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Bouncing Again

I really wish I could focus on one skill and develop it completely before going on to try something else, but that isn’t me. I have too many interests, and I want to indulge all of them at once. Not only that, but after being anchored to crochet for, what, four months I think, I am heartily sick of my crochet hooks for the time being.

That being said, I’ve been eyeballing my chain maille tools again, and looking up tutorials on YouTube. There are a few weaves that I’ve been very interested in learning, and until just tonight, it didn’t occur to me to look for chain maille tutorial videos. Now that it has, a whole new world has opened up there! The one I was most interested in, the dragonscale weave, was a very detailed Beadaholique tutorial, and I think I might actually be able to handle it! But I need to really look at the best way to create my own jump rings, for one thing, and I have a deep, deep desire to get my hands on some niobium rings. From what I’ve researched so far, it seems like The Ring Lord, as always, is my best bet there, as far as both quality and pricing. But Chain Weavers also has a mix that I’m interested in. Choices, choices…

And then, of course, there is my eternal downfall: tools. I have a decent set of jewelry making pliers that I think I bought from Fire Mountain Gems, but they’re a good eleven years old now, and not the highest quality, like Knipex or Tronex. The problem there is that the high quality pliers also carry a high price: each of the brands I just named run around $50 each. You need at least two sets of pliers to create chain maille, so you’re already at $100, and then for the dragonscale weave you need two sizes of jump rings. The niobium at the Ring Lord is about $25/ounce at its most expensive, I think, so another $50 if I use them, or about $70 if I go with Chain Weavers.

Choices, choices…

Most likely, I’m going to err on the side of caution this time. This is not like crochet or beadwork, both of which I’ve done for so many years that I feel warranted in buying higher quality tools. I haven’t done enough chain maille work to feel justified in upgrading my tools yet. I’m looking and daydreaming, but not buying! The few bits of chain maille I have done were bracelets for my kids, and they didn’t remain intact for very long. I don’t know if it was something I did wrong, or if it was just the inevitable result of giving children delicate jewelry. It could also be a little of both.

Either way, no upgrades yet. Jump rings, though, are kind of a necessity, if I’m going to do anything at all. Unlike all my other artistic obsessions, I haven’t indulged this one very much at all, which means my supplies are very low. I’ve invested in beads like nobody’s business over the years, and they’re relatively inexpensive. Yarn…well, we all know my yarn stash is ridiculous and continues to grow. Again, fairly inexpensive, but only because I balk at spending over a certain amount for one skein of yarn. While no one would ever accuse me of being thrifty, I won’t spend a lot of money on really high-end yarn unless I know I’ve got a project in mind, and I’m confident that it’s not only going to come out right, but also that I’m going to stick with it to the end.  The gods know, there are a ton of WIPs floating around that haven’t even come close to being finished. Neither of the Toothless amigurumi are completely done, and I started those how long ago??! So I don’t want to spend too much in that department either.

So: low supplies as far as rings go, and I will have to invest some money there in order to do even the smallest beginner projects. The reason my supplies have been so sadly neglected here is that unless you go really low quality–which, in my mind, is aluminum or copper–jump rings and wire both cost far more than a tube of glass seed beads, even if you’re talking about Delicas. A tube of Delicas, let’s just say for the sake of argument, at a cost of $5 per ounce, usually translates into, say, 1000 beads. An ounce of niobium jump rings is roughly, depending on gauge, up to 600 rings, for $25 at the lowest. In order to have a comparable number of rings in comparison to beads, you’re talking $50 in comparison to $5. That has an effect on the financial landscape. And so, my supply of jump rings has been sadly neglected. That will have to be remedied very slowly. I haven’t yet found a local supplier of jump rings other than Michaels or stores of that type, and I’ve never seen anything other than aluminum or copper there.

As far as making my own jump rings, I have a local store, Ackley’s, where I’ve bought semi-precious stones and various types of wire from sterling silver to copper, and their prices are good, but my setup for doing it myself is not. I have a jewelry saw for the cutting, and the little doohickey that you attach to a desk or something else stationary that you brace your mandrill in to do the actual cutting, but it doesn’t stay still, and the cutting takes for-gorram-ever to do. I need to figure out a better way to do it. I only tried it with the cheap craft wire I bought at JoAnn’s, because I didn’t want to risk messing up sterling silver wire. That would have pissed me off!!! So the silver wire waits until I can figure out the best way to cut it myself.

On the home front, last night, for the second time in about a week, our neighbor’s sewer line backed up into her basement. When I say “backed up”, I mean they were using buckets to bail out the basement, which is pretty disgusting on any level, and to have it happen twice, well, she has my sympathy. We live in an older, established neighborhood, where much of the piping running from the houses to the street are still clay, and invite the intrusion of tree roots. We’ve had it happen here, too, but not to the extent that our neighbor has. And while she has my sympathy, what bothers me is that instead of calling a plumber, she called the PIP for help in bailing the basement out last night. As you’ll recall from my previous post, he’s pretty sick right now, but felt obligated to go help, as her adult son, who lives with her, was not home. It bothers me because that same son owns a cell phone, and she could have called him home, but instead calls us at ten pm, because she didn’t want to call her son, and didn’t want to call Roto Rooter because she didn’t want to deal with people herself. As a result, the PIP did go over to help, and did not arrive home again until around five pm today, after he finally got the go-ahead to call out the plumber, and was made to stay again to deal with the plumber for her because she didn’t want to do it herself.

Now, maybe I’m just selfish, but bronchitis isn’t exactly an invisible illness. You know he’s sick. You can hear it in his voice, you can hear the constant coughing and wheezing…once you realize he’s ill, in my opinion, that’s when you take responsibility for your own home, call your adult child home to help, and send the PIP back to his. What you don’t do is insist that the sick individual stay and wade through sewage with you, without any kind of hazmat gear or mask or anything, and keep him there for nearly twenty-four hours to talk to the plumber for you because you don’t want to do it yourself. That, in my opinion, is truly inconsiderate. But that’s just me.

Anyway, I’d better go get my oldest off to bed. Buenas noches!

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