has rings that are orbiting or are captive between rings, and finally the newest member the Unit Family, which is a combination of rings that look nice together and make a distinct, non-expandable maille segment. These segments can sometimes be interconnected to form chains or sheets. After years of discussion and debate people no longer felt that the family organization structure was the most efficient, but nobody could come up with a better, more understandable system.

But there is change in the wind. Some very knowledgeable and dedicated members of the mailling community have been going through the weaves and have come up with a system of tagging that will simplify the current weave family system. It may eliminate some of the newer categories, reducing them down to primarily the first three families again and create some new categories that more accurately describe the weaves in that family. This new system will allow for great possibilities of learning and exploring so stay tuned. In order to better understand and function in the new system the knowledge a person has of the different interactions will be more important so in the next section we will talk more extensively about some of those connections.

Weave Interactions & Connections - Extended

This is meant to be an extension of the previous article that gave just basic information on connections and interactions. As you go deeper into learning about maille you will run into different types of interactions and connections which we hope to present in this section, not as much in a dictionary fashion, but hopefully in a more conversational way so that you can understand some of the varying points on the different connections. This is not the definitive article, but is designed to help you understand and be able to participate in weave theory discussions.

Connection Terms

Connection terms are terms that are mentioned in theory discussions, but are not commonly used to define a weave. There are three terms (Eye, Spiral Eye and Cousin) that are important to learn and they all have one thing in common, they describe the basic interaction of two rings that influence the rings around it, but are not connected or joined to the rings around it.

Image: Theory1.jpg
An Eye - The space created when two rings that are leaning the same direction overlap one on top of another. The two blue rings in the picture above form an eye that the green ring is passing through.
Image: Theory2.jpg
Spiral Eye - Is an eye that twists, changing the characteristics and/or behavior of the weave.
Image: Theory3.jpg
Cousins - Are rings that help to keep the structure of a weave in tact, but are not directly attached to the ring it is influencing.

Eyes, as seen in the picture above, are formed when two rings, that are leaning the same direction, overlap and an almond shaped eye is formed. This is easy enough to understand, and is an important concept because it is used greatly in descriptions of the European and Persian families.

Spiral Eyes are formed when two or more connected rings are inserting into each other in a “Through the Eye” fashion, see above, and tension is applied to them so they twist and are kept in place usually just by the pressure of the other rings. These spiral eyes occur in two major ways, first in the form or a multi-ring mobius ball used as embellishments to pieces or as a connecting elements usually consisting of two to three spiraled rings.

Cousins, is a new term that is emerging and is slowly gaining acceptance. A cousin ring is a ring that lies next to the influenced ring in a parallel plane, but does not directly connect to that ring.

For some history, some people feel that because JPL 3 cousins are mainly found in the JPL "Jens Pind Linkage" series of weaves that it is not really a connection interaction. This is a valid point, but it is mentioned here because we want to present you with the different terms you may encounter while reading or discussing weaves and you never know someone tomorrow may discover another weave that uses cousins in its creation.
Image: Theory4.jpg
If you look at the sample of JPL above you can to see more clearly that the cousin ring and the influenced ring are not woven together, but that they rest against each other and help to keep the structure of the weave. You will also notice that the cousin ring and influenced ring form a line that runs down the length of the chain. As more is added onto the chain the influenced ring now becomes the cousin ring to the next ring in the sequence and this progression is what keeps the weave structure intact. This structure and progress are true of the entire JPL series and to our knowledge is unique to this weave series.

Weave Connections

Connection are the different ring insertion techniques that help to form the interactions that make identifying a weave possible. There are three basic connections; Through the Eye, Around the Eye and Ring on Ring or No Eye. In this section we will attempt to describe the connections and tell you in what families they are most common.

Image: Theory5.jpg
Through the Eye (TTE/TE) - The green ring is being inserted through the eye of the blue rings.
Image: Theory6.jpg
Around the Eye (ATE/AE) - This new ring goes through the two rings forming the eye while again not going through the eye itself.
Image: Theory7.jpg
Ring on Ring (No Eye) - Each ring is inserted into another ring without a specific orientation.

Ring on Ring (No Eye) connections form the most common and strongest chain known. A 2 in 1 Chain can be found everywhere, used for almost everything from construction jobs to jewelery. This ring on ring connection is thought to be the most basic and common form of ring interaction. Some people see the E4-1 (European 4 in 1) as a 'ring on ring' connection because there are no eyes present or used while creating the chain, but only appear after the chain is woven. RoR connections form the basic connection in the Japanese family and can be seen forming many different geometric patterns.

Through the Eye (TTE/TE) connections are one of the most common connections in mailling. They can be found in both the European and Persian families in various combinations with the other connections. Some very knowledgeable people feel that a TE connection does not exist in the European family because even when expanding a sheet of E4-1 or E6-1 (European 6 in 1) it is still a ring on ring connection. Even with this thought you will still find many people when discussing the technique of sheeting either of these two weaves will talk about the eyes that are found along the chain. That is the beauty of mailling!! Since we all see things differently we have different ways of describing them as well as well as learning them.

Around the Eye (ATE/AE) connections are found primarily in the Persian family as well as some of the Spiral weaves. The AE connection can actually be formed by three rings connected in a 'ring on ring' style (see above) and the first and third rings are overlapped inside the second to form an eye. A combination of TE and AE connections form the base pattern for the Persian family of weaves. Because AE connections can be made from three rings connected RoR it is important to be aware of this fact when ending many of the Persian chains. If you set down a Persian chain when you pick the piece up again you may be confused to see a RoR chain at the end of the pattern.

Weave Interactions

Weave interactions are formed when different weave connections (see above) combine to form patterns that help to identify a weave. There are two different categories of weave interactions. First, the family interaction defines the family that the weave belongs to. Second, special interactions, while belonging in a certain family can override the basic family interaction to make it look different.

(Family Interactions)

Family interactions are a series/set of connections that make up the basic pattern used in identifying what family the weave belongs in. In this section we will attempt to describe the different family interactions so you can identify them in a weave when you see them.

European Interactions consist of mainly TE (Through the Eye) connections.

Persian Interactions consist mainly of the sequence of connections, TE (Through the Eye) AE (Around the Eye). Depending on what weave you are doing will determine what happens in between these two connection, but the basic patterns of connections for all Persian weaves are TE then AE.

Japanese Interactions consist entirely of Ring on Ring or No Eye connections. These RoR connections are combined and form different geometric patterns when creating the different weaves. If you get deep into the Japanese weaves and study the history of the weaves you will find that the Japanese have different names for the same weave. This can cause confusion, but is done because the name in Japanese is also dependent on the type of ring(s) used to make the weave.

(Special Interactions)

Interactions that override the basic family interactions.

Image: Theory8.jpg
Inverted - A ring connection characterized by no eyes, rings characteristically form a greater than 90 degree angle. This can also be looked at as 'ring on ring' connections looped back upon themselves.

The above example is called "Captive Inverted Round" which not only is an inverted weave, but has caged and captive rings as well. (copper rings)
Image: Theory9.jpg
Captive - An interaction where the ring is not connected to a ring(s), but is trapped between them and floats freely within the weave.

The picture above is an example of the 'Sandwiched' captive ring of the Helm Chain weave. The picture used for the inverted interaction shows a 'Caged' captive ring.
Image: Theory10.jpg
Orbital - A ring that is inserted around either an entire ring or around the connecting point of two rings, but does not pass through any of the rings.
Image: Theory2.jpg
Spiraling - A mainly TE connection that causes the weave to twist and over-rides the basic structure of the original weave. While it is similar the spiraling interaction, it differs from Mobius interaction because every ring does not pass through the same eye in the TE connection as it does in the Mobius.

If anybody is interested in the discussion that went into making this article you can find it Here.

MAIL Weave Tagging Terminology

Taken directly from the new MAIL Weave database here are the tags that are currently being used with a small description. Once you understand these new tags it allows the searcher to search for weaves that share the same characteristics. Those tags that do not have definitions/explanations by them have been discussed above.

Family Interaction

Structure & Special Interaction

Form & Appearance Attribute

Attribute / Other

European Alpha - the primary structure for the weave family. 3D - a weave that can be expanded in all three dimensions. Berus - an alternating of the outer edge ring of a chain so they alternately point to the outside and center of the weave.
Japanese Modification - Band - a weave that is wider than a single chain, but cannot be expanded into a full sheet. Biased - weave woven at a slant or angle different than the original configuration of the weave.
Persian Variant - Chain - a complete weave that forms a thin chain usually only one unit wide. Kinged - replacing every ring with a pair or trio of rings side-by-side.
Captive - an interaction where the ring is not connected to a ring(s), but is trapped between them and floats freely within the weave. Radial - a 2-dimensional weave; a non-linear sheet; expands outward (often, but not always, from a single, central fixed point) in formations that do not follow an x/y axis; many tessellation patterns are possible. Mobized - replacing each individual ring with a mobius of 2 or more rings.
Inverted - a ring connection characterized by no eyes, rings characteristically form a greater than 90 degree angle. Sheet - a chain that can be expanded into a cloth like form. Non-Standard Rings (NSR) - rings that are not a wire circle are necessary to make the weave.
Orbital - a ring that is inserted around either an entire ring or around the connecting point of two rings, but does not pass through any of the rings. Unit - a weave that cannot be expanded in any direction. Make good design elements. Progression - the continuation of a technique that was initially started and the pattern is taken to the next level.
Spiral - a mainly TE connection that causes the weave to twist and over-rides the basic structure of the original weave. Web - a chain that is expanded similar to a sheet but has large holes in the structure. Chains are commonly connected end to end in a geometric fashion. Scaled - replacing individual rings with sets of rings, one of which fits inside the other.
Helm - a basic 2-1 chain that is overlaid on itself that has a captive ring in the chain. Shaggy - adding superfluous rings around the edges for more of a decorative effect rather than a functional one.
Rhino - a basic 2-1-2 chain with orbitals around the eye of rings that are stacked vertically instead of horizontally. Spiked - a weave that had rings protruding out from the central chain at almost 90 degree angles.
Unbalanced - a weave that has a swagger to it (it zig-zags back and forth) giving it an unbalanced look.

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