Chain mail

I have always been fascinated by Chain mail as they are sold on medieval markets. Of course they were much too expensive to purchase, so I seeked a way to do them myself. This page (translated by myself - Jaelle n'ha Gilla) is "borrowed" from  Sven Tiffe who did this in German. He didn't object that I wanted to publish this in English on my page. So thank you, Sven! And here it is.

For a Chain mail of T-Shirt size you will need about 7000 rings with a diameter of about 1 cm. The rings should be from stainless steel. You can buy them for around 150 DM at tool shops or from medieval suppliers. Don't attempt to make the rings from wire yourself. They will probably be too soft to carry. Apart from the rings you need 2 tweezers and a lot of patience.

The start is always hardest. If you catch up on the principle and know where each ring belongs work goes on faster.

Here we go:

The method how to do this comes with the rings. It is not my invention (and not even Sven's whom I got this page from).

First begin with preparing a few dozen rings. Half of them must be bent open, so another ring can be slipped through the opening, the other half of the rings must be closed.

Start with the mail by knitting a chain of rings, where every second element consists of two rings. The first ring is connected with two rings, which again are connected with one ring etc. When laying the chain on the palm of your hand they should fall like depicted here.

The following row starts with a ring that is fastened to the first ring of the lower row (white). This ring (black) lies under the first gray ring

The second ring of this row is then connected with the two white rings so that it lies under the two gray rings of the row above.


The final ring of this row is then drawn through the last white ring of the row above. Mind that the rings of one row are always looking the same way. I.e. they must all fall "forward" or "backward". This ensures that later, when you look at the Chain mail from sideways, a regular zigzag pattern shows up.


The first ring of the next row (white) is now slipped through both of the black rings of the last row. If you forgot which way the rings are falling, try to draw the chain tight. It is easier to make the first piece of chain a little longer (broader).

The second white ring is slipped through the last already connected black ring and the next unconnected black ring.



That's the principle. Work your way through about 80 rows the same way as shown above. Once the Chain mail has become a little longer, it becomes easier because the rings will always fall in the same pattern.

If you have finished that you can either start with another piece that will be attached to this first piece side by side or you can start to knit sideways going from the first mat.

For this take two closed rings and slip through them one open ring. This ring is draw through the lowest two rings of the mat. It is important that this ring - like in the picture - is slipped through the two rings always from underneath upwards (or downwards if the mat lies the other way around) through both rings at the same time. Lay out the two loose rings like shown.


Through the next ring insert another directed ring: from above through the outer gray ring and through the inner gray and black one from underneath.

Continue like this until you have reached the top.

In principle each ring is woven into four other rings. The rows fall forward and backward one by one. Each new ring is slipped in place in the same direction through the above rings.

As a general pattern follow the pattern of a wide T-Shirt you have.

Have fun weaving and wearing this !