Chainmail

Last weekend I rekindled an old interest which I’d left dormant for a long time, and I got started on a suit of chainmail. I bought a lot of links (about 57 pounds worth) several years ago and never got around to doing anything with them. I figure this is as good a time as any to start, and my goal was to be finished in time to wear it for Halloween.

I was optimistic at first, thinking that roughly 45 days should be plenty of time to knit a simple hauberk, and I thought I might even have the time to knit a coif  as well, but now I’m pretty doubtful. Take a look at the picture below:

That’s exactly 171 rings, and about 5 inches by 3 when the fabric is stretched out. It may look all right but it took me three days to make it. I prep the rings during the day by squeezing them just enough so that they close clean, closing some completely and opening other enough to knit with, and then I grab what I’ve prepped and do my knitting at night. At that rate it’s going to be very difficult to make a complete hauberk in time for Halloween. My biggest obstacle at this point isn’t time, it’s pain.

The rings I’m using are 14 gauge stainless steel, with an inner diameter of 3/8 inches. They’re workable with pliers, but I wouldn’t call it easy, and since it’s not the sort of thing I’m used to doing, my wrists start to burn after a while. I’m trying not to push myself too hard for the time being, with the hope that in the long run my output will increase as my hands and wrists get used to this particular form of torment, but I expect the shirt to clock in between 12,500 and 14,000 links (sleeveless and to the waist, so not a full hauberk but good enough for Halloween and I can finish it later), which means I need to increase my production to much more than my current average of 55 per day.

A less stubborn person would probably give up now, but I’m going to plow ahead for a while. I may still find myself shopping for a costume the day before Halloween, or throwing something together out of spare bits and pieces, but I’ll see how far I can take this in the next 40 days.

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