Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Blog Egage found me a great site...

I signed up for Blog Engage about a while back. It is a fairly new social bookmarking site for bloggers. It is primarily set up for bloggers to promote their blogs. The man who runs it is very helpful, friendly and works hard to make this new site a success. I highly recommend you check it out. Blog Engage

As a result of having submitted several posts from this blog, I was contacted by Crafty Tips and asked to submit my website and Etsy links. I checked out the site and it looks great! So, yes, I submitted my links. I also placed their logo link in my sidebar.

Ahh, social networking, what a wonderful thing.

Beading Fever

Apparently my muse was not done with me yet...

In my previous post "Riding the Waves", I said I was tempted to keep the bracelet with the orange gemstone chips. I have changed my mind. I want to keep this one.



It is reversible, too.



I also made some earrings to go with it.



I have also finished this one with snowflake obsidian beads.



My creative energies come in waves. For awhile, I will be empty and unable to create anything. I do have various tricks to trigger my creativity, but it can be difficult at times. Then, when a creative wave hits me, I am in a fever. Ideas spill over and I even have trouble sleeping. I don't want to eat or do anything but bead. This past week is one of those times. I get so exhausted, but I admit I love it anyway.

Riding the Waves


While playing with my basic "Waves" pattern, varying the beads I use. I dug into my stash of leftover beads and found some of various colors, shapes and sizes. Some are gemstone chips, some pressed glass, and some faceted. I have had a blast! I ended up making 5 bracelets and a choker (or collar) necklace. I am in the middle of another bracelet and the ideas are not slowing down...

(Photo at top shows my new creations in order from top to bottom. )

First, I did a simple variation - adding some stone beads in the "waves" part of the bracelet. I wanted to use my new imitation "cherry quartz" beads as focals and matched the rest of the bracelet to them. I tried a vermeil (gold-plated over sterling silver) hook and eye closure.

Second, I used orange gemston chips (sorry, I don't what they are) and green focals. This time I used a button closure without a tassel. I am sorely tempted to keep this one for my personal collection.

Third, I used an assortment of mixed glass beads in various shapes in aqua, teal, and white. This time, I started with the button and ended with the button hole with a tassel. I think this is my favorite closure for this bracelet series as it allows the bracelet to be worn with either side showing - reversible!

Fourth, I had to try for a necklace that could be worn as a choker or as a collar. I have wanted to use this assortment of white and clear beads for some time. I think this necklace, if worn with side A showing, would look great with that little black dress. Or, if worn with side B showing, It makes a beautiful bridal necklace. (In photo above, I folded the necklace so as to show both sides - B on top, A on bottom.)

Fifth, for those who like purple, I made the next bracelet with a variety of purple beads of varying shades and textures. I tried a sterling silver lobster claw on this one. I still like the button closure with a tassel.

Sixth, I had this assortment of beads just sitting around waiting for its chance. I think this is where the beads belong. I returned to the button closure with a tassel and I love it.

Here's a close-up:

Amazing "Shoe Purses"

I was surfing Etsy the other day and I came across a very unique shop "Junquete". Like many of us, the artist who owns that shop loves shoes and purses. She has put them together to make "Shoe Purses". I love them, they are unique and practical. They will literally "stand up". She reports that the one she kept for herself has lasted through all kinds of use. You really must see them, she currently has two listed here.

Spirals Lariat Necklaces


As I am transferring content from the other website over here, I have decided to rewrite some of it and in this case combine some related posts to create one post showcasing my "Spiral Lariat Necklaces".

The one in photo above, I used only black cord, gray seed beads and purple Czechoslavakian fire-polished crystal round focal beads. I like the dual neutrals with the purple contrast - this is one of my favorite lariats.

This next one has purple cord with cobalt blue facted Czechoslavakian fire-polished crystal round focal beads. Sort of a traditional look with a twist. This one is currently listed at my Etsy Shop. See "Necklaces" section.

This one used up some brown oval glass beads I had in my stash, as well as some other amber and brown glass ones. I think it all worked out pretty nice, and this is another one of my favorite lariats. This one is currently listed at my Etsy Shop. See "Necklaces" section.
This last one deserves the full description:

I used a little subtle asymmetry between the beaded segments in the body of the lariat and the beaded segments heading the tassels. In the body, the segments are comprised of the triangular bead surrounded by the dark teal beads. The tassel head segments are comprised of the triangular bead surrounded by one dark teal bead and one clear bead.

Then, a little asymmetry between the segments in the head of the tassels and the beaded segments at the bottom of the tassels. The tassel head segment has no spacer beads within (only at each end as on all segments). The segments at bottom of tassel does have spacer beads. See tassel on right in photo below.

Then, I began the second tassel fully intending to make it just like the first one. But, I made a mistake and missed one of the spacer beads. I tied it off before finding the mistake. I had pulled that ending knot too tightly to undo. I was now in a quandary. I did not want to lose all the work I put into the lariat! How could I fix this? How could I fix it without being obvious that I was “just fixing” it. Then, because I already had asymmetry on the brain, an idea came to me. Make the second tassel a more intense study of asymmetry! So, I finished off the strands as follows: One strand has no spacers, one has all the spacers, one has the spacer missing between the first two beads, and one has the spacer missing between the last two beads.

I really liked the result, but was afraid I was no longer objective. I asked my husband what he thought. He loved it. The asymmetry is a bit subtle and you don’t notice it right away. You just kind of notice there is something interesting about the necklace. Then, you look closer and…

Necessity is the mother of invention, is it not? I think I may experiment some more with asymmetry!

When it came to naming it, I was thinking something that suggests winter, ice, etc. We tossed out several names until I said “Winter Wonder”, sort of traditional sounding. My husband cinched it when he said that it fits because when you look at the necklace you “wonder” what is so interesting, and then you “wonder” if she did it on purpose!

Here is the finished lariat necklace. I must say this is my very favorite lariat yet...so, if no one buys it, it's mine! Right now it is on consignment at my favorite local coffee shop - Chiro Java in Seguin, Texas.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I Don't Understand

This morning: I woke up, fed the cats, got coffee and checked my email as I do every morning. I found to my delight, another order for a pattern. I processed it right away and sent the pattern. I moved on to check my Etsy Shop....

And found that the above mentioned customer had left me negative feedback, but no commentary as to why. I was stunned. I immediately emailed this person asking what was wrong with the order.

As I delved deeper, I noticed that this customer was from Portugal and new to Etsy. So, perhaps being new to Etsy and perhaps not fluent in English, this person clicked on "negative" instead of "positive". At least I hope that was what happened....

I take pride in my work and in providing good customer service. Of course, I am human and therefore not perfect so I do make mistakes. I try to correct them as soon as I find them.

I ask that, if you are unhappy with my product or service, to please contact me and allow me to fix the problem. I certainly cannot fix something unless I know about it...

This seems the week for problems. First, my other website got hacked. Then, my Sweetie has had some frustrations at work...and now, this. Hopefully, this constitutes Murphy's Law of Three - "Trouble comes in Threes"...and this will be the end of this spate of problems.

A little while later...

All is well. I have heard back from the customer and I was right - she is new to Etsy and clicked on the wrong button...whew!

I had posted on the forums and as a result, I found a great Free Translation Online service and I found out about an Etsy feedback function called "Kiss and Make-up". Clicking on it initiates a process to have negative feedback changed (if it was in error and with the agreement of the other person)

So, I have learned some things today!

All's well that ends well...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Macrame - Instructions, Patterns and Tutorials

Making macrame jewelry is a lot of fun. There are projects that are quite simple and those that are as complex as you can imagine. Once you have mastered the knots and how to put them together in various projects, a world of creative possibilities opens up. There are literally so many ways you can take this art that the possibilities seem endless.

To Get Started:
If you are totally unfamiliar with macrame, find "Basic Macrame Knots". You can use any kind of cord to practice the knots - even some that is thicker than you will eventually use for beading. This is just to get you familiar with the knots.

Are you ready for a project?

There are quite a few free instructions for various projects available on the internet. Although, not all of them are for micro macrame jewelry. A quick Google Search gave me several. One I liked at a glance was Hand Crafted by Elaine.

Of course, you could browse my "Patterns" and you may find a project you want to try.

Or browse "KnotGypsy's BookStore for Beaders" for a variety of beading books including some on beaded macrame. Most any book on macrame knots should suffice. Just find one you like. Do the illustrations show the steps clearly? Are the instructions understandable to you?

As always, if you have any comments or questions, I encourage you to leave them here or contact me (see my profile).

Glues and Closures

Glues, Etc

To stiffen the ends of the cord and to prevent fraying, I use clear fingernail polish. I paint some on, and gently twist the cord in the direction of the spiraled plies. After it dries, I snip the ends on a diagonal and paint a little more polish on. When making a large piece with a lot of small holed beads, I find I need to renew the ends from time to time. I find this most necessary with the Omega brand cord. As the C-lon is stiffer, the need is not so great. I've even made entire pieces with C-lon without the polish.

To secure end knots, I dab on some "Jewel Glue" by Delta. It is a fabric glue for attaching jewels, beads, & rhinestones to fabric. It is washable, so unlikely to dissolve if one of my pieces get wet. I don't recommend routinely getting the jewelry wet, but I may be overly cautious. I gave an ankle bracelet to a friend of mine about 3 years ago. She wears it all the time, and claims to even take a shower in it. It still looks much as it did when I made it. (Cord used was the Omega Brand.) I buy the glue at Walmart.

Closures:

I use a variety of closures, but the most often: buttons, lobster claws, and toggles. I try to get silver or gold plated clasps. Hopefully, soon I'll be able to upgrade to sterling and gold filled. Still Fire Mountain Gems is the store of my choice.

With the buttons, some metal, most plastic; depends on the button. There is a lot of variety in buttons. I say, let yourself go wild! I get them at sewing shops, Walmart, etc. My favorite local supplier is Hancock Fabrics. They have a large selection, larger than they have in their online store.

Well, that pretty much sums up my materials. Thank you for reading this, hope you found it informative (and maybe a little interesting?). Feel free to leave comments, tips, etc.

Work Surface

Let's talk about the surface used to pin your work to.

I got lucky, and bought a Puzzle Brand mousepad at garage sale many years ago (before I even started micro macrame!). I didn't even know why I was buying it, but it works wonderfully well. It is one of those old fashioned thick ones (5/8 inches thick, cloth covered). You, remember, those old, thick pads shaped kind of like a puzzle piece. I have just spent the last 30 minutes on google search looking for even an old used one. I failed. I could not find even one. Alas, all the modern mousepads are ultra thin. I have tried one of the new ones in a desperate attempt to have a back up in the event my beloved mousepad dies. Not so good.I don't know how I will survive when this one finally wears out.

A Call to the Universe: Help me find more of these thick mousepads!

Reading in various books on macrame, I see macrame boards, and cork boards mentioned (available at most hobby stores and some Walmarts). I have never tried the macrame boards, but I did try a cork (bulletin type) board, once. The cork board worked, but not nearly so well as my trusty mousepad. My mousepad is not only thick, but the foam rubber part is nice and dense. It grabs and holds my pins securely as I pull on it while knotting.

For now, my mousepad still lives. I worry about the day it dies. I will continue to search for one of these old type mousepads. Failing that, I will be looking for a pad of similar materials.

Anyone reading this blog, who knows of the whereabouts of such a pad, please leave a comment. Perhaps if enough of us crafters want some, some manufacturer will make them for us. I would even like one a little larger for larger projects. I mean, while I'm dreaming...

Jewels in Fiber


I have been buying my C-lon nylon beading cord from Jewels in Fiber for several months now. I have been extremely happy with her prices and her excellent customer service. She carries a variety of other cords as well.

Recently, I opened my mail to find C-lon micro cord samples! She sent me some samples without my asking for them! It was such a wonderful surprise.

Marion Hunziker-Larsen is also an amazing artist. I am in awe of her talent and skill at knotting. Her style is unique. I encourage you to take a look at her Collection.

So, official thanks to Marion for her excellent service and thoughtfulness. Applause for her gorgeous work.

Let's Talk About Beads


Although, I like to play with a wide variety of beads, and there are some very beautiful beads out there; not all of them will work with my designs. The biggest problem I run into is hole size. Some of my designs require as many as 4 strands of cord to pass through.

Through trial and error, I have found beads that work. My "Basics" as shown in photo above are seed beads (top row, in boxes) and faceted Czechoslavakian fire polished crystal rounds (bottom row). My favorite source is Fire Mountain Gems.

Note: In the descriptions below, I refer to C-lon beading cord and Omega nylon crochet thread. See post "Cord" for more information on these cords (and others) .

Seed Beads:

Size 11 - With C-lon cord, I can use most any brand. Delicas are very uniform and have a very nice hole size. Dynamites are a bit varied in size, giving a more organic look. Ornela Czech seed beads are quite beautiful, but their hole size is a bit smaller than the other brands. They still work with the C-lon beading cord, but not at all with the Omega nylon crochet thread.

Size 8 - Will accommodate 2 strands of cord (C-lon or Omega). Very useful as accent beads.

Size 6 - Will accommodate 4 strands of cord (C-lon or Omega). Very useful.

Czech Glass Beads:

Fire-Polished - I most commonly use 6mm and 8mm beads. Occasionally, I also use 4mm and 10mm beads.

  • 4mm - will accommodate 1 strand of C-lon, but not Omega.

  • 6mm - will accommodate 2 strands of C-lon (or Omega but it is a tight fit).

  • 8mm - will accommodate 4 strands of C-lon or (or Omega but it is a tight fit).

  • 10mm - will easily accommodate 4 strands of either cord and come in handy as focals.


Pressed Glass in various shapes - I really love to experiment with the different shapes, but the holes are typically small. Some of the smaller sized beads will accommodate only one strand of cord and the larger beads will only accommodate 2 strands (of either C-lon or Omega cords). The smaller teardrops and flower cones work especially well in tassels; and I do love tassels!

Gemstone Chips:

I have recently been experimenting with gemstone chips. I love the colors and the organic look. Chips offer a bit of chaos that I believe adds interest. The hole sizes are typically small, but will accommodate 1 strand of C-lon cord. So, I have had to develop designs (like "Criss Cross" and a variation of "Nouveau") just so I can use these beads.

There you have it, my most commonly used beads.

Cord


I use a variety of cord in my work. Here is a run down on each type and where I get it. Photo above shows C-lon nylon beading cord in the front row and Omega Brand Crochet Thread #2 in the back row. See below for more information.

C-lon nylon beading cord:

I discovered this cord this past January. I love it. Its gauge is narrow enough to fit through most size 11 seed beads (without too much difficulty). It comes in 64 colors and being nylon, it is durable. Although it is nylon, it has an organic look when knotted into jewelry. It runs a bit stiff, giving body to whatever piece I use in in. I get my C-lon beading cord at Jewels in Fiber.

They have now come out with C-lon Micro cord, so far in only 8 colors. I have not yet tried it...but I want to. It is apparently even narrower gauge than regular C-lon bead cord.

Bonded Twine a.k.a. Macrame Beading Cord:

This cord is a heavier gauge than all the other I am listing. It is too heavy a gauge to use with size 11 seed beads, but will often work with size 10 seed beads. I use this cord in designs that don't need the tiny seed beads and for items that need a bit of heft. I think this is a great cord for beginners. So far, the only place I know to get Bonded Twine is at Fire Mountain Gems. It comes in 14 colors.

Mastex Nylon #18:

So far I have only tried Mastex Nylon #18 once. (Also at Jewels in Fiber.) It has a narrower gauge than regular C-lon and is not as stiff. The suppleness will be good for designs that need less body but more draping qualities. I plan to try it some more, I just have not gotten around to it yet. It comes in 24 colors.

Omega Brand Nylon Crochet Thread #2:

I used this for years before I discovered C-lon bead cord. It has a slightly heavier gauge, which sometimes makes it difficult to thread through the holes in some brands of size 11 seed beads. Dynamite brand seed beads are the most reliable (in hole size), that I have found, for this cord. (I will discuss seed beads in future article.) It is supple and works great for items that need to drape (i.e. my "Spirals Lariat Necklace"). I also use it in my beaded crochet pieces. It comes in 80 colors, many quite vibrant. I first found it at my local Hobby Lobby store, but they did not always have it in stock or they did not always have the colors I wanted. I have since found this online source for Omega Brand Nylon Crochet Thread #2, but I have not yet ordered from this site.

Cotton crochet thread:

I used cotton crochet thread when I first began micro macrame. As an avid crocheter, it was what I had on hand. Its narrow gauge makes it easy to put through the holes in pretty much any size 11 seed bead (and some smaller sizes). It comes in a wide variety of colors. It holds its shape well when knotted into various designs. The main drawback is that if using beads with sharp edges around the holes (i.e. certain gemstone beads and many crystal beads), the cotton crochet thread will fray, eventually causing your work to fall apart. Cotton is organic and will eventually degrade. But if you use beads with smooth holes and take good care of jewelry pieces made with it, they should last for some time. I still consider cotton crochet thread to be a viable alternative in some pieces. I get mine at hobby stores, Walmart, etc.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fans Bracelet PATTERN Revised

I have received feedback from some customers that "Fans Bracelet PATTERN" was confusing. I answered their questions, but having more than one person with a question motivated me to take another look at the pattern.

I have just finished editing and rewriting the pattern to incorporate a cord numbering system (as suggested by one of the aforementioned customers). I have never worked with the numbering system, but I think I figured it out.

Please, if you ever buy one of my patterns and have questions, ASK! I can only improve if I receive feedback. I am too close to my work and therefore am not very objective. I don't see all of my mistakes because I see what it is supposed to be. I have been doing micro macrame for over 10 years and sometimes I don't remember which parts are more difficult to learn. Also, with years of experience, you develop the ability to just look at a piece and know what was done - it seems obvious to someone so experienced. I don't always remember what is not obvious to a beginner. I am always hoping to improve my teaching skills and feedback is the best tool I have.

In the next week, I will be collecting an email list of those who have purchased "Fans Bracelet PATTERN" in the past and will email them with a new improved copy. I apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this pattern has caused anyone.

Tapestry Bracelet PATTERN




Ever since I made the original "Tapestry Bracelet" some months ago, I have been receiving requests for the pattern. I have finally finished this pattern and have listed it at My Etsy Shop. See "Patterns" for this and other patterns. Want to try one out, but don't want to go out and buy all the materials in bulk? I offer kits for this pattern here.

This pattern has two levels and can be varied in very many ways. Make it wider or narrower, give the "bed" a more airy or more brick-like look. Beads in the upper layer can be varied for many, many different looks - you can even get a little bit sculptural with it. You are limited only by your imagination. I provide some ideas at the end of the pattern. (Instructions are written for the green bracelet in above photos with tips on how to vary it.).

I suggest having some micro macrame experience - at least intermediate level. Although, I do give very detailed instructions so some beginners may do all right. I would be interested in any feedback you may have about the difficulty level - I have been using this technique so very long that I am not so objective anymore. Just email me at address in next paragraph.

As always, I provide continued support and will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Find answers and post questions here under comments. Or, you may contact me (see my profile) using the contact form on this website.

Victorian Lace Earrings PATTERN



Although called "Victorian Lace", this earring pattern actually matches the "Lacy Ripples Bracelet" pattern. The earrings not being long enough to achieve the "ripple" effect, they reminded me more of "Victorian Lace".

Pattern is fairly simple and would be a good pattern with which to practice you Lark's Head Knots. By varying the focal beads in number and shape and/or adding a "tail of beads" (as in the 2nd photo above), you can change the entire look of these earrings. A few ideas are provided at the end of this pattern. This pattern is a good way to use up leftover beads...

Find this pattern and more in "Patterns" section of my Etsy Shop. Want to try one out, but don't want to go out an buy all the materials in bulk? I offer kits for this pattern here.

Every endeavor is a journey, right? With this pattern, I used some of the photos from the matching bracelet pattern ("Lacy Ripples Bracelet) as the body is done in the same way for both earrings and bracelet. As I considered this time-saving idea, I realized that it illustrates the modular aspect to micro macrame. By viewing pieces in terms of Beginning, Body, and Finish; one can more easily see how to convert a bracelet pattern to an earring pattern and vice versa. I hope everyone agrees this is an improvement. Please let me know.

Well, I need to go promote this pattern a bit...Until later...

Lacy Ripples Bracelet PATTERN


Here is another micro macrame project! This bracelet is made with Lark's Head and Double Half-Hitch knots, with one Square knot. A fairly simple design, this bracelet would be a good project for beginners with some beading experience. I think it is a good project for learning and practicing Lark's Head knots.

Find this pattern and more in the "Patterns" section of My Etsy Shop. Want to try one out, but don't want to go out an buy all the materials in bulk? I offer kits for this pattern here.

I provide continued support in case you have questions regarding the pattern instructions. So, if you have any questions whatsoever, please don't hesitate to ask. You may contact me (see my profile) or leave your question in "comments" below.

Fans Earrings PATTERN


This striking (beaded) micro macrame design is simple in conception, but needs a bit of practice to master. Earrings match the "Fans Bracelet Pattern". Recommended for intermediate beaders (with some knotting and beading experience). This design primarily uses Double Half-Hitch knots with Lark's Head knots at the beginning and ending. The trickiest parts are beginning, ending, and determining how many seed beads to use per strand. It is all covered in the instructions with plenty of photos.

Find this pattern and more in the "Patterns" section of My Etsy Shop. Want to try one out, but don't want to go out an buy all the materials in bulk? I offer kits for this pattern here.

I provide continued support in case you have questions regarding the pattern instructions. So, if you have any questions whatsoever, please don't hesitate to ask. You may contact me (see my profile) or leave your question in "comments" below.

31 Jul 08 - Edit: For some ideas on variations, see: "Fans Earrings get a Facelift"

Patterns and Kits Are Sold Separately

I have recently had a couple of people confused about whether my kits have the instructions included. I did have that information in the product descriptions, but perhaps it was not clear enough. I have also tried to standardize my titles so that they are clear as to what is being sold.

So, I have edited my product descriptions to draw more attention to this, and added a message in my Etsy Shop message board. Hopefully, this will clear up any confusion.

There are several reasons why I sell them all separately, but mostly because...

  • Sometimes a person wants 1 pattern and more than one matching kit. By selling them separately, the customer only has to "buy the pattern once" - saving money!
  • Sometimes a person (especially an experienced beader who already has beads on hand) just wants a pattern - why make them buy the kits just to get the pattern? Actually, the patterns are my main product here - the kits are for the convenience of those who want to "just try one out" before going out and buying all the materials in quantity.
Not to mention that the category system and Etsy's restrictions on "commercial supplies" is another issue. If I combine them, then I must use the "commercial supplies" category, which is fine for the kits. But, I also want to use the "patterns" categories as well. If it seems that Etsy is too strict, I must defend them by saying that they are trying to keep the integrity of Etsy. Etsy tries very hard to maintain a site for buying and selling Hand-Made Items. I for one, am glad that they stick to their guns. I really like that we artists (and those who love hand-made things) have a place to go for just that.

If it is Not One Thing, It's Another!

Well, for the past couple of days, I have been transferring posts from my other website over to here. Everything was going well.

Until today. I had successfully recreated 2 of them, and was working on the 3rd. While trying to upload an image, Blogger gives me an error message. Seems Blogger is having an issue. I went to the Help Forums and there are several other people with the same problem.

I guess I will just have to be patient.

In the meantime, I have re-organized my links lists and added a few that were on the other site. I know, I will work on editing my "Fans Bracelet" pattern...maybe put some more kits together (they are getting popular). I certainly have enough to keep me busy while I wait for Blogger to fix its problem.

Fans Bracelet PATTERN


This striking micro macrame design is simple in conception, but needs a bit of practice to master. Recommended for INTERMEDIATE level beaders with some knotting and beading experience. This design primarily uses Double Half-Hitch knots with Lark's Head knots at the beginning and ending. The trickiest parts are beginning, ending, and determining how many seed beads to use per strand. It is all covered in the instructions with plenty of photos.

As with all my basic designs, there is lots of room for creativity. I provide tips on some variations, including how to expand it into a choker.

Find this pattern and more in the "Patterns" section of My Etsy Shop. Want to try one out, but don't want to go out an buy all the materials in bulk? I offer kits for this pattern here.

I provide continued support in case you have questions regarding the pattern instructions. So, if you have any questions whatsoever, please don't hesitate to ask. You may contact me (see my profile) or leave your question in "comments" below.

Editorial note: Since receiving feedback from 3 different people, this pattern is now rated "best for intermediate beaders"...preferably with some macrame experience. I have also reworked the pattern for easier understanding.

Waves Bracelet PATTERN


This elegant micro macrame design is a fairly easy one to make and would be good for beginners. The trickiest part is the finish, but even that is not that difficult. It just requires a little practice and dexterity. Don't worry, I will show you how in the instructions. As with all my basic designs, there is lots of room for creativity. Just vary the colors, the focal beads, the number of seed beads, etc and get a different look. To make it into a choker, just increase the length to where you want it and then finish it off. You can even make matching earrings! I provide tips on how.

Find this pattern and more in the "Patterns" section of My Etsy Shop. Want to try one out, but don't want to go out an buy all the materials in bulk? I offer kits for this pattern (both for the bracelet and for the earrings) here.

I provide continued support in case you have questions regarding the pattern instructions. So, if you have any questions whatsoever, please don't hesitate to ask. You may contact me (see my profile) or leave your question in "comments" below.

Spirals Key Chain PATTERN


This is a great project for Beginners. It is a simple, easy to make project using a heavier gauge cord than usual for my micro macrame projects. The beads are fewer and larger for easier handling while practicing the knots needed for this fob. Yet, there is a lot of room for creativity. I offer tips for variations at the end of this tutorial.

Edit:

5 Aug 08. I have noticed that it has become difficult to find the flat focal beads. Other focals can be used; the pattern just needs adjusting.

Here's how: After Step 5 (after having strung one pony bead and having swapped holding cords with knotting cords), omit the part of Step 6 where you make the two alternating half-hitch chains. Proceed with a few half-hitches and add your focal just like you did with the pony bead. Finish with a square knot as in Step 7, and continue with the tassel. If your focal bead has a hole too small for all 8 strands of cord, you can use fewer strands. Play around with it and have fun.

I have decided to provide this pattern for free. So, enjoy.

I will still provide continued support in case you have questions regarding this pattern. So, if you have any questions whatsoever, please don't hesitate to ask. You may contact me (see my profile) or leave your question in "comments" below.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hopefully Helpful Hints and Resources

Here are a few quick notes on resources and a few helpful hints.

Resources:

I most often use C-lon nylon beading cord because of its ease of use, and durability. I get my C-lon nylon beading cord from Jewels in Fiber. Her prices are reasonable, and she provides excellent customer service.

Particular beads (and brands) listed (in my patterns) are because they have holes large enough to accommodate project requirements. I get most of my beads from "Fire Mountain Gems". Occasionally, I find some at Walmart or my local Hobby Lobby.

I use Jewelry Glue by Delta, a waterproof glue made for gluing jewels, sequins, etc to fabric. It dries clear and has flexibility. An alternative is super glue, or any glue used to glue gems & jewels to fabric. Glue, buttons, pins, and scissors can be found at Walmart or any sewing supplies outlet.

Work surface: I like my old Puzzle Pad mouse pad, it is 1/2 inch thick and works very well. Alternatives include a cork (bulletin type) board, macrame board, anything that you can secure the top of the piece and the bottom of the holding cords to. Work surface will most likely be found at a hobby store.

Helpful Hints:

To stiffen the ends of the cord, making it easier to string the beads: Snip the ends of the cord on a diagonal (making a point). Brush the ends of the strands of cord with clear finger nail polish. Twist the ends with thumb and forefinger (following the natural twist of the cord). You will get a little polish on your fingers which you can get off with polish remover. (Using fingers helps prevent polish from drying unevenly.) Let dry. Recent tip received from another beader is to apply super glue near the end of the cord, leaving a tail to hold. Twist and hold til dry, then snip the end diagonally. This keeps the glue off your fingers. I have not yet tried it this way, but it sounds good.

Terminology: Knotting cords are the ones used to make the knots, and the holding cords are the ones (usually pinned to work surface) that hold the knots.

Important: For consistency sake, decide your dominant side and always work from that side. I am right side dominant, so I always work from the right and I write instructions accordingly. Exceptions: when the design calls for specific effect requiring reversal. For example, I make all my Half Knots from the right except when making Square Knots. When making Square Knots, I first make Half Knot from the right, then one from the left. When making earrings, work the first one according to your dominant side. When making the 2nd one, work from the non-dominant side.

How to Thread 4 Strands of Cord Through One Bead

Some projects require 4 strands of cord to pass through the hole in a bead. Here is a hopefully helpful hint on how to do this.


This can be a little tricky as the hole is sometimes a tight fit. The first 2 cords are usually easy. On the 3rd and 4th cords through, it is helpful if you lay the cord parallel into the previously threaded cords. Then by slowly pulling on the cords already through the bead, pull the active cord through with them. Use your thumbnail to guide the tip of the cord into the hole of the bead. Resist the urge to push it through, as this usually results in fraying and bunching. If this happens, just snip the end, repaint with finger nail polish and after it dries, try again.

If you find better ways of doing things, please be sure to post comments or contact me. I hope to make this an informative site in addition to showcasing my work...

Note: This corrects the typographical error in "Waves Bracelet Pattern". Sorry.

Will the Student Soon Surpass the Teacher?


One of my customers, Beverle Sweitzer of Silver Spring MD, completed her first micro macrame project just last month. (See her first results here.)

Today, she emailed me a photo of her most recent creation. She has apparently caught on to this technique as she created her own design for this one! I am impressed and so proud that she got her start with one of my patterns. In fact, she gives me an idea...

Here is the necklace she just finished. (Posted with her permission, of course.) She is also improving in her photography of her jewelry. Practice makes perfect.

Customer Survey

Here is an opportunity to provide me with some feedback on my patterns. I originally posted this survey on a forum linked to my previous website. I am now integrating that forum into this website. If you have tried one (or more) of my patterns and would like to participate in this survey, just leave your answers in the comments section of this post. I appreciate all feedback as it helps me improve my patterns.

Here it is:

1. Which pattern (tutorial) did you try?

2. What part was the most fun for you about the pattern (tutorial)?

3. What gave you the most trouble?

4. Do you have any suggestions for improving the pattern (tutorial) you tried?

Thank you for your feedback.

Returning to Blogger

Last night my website KnotGypsyDesigns.com was seemingly hacked. I lost 5 pages (all my "general information" pages including my About page which will be the hardest to recreate). My plug-ins had been deactivated, and I am unable to create new posts or pages. I submitted a support ticket and got a couple of the other problems fixed, but...

I am not really much of a techie and I think I am in over my head trying to work with C-panel and MySQL database. I think I will just move my website back over here to good old Blogger. Blogger makes is so easy - freeing up my time to make more jewelry, patterns, and kits!

So, it will take some time, please be patient and wish me luck.

Of course, My Etsy Shop is still working just fine! Please feel free to go check it out...
Copyright 2007 Donna Littlewood