19 September 2013

Origins (Part 1)

I realized last week that I talk about my maille all the time, but I've never actually told you how I got started. There are two parts to this: How I got started in the hobby, and who got me started. The latter will focus on my family, my heroes. I already wrote that part but in an extremely unfortunate incident, the draft was deleted before reaching the server. It'll take me a while to rewrite it because I need to do it justice. The former is what I'll tell you today. So gather round, ladies and gents and everyone, it's story time.

In 2003 I was a freshman in college. Uni life opened up a ton of new experiences for me that I never had access to in high school. I had a roommate for the first time in my life. There were new sports to try and new subjects to learn and new religions to explore. One thing that introduced me to nearly everything else was the Fencing club. Swordplay, huzzah! Finally, I met a group of people who liked the same kind of sport as me, and we had other similar interests too. These same people got me into Tabletop RPGs, Halo 2, new sports, new classes, new everything.

So one of my friends from the club had a roommate who made chain maille. The first time I saw him working on it, I was flabbergasted. No way was this still a thing! I thought it died hundreds of years ago? I was captivated. Thrilled. It looked like a style of knitting that I could do. I needed it. It was incredible. So I asked him to make me a bracelet. I think I paid $20 and then pestered him about it for the next 6 weeks while he waited for his Ring Lord order and then put it together for me.

When I finally got it, I only wore it for about a week. It wasn't badly made or anything, but owning it wasn't enough. The small college town was well-stocked with art & jewelry supplies because of the uni's art department, so it didn't take long before I found 2 sets of toothless pliers. I still use the same bent-nose pliers today, 10 years later! I took apart the entire bracelet, and then stopped. I didn't know what the hell I was doing. I tried to figure out the pattern from memory but it was no good. Google to the rescue! I was able to find when I recognized the logo from watching my friend's roomie order the rings. I signed up for their forum (on an account I've long since lost) and began browsing for tutorials. Eventually I came across some, including cgmaille.com - a valuable tool for anyone starting the hobby. Not only does that place have 4-in-1, but a bunch of others too! I tried as many different patterns as I could before the rings began to snap apart from being worked too much. I still couldn't get enough, and my roommate was equally enthralled. We took what little money we had leftover from books and supplies, and we ordered a bunch of aluminum and steel from TRL.

It was so much fun. Not only did we now have a cool new hobby, but we each had someone to bounce ideas off of, to offer criticism, and to help each other improve. We were both completely self-taught but we helped each other out and learned how to make some cool stuff really quickly. The resources online were also a massive help, as well as the great folks at the TRL forum.

Later on, my roomie and I decided we were good enough to take the hobby a bit more serious. There's a craft & wares faire on campus every year at the beginning of December, and we thought "Why not?" We applied for a temporary state tax ID, registered ourselves as The Mischief Makers, and applied for a one-day spot. Our lucky stars aligned and we had a most ideal location, right by a main entrance to the student union building. I really don't know how we did it. That weekend was a blur. We easily made a profit over what we spent on the show and supplies. The success and the money only fueled the love for the hobby more, and after that I always found time to work on some maille.

I don't know why it piqued my interest so hard at first. Maybe because it was so unique, or maybe because it hit that same part of my brain that Robin Hood and King Arthur live in. Maybe it's a giant cocktail of emotions and passions and interests. But this is how I really got started. I haven't put down the pliers since then. still have an old piece of maille from when I began, and it is full of flaws. I keep it as a memento of how much I've learned and improved, because the difference is easily noticeable.

As much as I love how unique this hobby is, I realize it's becoming more popular every day. Craft stores now have small chain maille sections by their jewelry supplies. It's fantastic! I want to encourage its growth too. If you ever have questions about getting started, I'd love to help you. Don't be shy, hit me up!

02 September 2013

PAX Prime 2013 - Oh my glob

Hello everyone! Hello to button traders, lanyard bearers, Enforcers, and attendees! Hello cosplayers, newlyweds, special guests, Spartans, and AIs! Hello gamers, publishers, devs, panelists, and exhibitors! Hello everyone!

How was your PAX? Mine was amazeballs. I met so many amazing people and saw so much wonderful technology. I traded buttons and pins with the nicest strangers I've ever met. I bought a Catbug and ate sugar peas! I stood between the Xbox and Playstation booths and listened to gamers of both persuasions discussing (and bashing/praising) the new consoles with the most heartfelt passion. I sold PA tee shirts and scarves to all walks of human life, and I handed out a hundred pins and a hundred business cards. If that's how you've stumbled across this blog, then hello again. :) It was so nice to meet you.

I realize I'm being extremely vague, and I'll be totally honest. PAX is a total blur of happy for me. I'm sad that I missed the final day. I caught up on some much needed rest, then headed back to Redmond for a day in the Internet mines. I feel each year like I'm attending a massive family reunion with all of my weird, crazy, awesome, incredible distant cousins. More than the games, I'm so excited to catch up with people and hear about how their lives have changed.

So allow me to wrap up my lunch break here at work by delivering a heartfelt Thank You to you all. I'll write more in the coming week and month. But for now I need to focus on my day job, and preparing for GeekGirlCon. My brain matter is oozing with delicious ideas that I picked up at PAX, and I now feel equally excited and freaked out about being an exhibitor. I know what I need to do to prepare, and I know just how little time I have. It's going to be a wonderfully busy month. I hope to see some of you there in October!

More to come, I promise. ^_^ Now kick your shoes off and relax. You've all been on your feet a lot this weekend.

08 August 2013

Looking back, Going forward

Holy monkeys, it's been way too long since I dusted off the ol' blog. This past year has been busy and full of changes! 

Last year's Kickstarter project went well and was quickly followed by another. A week after PAX, I got a new job. The new job has drastically changed my life in great ways, but it also meant I had to give up some of my side projects. I stepped away from BFR Games (and wish them nothing but the best!) and backed off on my hobbies a bit. I even let Knitted Steel slide for a while as I adjusted to my new schedule and work load. It's been a thrilling, exhausting, and wonderful year. I apologize if I've left anyone in the lurch or failed to respond to a support request. And I thank everyone who's supported me in the past year! 

Looking forward, there are some great things on the horizon.

First off, I've upgraded my store! It is now much more mobile-friendly, thanks to Storenvy's new Cooper Theme. Plus I've tweaked the design a little bit with some custom CSS for more personal flair. Check it out if you'd like. I may still update its look with a new banner, but the site itself is ready to go.

Coming up are two big conventions in Seattle: PAX Prime, and GeekGirlCon. Currently I have a special shipping option for PAX Prime if you'd still like to order something. It will allow you free hand-delivery. Only select this option if you plan to be at the show. 

GeekGirlCon looks to be even more exciting, because for the first time ever, I will be a vendor. That's right, I've got my own booth space! This will be the first time vending a large show since my college days when my roommate and I partnered up as The Mischief Makers, and I couldn't be more excited. I'll update this blog again once I have more information like booth # and location, but here are the current details. I'll be sharing my booth space with the super awesome Kiri Callaghan! She'll be signing and selling her book So if you like reading and watching geeky things, and you like wearing shiny maille, stop by and see us. :) I'll have a Square card reader for credit card purchases, and my website will loaded up on a tablet and ready to go for custom orders. 

More to come very soon. For now, be sure to get your PAX Prime orders in as soon as possible! Once I have my Enforcer schedule, I will email everyone with details of when and where to pick up your goodies. 

29 May 2012



Alright, so I didn't update a week after that last one. Terrible. To bring you up to speed:
The winner of the stretch bracelet naming thing was "Stretchmaille." Simple, functional, easy to say. Yay!

Punk Rock Flea Market is still in the works. I have been building displays and mailling LOTS of stock for this show, even though it's a one-day affair. I am sticking to less expensive items, though I will have some flashy pieces to show off as well. My boothmate is going to be the amazingly talented Sylvia Armitstead, aka Saberlin, with her beautiful art prints. It should be a good day.

PAX East is over, and PAX Prime is less than 100 days away. You know what that means: Time to order lanyards. They can be found at my Storenvy shop; I'll be updating the listings to include a guaranteed cutoff date for PAX, as well as options for hand delivery at the show (free shipping!).


Now, the big topic of this post is my other project. Outside of work, maille, and life, my board game is very quickly coming to life.

As of this morning at 3:45am PST, Disaster Looms! is fully funded thanks to the hundreds of backers who put their faith and funds in our creativity. But my team and I are not done yet! We want to make the game even more awesome. Please, spread the word (and the link to our Kickstarter page) and help us hit the $40k mark.

For those unfamiliar with Kickstarter, you might be saying "But it's already funded. Why are you begging for more money?"

The truth is not greed or profit, but truly that we want to make the game amazing AND keep the savings going through the rest of the fundraiser. If you pledge $50 right now, you'll not only be helping us reach our next goal, you will also receive a copy of the game for less than retail value. For $65 you'll get the game plus exclusive bonuses that we will never print again. That's a hell of a value, and you're helping a group of young, enthusiastic people break into the board game industry and prove that small businesses can produce fantastic things. The extra money we earn from Kickstarter will be going straight into the game.

If you have any interest in board games, family nights, occasional evenings away from the TV and console, or even space exploration: take a look at this game. With your help it can become a 6-player experience, expanding the Galaxy with its perils and profits along the way.

Once again, a HUGE thank you to all of the folks who have backed us so far. I joined this project in October, and until now it has not felt quite so real. If anyone wants to see the game up close, two of my teammates will have a demo prototype copy at ORIGINS this week in Columbus, OH. My partners Eric and Wombat will be at Booth #853. Go say hi and pick up a complimentary FRIDGE MAGNET. Woo!

19 March 2012


Good morrow everyone! I hope Winter treated you all well. Spring is here at last. The days are getting brighter and longer, which of course means more sunlight makes its way into my home. It also means that I can see the layer of dust... Eep. Time to clean.

Knitted Steel came back to 2012 with raging success. With the help of Storenvy, the lanyard orders this year were easier, faster, and more organized than ever. As far as I know, the USPS didn't lose a single one in transit (if yours hasn't arrived, email me!) and I have a perfect record of every order. Storenvy has my business for a long time to come. So long, Etsy.

When you order a bracelet, choose two colors:
The Aluminum color, and the Rubber color.

Stretch Bracelets
Coming soon to my shop is my stretch bracelets! Formerly known as pirate bands, I'd like to rename them. They no longer fit the reasons behind calling them "Pirate Bands" - back in college I found something nearly identical online called Ninja Bracelets and I, well, borrowed the idea - and "Stretch Bracelets" is informative yet boring.

So, my trusty creative readers, what would you call them? Post a comment here with your ideas, and I'll reward the best name with two custom bracelets. If multiple people have the same idea, it's first post-first served. Be sure to include your email so I can contact you. I'll wait until Saturday to choose. Come on guys, show me what you can come up with!

Punk Rock Flea Market
I'm doing a show! On June 23rd, the Punk Rock Flea Market is appearing for one day in Belltown. I'll put full details in a post closer to the event, but I can tell you right now that it's a full day of music, drinks, and all kinds of awesome stuff for sale. Admission is $1 that goes to charity. I will be featuring my bracelets, which I make custom for you in 10 minutes for $10. I'll also have some necklaces, earrings and keychains to show off. If there's anything in particular that you'd like to see at my table, let me know. I love hearing your suggestions.

Happy Spring, everyone. To those attending PAX East, have a wonderful time. If you're going to Emerald City ComiCon, say hi if you see me! I'll either be dressed as Tasha Yar or Starbuck.

15 February 2012

Extended Deadline!

Because I like you guys so much, and because I am knitting these things together LIKE LIGHTNING, I am officially extending my deadline.

If you'd like to guarantee your lanyard arriving in time for PAX East or Emerald City ComiCon, order by February 20th.

Do it now! You know you want toooooo.

Visit my store on Storenvy

12 January 2012

Happy New Year! Who Wants a Lanyard?

Knitted Steel is back in action. After a long-overdue vacation from my various jobs, I am refreshed and ready for 2012. And look at what's coming up! Emerald City ComiCon in Seattle, followed by PAX East in Boston. I will not be able to attend PAX East, however I will still gladly make and ship lanyards to folks in time for the show.

Visit my store on Storenvy

This year, I'm doing things differently.
This year, I have a store.

Rather than trying to keep track of orders through this blog, email, two forums and verbal contracts, I am finally doing this in a more organized fashion; no spam filter will lose your order.

For the two upcoming shows I will be making 50 lanyards, maximum. In order to guarantee your lanyard arriving in time, please get your order in by Wednesday, February 15th. Orders will close either March 1st, or whenever 50 orders are taken. Currently available in the store are two options: A custom 2-color lanyard, or the "Enforcer Blend." (Enforcers, check the forum for extra information.)

I will be adding a 3rd option this evening - custom 3-color lanyards. This option will be the same price as the Enforcer Blend - that is, $5 more than 2 colors.

None of these options include the choice of different metals. So here's the deal:
Super special custom order lanyards will still be done on a case by case basis. It is dependent mostly upon the availability of the materials. I buy all of my rings from The Ring Lord. If something there catches your attention, email me (jules @ knittedsteel . net) and I will respond as soon as possible. I will work with anything except Anodized Titanium. These orders must be received by February 15th or will be subject to a rush fee.

I think that's everything. If you have any questions, please email me: jules @ knittedsteel . net and in the subject line type "LANYARD QUESTION."

Happy PAXing!