Wednesday, May 28, 2008


At first Marlinspike Skills, I saw a wonderful creation. It was a 14-strand star knot, with a 7-strand star knot in the center. He didn't finish the ends because he didn't know how he wanted to do that, and he thought it looked good 'as is' -- like a jellyfish. I agree! He said, 'I challenge anyone to make a bigger one!'

Well, I couldn't let that go unanswered, so I just HAD to tie this one! It has 6, 12, 18, and 24 strands -- total of 60 strands. I thought about leaving the strands on it, for the 'jellyfish' look, but decided I didn't want to copy him too much. And this looks like a flower or a mushroom. It was fun to do, but I swore I'd never do it again.

The then-Scoutmaster of my sons' Troop said, 'It looks like something you should roll up and SMOKE!' That surprised me, coming from him, but I suppose he has a point...

When I shared the above with the knot-tying lists, someone who ties a lot of star knots sent me a gift of a star-knot stick pin. It is beautiful, and the technique he used for it is unique to any I've seen. I asked him how he did it and he very generously shared the technique with me. But he swore me to secrecy, so I will not share it with anyone until he shares it -- and even then, I'll only point everyone to his website.

Anyway, here I am wearing the pin, along with my tatted USA Flag pin, at the IGKT AGM and Silver Jubilee in Fareham, 2007.

But this technique made the following possible. The technique eliminates HALF of the ends! So I was able to make this necklace. The strand count is 6, 12, 18, 24 and 30, for a total of 90 stands! Now it's MY turn to say, I challenge anyone to make a bigger one. : - )

No, I don't have any plans for more of these, but 'never say never...'

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Models for Class

I've been invited to teach several knotting techniques at the 2009 International Old Lacers, Inc. Convention, in Los Angeles. Here are some of the models I have made for the classes I plan to teach:

This choker is made of hemp, with glass 'E' beads and a center-hole flat bead of carved bone. The techniques in this piece are unique to anything I've ever seen.

Here is a choker made with a similar technique, but moving the cords in a different pattern to create a slightly different effect. The beads are cloisonne and the center is a shank button.

Here is a choker made with a different technique. No beads are used, but a charm is added to the center. I knew I wanted to make this choker with the spider charm, but had to think about what color(s) to use for the cords -- for a few seconds! What better colors to use for a spider in the desert/foothills of California (where black widows abound) than black and red? The knots used are square knots and Josephine Knots (Carrick Bends). The Josephine Knots remind me of the distinctive 'hour glass' design on black widow's belly.

Another technique I will be teaching is the Snake Knot -- more specifically, the necklaces I've been making lately. Here are a few samples: Snake Knot Jewelry, Birds on Branch Necklace, and the last four photos here: Snake Knot Lanyard Variations.

There will be a few other projects, of course, including a few other techniques. I have several ideas, but I'm not ready to share them just yet. These will be my original designs.

I'm very excited about this opportunity. I don't know if there have been other classes in knotting at IOLI Conventions, but I hope to get a few people interested in continuing knot tying, by teaching these designs.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Another Coil Variation

Here it is! I have been working on this one a long time:

This one was a bit trickier than the other coil I did. First, I removed only part of the core from the paracord. Then I inserted the coil. [That last sentence was WAAAY too short for the length of time it took me to do that!] After I got the coil to the center of the length of paracord, I replaced the core in the end from which it had been removed. The core was surprisingly easy to get through the hole I opened in the outer braid with the yarn needle, all four strands at the same time. Then it was just a matter of slipping it through to the end, and pulling the strands through just enough to keep them right up against the coil inside. Next I took the ends of the paracord through the snap and tied the snake knot back toward the coil, ending by cutting off the small amount that was leftover, with the Perfect End burner.

I used magenta rat tail to make the 7 X 6 THK foundations for the pineapple knots, and pink rat tail to make the 5 X 6 interweaves. I like how this one turned out. It was a lot of work, but fun (although 'Arthur' does not like it when I do that).

Birds on Branch Necklace

When I saw this 'charm' (I guess that's what it's called) at the craft store, I just couldn't help myself. I had to make 'just one more' necklace. Yeah, right -- just one more. HAH!

I thought it was interesting and unique. I used blue rat tail cord to make the snake knots. It reminds me of a friend of mine, who raises birds.

More Pry Bars

I showed DH my pink pry bar and asked if he might like one for his work. He said yes, but figuring he didn't really want my pink one, I made this OD green one for him. It's just the same wrapping method with a lanyard knot, some snake knot, and another lanyard knot. I added a black cord end to finish it off.

While browsing through the small tools section of Home Depot, the other day, I found this -- a much larger version of the pry bar (almost double the size of the one from County Comm), made by Stanley. I had to get one and see if I could make a cover for it, too.

To cover this, I found that since both ends were useful, I couldn't have cords coming off either end. So I decided to try something a little different. I put the cord through the 'teardrop' shaped hole (which actually seems like it might be useful, too), from front to back, then through the round hole, from back to front, then again through the teardrop hole, from front to back, and wrapped it TIGHTLY around the heat-sealed end of the cord. Then it goes around the pry bar and UNDER the next cord TWICE, then around the pry bar and OVER the next cord TWICE, until the final wrap around and under the cord on the back of the pry bar. Then I cut it off with the burner, right at the last 'under' -- be careful with the burner; it left a mark in the black of the pry bar. Also be careful to burn only the end that you want to cut -- the slightest touch of the burner to any other lines will melt them, too!

I was surfing the County Comm site and found they have an even smaller version of their pry bar! So I made one up with orange paracord, and added an orange cord end.

Then I decided I wanted to try to make a one like the Stanley one, with the weaving on both sides, and no cords coming out the back end, so that it could be put onto a key ring or lanyard. Here's how that turned out:

And here's a pic of all of the pry bars I've finished, so far:

Friday, May 2, 2008

Middle School Ren Faire

Today, my younger son's school held a Renaissance Faire (for seventh grade only) and I went, thinking it wouldn't be much. I was pleasantly surprised! There were many activities for the kids, lasting the entire school day -- face painting, wheat weaving, an INCREDIBLE collection of armor, horses, a blacksmith, and that's just what I was able to see, coming in and going out.

I demoed netting. I even managed to finish TWO small projects -- a small bag for onions/potatoes in the fridge (thanx for the idea, Tony!), and a small sample of square mesh netting, both made of cotton twine. Here are the pictures of the projects -- yes, I forgot my camera again, so no pics of the actual event, just pics the finished items taken at home...

I made the opening in this bag a bit too small for some of the HUGE onions I see at my grocery store, so I'll have to make another bag for that use, as well as one for potatoes. This one will work well for displays, however (shown here with table-tennis balls). I'm going to try to find some plastic onions/potatoes to show in this bag for demo purposes -- much more portable and less perishable than the real thing, for displays...

This piece of square-mesh netting is a actually combination of netting and tatting. After I finished making the net, I made 20 split-chain stitches (okay, you nautical folks may call it ring hitching, if you must, but it was made using a sort of 'indirect method') around the extra mesh 'loops' at each of the corners.

I would like to use this as part of my demo display, too, but can't think of anything to put in it for display purposes. Any suggestions?

Oh, btw, on the subject of netting, I recently found out that I'm a netting 'Grandma' -- my first netting student has taught other(s) how to net! It's a great feeling, considering that I wasn't even sure I was ready to teach netting, at the time! But actually, some students just learn so well, they make the teacher look good! : - )