Step 2: Begin the Circular Base
1. Open your 16 ga. 5/16" ring*. Otherwise, open one of your 16 ga. 1/4" rings and set it aside. This will be your Base Ring.
2. Close 8 rings. Make sure they are closed all the way with the ends flush. Bad closures makes for weak and scratchy maille, which translates into lost and/or damaged dice, so pay close attention to your closures!
3. Put your 8 closed rings onto your Base Ring.
4. Close your base ring and arrange your rings as shown, with each ring overlapping the next. This is Row 1.
Picture 2 - Row 2
1. Open a small pile of rings. You're going to need a lot of open rings for the steps ahead. In fact, you might end up opening all of them, depending on your technique. So go ahead and make a little pile right now to use for the base.
2. Thread one of your rings through two of the Row 1 rings.
3. Close the ring.
4. This is the tricky to relate in words, but if you look at the picture it should make sense. Take another ring and thread it through one of the Row 1 rings you just wove into, and the Row 1 ring next to it that isn't yet connected to a Row 2 ring. Your two Row 2 rings should be sort of overlapping each other, sharing a Row 1 ring between them.
5. Continue in this manner with 6 more rings, being sure to keep your rings overlapping correctly, like flower petals. A common mistake is to accidentally have one ring be overlapped by both of its neighbors, or vice-versa. It's a good idea to check your orientation by setting your base down once you've finished and comparing it to the picture. This is something you're going to have to be mindful of with every step of the process, but don't worry; you'll settle into the groove after a couple of rows.
* Beginner's Note: Always open rings with a twisting motion. Do not grab the ends and pull the ring into a "C" shape. This weakens the metal and deforms the circular shape, which makes it pretty much impossible to close it back into a nice, clean circle. You want your open rings to look like part of a spring.