If you're familiar with maille, you might know about European 4-1, possibly even European 6-1, but Japanese weaves can also be very useful both in jewelry and armor. By far the easiest of armor weaves, Japanese 4-1 can be picked up in a matter of minutes. This is the best weave for first-time "chain maillers".
Step 1: The First Strip
Depending on how large/small you want your piece of 4-1 Japanese mail to be, add more or less rings in this step. Take your larger sized rings and close all of them. Then, take your smaller rings and use one small ring to connect two larger rings. Continue this until you have a long chain of large and small rings. See picture below for example.
Step 2: The Second "Row"
Now that you have your chain, grab one of the ends and shift it around until it is the position shown in the picture. Now take a smaller ring and connect the two rings shown in the picture.
Step 3: The Third "Row" (Part 1)
After step 2 you will notice that you have made a small 2x2 square on the left-hand side. Shift the piece of mail so that the long strip coming off of the square is pointing away from you. With your left hand, hold the square down and with your right hand, swing the long line around until it is pointing to the right. Connect the two rings pointed out in the picture.
Step 4: Third "Row" (Part 2)
The last step, much like the others, is very simple. Take the chain that was left hanging off after step 3 and swing it down the side of the piece. Connect the rings in the spots shown in the picture. Now you're finished with your 3x3 square! The next step will deal with Japanese 4-1 variations and will lead into my next "maille" instructable.
Step 5: Japanese Variations
In japanese weaves, rings can be doubled quite easily in order to increase strength. Doubling rings to increase strength is known as making a variation. There are two main 4-1 variations: 8-2 and 8-1.
The first picture is a picture of Japanese 8-1. The second is an example of Japanese 8-2. In my next instructable I will cover how to make Japanese 6-1 and its variations!