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Through Eye vs Around Eye

Author's Note
I wanted to contribute my tutorials to to help ensure that the entire chainmaille community has access to them. The tutorials are presented here with the same images and text from my old site CGMaille. I hope they continue to help inspire you to learn and create many amazing pieces!

In maille theory, the main difference between the European and Persian families is the concept of 'TE' and 'AE' connections. TE stands for Through Eye and AE stands for Around Eye. European weaves almost exclusively use TE connections, whereas Persian weaves use both. This isn't so much a tutorial, as a description. I'm not telling you how to make these connections; I'm talking about what the connections are. This way I can use the terminology in my other tutorials without confusing people.

Here are the basic units: a small strip of HP3-1 and an E4-1 fivelet.


These should be completely familiar to you. If you're looking at the picture and saying, 'What the heck are those ringy things?' then you're in the wrong place.

Let's look at the European 4-1 first. Here we see the middle ring going through 4 other rings; two above and two below. Again, this shouldn't be anything new.


If you take a look at the top two rings, you should notice that they overlap. This overlap is called an 'eye.' I've highlighted the eye in gold below. See how the middle ring goes through the eye? This is the Through Eye (TE) connection. Not a very imaginative name, but it gets the point across.


Now let's look at the Half Persian 3-1.


If we take away the two of the top rings, we can focus on what's happening to a single ring.


In this case, the top ring is going through 3 other rings. With these 3 rings, there are 2 eyes; one to the left and one to the right. The eye on the left (highlighted in silver) is a TE connection. The top ring goes right through the eye, just as in the case of the E4-1 TE connection.


The eye on the right however (highlighted in bronze), is an AE connection, since the top ring goes all the way around the eye, but never actually goes through it. The top ring still goes through the right-most ring; just not in the eye portion.


Now let's move to Half Persian 4-1. HP4-1 has the same basic structure as HP3-1, but each ring goes through 4 other rings, instead of 3. (Hence it's called HP4-1. They went all out naming these weaves, didn't they?)


Again, let's remove all but one of the top rings, so we can see what all's going on.


In this case, there are two TE's (silver) and one AE (bronze).


At this point, you might be saying, 'Ok, how about E6-1. Those go through 3 rings on either side, just like HP3-1. Wouldn't that have AE connections and be in the Persian family?' Well the answer, space cowboy, is no. Let's take a look and see why. Here's a basic E6-1 unit (a seven-let, as it were):


In this case, the middle ring goes through 3 top rings and 3 bottom rings. The reason why this is E6-1 and not a HP3-1 sheet weave is that all the eyes are TE's. The middle ring of the seven-let passes directly through the eyes. This is true for E6-1, E8-1 and all the rest of the basic European weaves.


That should give you a basic understanding of the Through Eye and Around Eye connections. While there are more complex weaves that blur the boundary between what is a 'Euro' and 'Persian' connection (HP3-1 sheet 5 for example), those are stories for another day.
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