Given what you've just said I think you probably would love it - it has some really interesting designs that don't look too complicated - she says, having never tried it yet!!
I'm going to have to wait for a while to get jump rings it would seem the bank says no!!
Oh, lots and lots of questions on one of my favourite subjects!
I'll try to cover as many as I can, apologies if I miss any first time
For a very first project, I'd say buy the rings. When you're trying to get a feel for how it all works, it's nice to remove one variable that can go wrong. Copper is great for practising with, and copper rings are inexpensive. I'd happily recommend the dragonfly company: home for these.
When you feel you want to cut your own, there are several ways to go. A jeweller's saw and a pack of blades really is very inexpensive indeed. You can get a basic frame and a pack of 2/0 blades for under a tenner. I have a koil kutter, but still like to hand saw a lot of my rings. It's satisfying, accurate, and can be really quite quick once you get into the swing of it.
If you want to use flush cutters (which is slower) you must use the cut/reverse/cut technique: make the first flush cut, then reverse the pliers so the new flush end is 'inside' the bevelled edge of the cutters to make the next cut. This will leave you with a round ring with two flush edges. Reverse the pliers again and snip away the next tiny piece of the coiled wire (which is bevelled) and repeat the process. If you try to cut the edge from a finished ring, it will no longer be a full circle.
Good books on maille are few and far between. The Dylon White book referred to (the beaded one) actually has very, very few weaves, and is far more about how to incorporate beads with jump rings, which is fine if you want to do that. The David Scott Plumlee is beautifully illustrated, but is only one weave (byzantine), and variations on it. There is Chains by Becky, but the recommended ring sizes tend to very odd, and virtually all the weaves are renamed versions of ones freely available elsewhere.
The internet is by far the best resource for maille patterns - CGMaille.com - Chainmaille Tutorials & Graphics has the nicest renderings, and M.A.I.L. - Maille Artisans International League - Home is huge and rambling, but contains most weaves somewhere!
I use a cordless electric screwdriver with a snap in 3 pronged chuck for winding, just tuck one end of the wire into the chuck, and hit the power button. If you work 'off the reel' you only need to guide the wire gently to get nice tight even coils. Some people wear a glove (old golf gloves are perfect and very soft) but I only protect my thumb if I'm getting to the end of a coil of wire, when it could spin and cut.
If I've missed anything important, please remind me - I'm always happy to answer maille questions!
Ok complete amateur question but I am assuming you buy wire to make the rings? And knitting needles are used as a measurement to wrap the wire around so if you wanted 4mm ones you'd have 4mm needles?
I'm off to check out those websites - thanks George.
and as i have today, go to a charity shop for you knitting needles, went to get some for the kids school and they had allsorts although apparently they are not allowed to sell them! but still payed 50p a pair and even better odd ones so you only need by one lol x
Thats a good idea - I might check a charity shop out when I am out and about tomorrow - I've been wondering for a while why people keep mentioning knitting needles