Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I recently purchased the book, The New Macrame, and found a nice amulet pouch pattern in it. I decided I had to make this pouch, but I wanted to make it just a tad larger, so that it could accomodate my iPod, and fit its BlueTooth adapter, as well. I used braided cotton cord for the strands around the top, to attach the knotting cords, and cut them very long, so that I could use those ends to tie a snake-knot neck cord for the pouch. The first picture shows the right side. You can see that the knotting looks a lot like weaving, but it's not (click on the picture to enlarge) -- each bit of color is a double half hitch knot. The technique is called alternating diagonal double half hitching, and is very similar to alternating square knots. The next two photos show the bag inside out, which looks pretty good, too, but I turned it inside out so that I could tie the ending knots and apply the glue (yes, I know I have always said I don't use glue on my knotting projects, but I made an exception in this case, because I need to be sure those knots do not come untied with use, and this bag will get a lot of use.

I hope to add a picture of the finished bag soon, but I haven't taken one yet. I'll try to get that done in the next day or two...

IGKT-PAB AGM, continued.

While I was teaching at the IOLI Convention, they had a teacher's luncheon and they served VOSS water, in glass bottles. I thought this was a very special bottle, and should be easy to cover with square knots, so I took the bottle home to play. The first thing I had to do was remove the painted-on labeling. I had to use a tool (the edge of a nail file worked nicely) to scrape it off. There was a bit of adhesive left on the bottle, from the "tamper-proof" seal on the cap and I was able to remove it with rubbing alcohol.

Once that was finished, I cut 48 (for 24 square knots per round) four-yard lengths of 1.2 mm braided polyester cording.

I began knotting around the mouth of the bottle and worked my way down, so that it was securely attached to the bottle and tight enough to hang on.

By the night of the IGKT-PAB AGM, I had managed to get the knotting done enough to come down below the "shoulders" of the bottle. I worked on it that evening and the next day at the Wooden Boat Show ...

... UNTIL ...

I am not completely sure how it happened, but I think a strand of the knotting cords got wrapped around the handle of my walker, and when I moved the walker to get it out of someone's way, that pulled the strand, and with it the bottle, off the table and it went crashing to the asphalt parking lot where we were. I was so stunned that I think I must have been in shock, because I didn't get upset at all. I also figured that I'd find another bottle like that and continue working on it. I was able to get the bottle's neck out of the knotting and put the knotting away. Someone (I think it was Mike) cleaned up the glass for me -- thanx so much!

So I had Jose help me make a mat, instead. I did tie some snake knot necklaces, etc., and teach a few kids (quite a few teenagers) to tie Solomon's Bar fobs, but the mat was fun to make and I still say I'm going to make myself a jig like that, someday! Thanx for letting me do that, Jose!

Well, after MUCH searching at various specialty stores near my house -- Jamba Juice, Starbucks, etc., even the local hotel, of the same name as the one in Los Angeles where the Convention had been held -- I still could not find VOSS water in glass bottles.

I did a search online and found several websites where I could buy a CASE of it, for $38 plus $15 shipping. All I wanted was ONE BOTTLE! So I did a google search again and found some kind of blog where people were asking where to buy it by the case, instead of by the bottle -- well, I wanted only one bottle, so I read that entry further and found they sell them at World Market. Well, there's a World Market very near my house, so I went there. I found them and got several, just in case...

Then I went shopping at the "Bev Mo" in the same shopping center. THEY have them, too! And they are about 1/3 less at Bev Mo. Naturally, since I had already bought them at World Market. Oh well, now I know...

So, I took the new bottle and continued the knotting on it. I worked on it quite a bit at the demo we did at the Tall Ships Festival, in September. I wish I had been able to take pictures there, but we arrived very late and only were able to go for Sunday, because of a previous obligation on Saturday. But I worked on that bottle in between teaching kids to tie Solomon's Bar fobs for their backpacks, or bracelets, or both, when they showed great enthusiasm. It's so much fun to teach kids because they're not afraid to try! Adults are always so timid and I don't know why.

So the bottle is finished now. I am not extremely happy with the finishing. I wish I had done a better job of it, but I wasn't sure how many knots to make on each round before decreasing. I have it figured out now, for the next one. I think I need to make a series of these bottles, with different pattern designs on each one.

Should be a lot of KNOTTY fun! : - )


This year, the IGKT-PAB held their Annual General Meeting at the American Legion Yacht Club, in Newport Beach, and the next day we demonstrated knot tying at their Wooden Boat Show. I was very bad and did not get any pictures at the event, except for the pictures below. but there are pictures of the meeting on the website of the IGKT-PAB -- thanx to our webmistress, Kim!

I was quite fortunate that we set up our knot-tying display right across from the display of Annie Holmes, artist and authoress. She had a display of her paintings for sale, as well as her book, Skiff Song. It was very nice meeting Annie, and doubly so, because she admired a necklace I was displaying and I wanted her book, so we worked out a trade. I enjoyed the book very much and highly recommend it.

Since I live too far from the meeting place to make it practical to commute, I stayed at the Bay Shores Peninsula Hotel, which is within walking distance, even for me, with my walker. When I checked in, I noticed that they had a ship's bell at the desk, and attached to it was an UGLY piece of dirty-white string where a bell rope should be. I could not let this go, so I had to make a bell rope for them. I finished it on Friday night and attached it to the bell before I left for the demo on Saturday morning. It's nothing too elaborate -- just a three-strand flat braid folded in half over the ring, then tied into a Matthew Walker Knot, followed by Crown Sinnet for a distance, and finished it with a six-strand crowned star knot. It was fun to make and the people in the office seemed to like it. I hope it serves them well for years to come.

It was a very nice weekend, demonstrating tying knots, then spending some time alone in the evenings, tying more knots, reading Annie's book (well, about half of it), etc. It's so nice to have a little break like that, occasionally...

Monday, November 9, 2009

IOLI Convention

Told you there'd be more on this "soon" -- just didn't know HOW soon, tho. : - )

My classes (both taught and taken) went well. I got the rare chance to learn a tatting project from the one and only Judith Connors, who came all the way from Australia to teach at our Convention! And the knot tying class I taught seemed to be a success. Most of the students finished all three of the "beginning" projects and were well on their way to finishing their major projects by the time the week was over.

Here are a few pictures from the class I taught, called "Oh, So Knotty!" -- Macrame (square knotting, Solomon's Bar, Portuguese Sinnet, etc.) and Snake Knot. (If FOR ANY REASON you wish your photo removed, please feel free to notify me and I will do so immediately!)

One side of the Chairman's Board Room (our FANCY classroom -- SO luxurious!). I'll leave off everyone's names, for their privacy -- I'll add their names later, if they wish.

Other side of the classroom. Everyone's very studiously working on their projects...

She's finished all three of the beginning projects, plus the "Awareness Ribbon" key ring, and made a good start on her Amulet Bag, so she wants to make a Snake Knot necklace, to get that technique mastered, as well. She's making hers with two colors -- a great effect, but also a great learning trick. I like how she's done the white fob with the heart charm -- there were some VERY clever designers in the class!
She's finished all three "beginner" projects and is well on her way to finishing her Amulet Pouch! I think hers got finished before she went home -- all the way back to London! We first met when I was there, two years ago. We chatted with some mutual friends in the cafeteria at the V&A Museum, then went to Fortnum and Mason's for Tea with another mutual friend! THEN, she came all the way to Fareham, to join me at the IGKT Silver Jubilee there! A dear friend for life. Thanx again for coming all the way here!

She already knows how to do macrame, so she wants to get that Snake Knot down before the week is over!
She couldn't be here for the first two days, but for the second half of the week, she quickly caught up (I knew she would) and is well on her way to finishing her Amulet Bag, too.
Beginner projects finished, and the Amulet Bag well underway, she wants to get that Snake Knot necklace figured out, because she has a large collection of BEAUTIFUL charms she wants to use for future necklaces. This necklace got finished, but unfortunately I didn't get a picture of it. Love the embroidery on her shirt, too!

She's made several extra projects already. See the snake knot necklace in progress, at the top of her blotter (click on the picture to enlarge). To the right of the blotter, toward the top (next to her baby-shoe pin cushion that she brought -- too cute), is her macrame bracelet, with her LONG nickname (I won't even tell that until I have her mother's permission -- she's a minor).
So now she's now working on the beginning rows of the pouch portion of her amulet pouch -- note the finished strap on top of her certificate, waiting to be incorporated into the pouch, as the pattern says.
This young lady excelled in the class. I saw her in the elevator on the evening after we began making square knots and she had already covered her ear-buds for her iPod with square knotting! She even had the foresight to make a little piece at the top of the right one in a contrasting color, so that she wouldn't have to struggle to see that barely legible "R" printed on it. It's absolutely brilliant, and I'm so proud to have had such a prodigy in my class!
Another student was able to finish her necklace. She'd brought the charm with her and made the entire necklace in class. Just smash down those "cord crimps" onto the ends, and the necklace is ready to wear!

A few years ago, after a particularly rough weekend of vending and taking a tatting class at the same time, I vowed that I would NEVER AGAIN vend and take a class at the same time! Well, "Never Say Never Again" (hmmm...good name for a movie...) -- actually, technically, I didn't vend and take a class at the same time -- I vended and took a class AND TAUGHT at the same time -- for a whole week! It was NUTS, but I survived. I won't say "never again" again, but...

Seriously, it was a lot of fun and, like many other experiences in life, we only remember the great parts and not the bad ... sometimes ...

And as any teacher can tell you, teaching a class is always a learning experience -- for the teacher! This is true in my case, especially since it was my first time in teaching at an IOLI Convention. I hope it will not be my last. It was a lot of fun and I'll never forget it.

Finally Catching Up!

WOW -- I am so far behind that I look like I'm in the lead! Last time I posted anything related to my knot tying (in APRIL ), I was getting ready for the then-upcoming IOLI Convention. (More on that soon.) Then, in May, I added the link to the CBS Sunday Morning segment on knots. Well, six months later, I'm FINALLY catching up on things I should have posted long ago!

June found my husband and me celebrating our Silver (25th) wedding anniversary on a cruise to Alaska. There are too many things for me to do it all justice. Suffice it to say that we had a fantastic time and can't wait to go back!

As far as knot-tyers go, I was fortunate enough to get to meet Louie Bartos, in Ketchikan, and he autographed a copy of his book for me. Thanx again, Louie!

In Juneau, on June 2, our actual anniversary, we went on a whale-watching cruise. At one point during the cruise, the captain, with previously obtained permission, did a "fly by" past a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter. The naturalist on our boat had just been married to an Ensign on the Cutter. It was fun because the two captains began playing with each other, forcing them to cross each others wake, which made for some rather "choppy" sailing. This was almost as much fun as seeing the whales! But I think my favorite part of that day was seeing the eagles!
In Skagway, we took a wonderful tour to Yukon (rode a motor coach there and a narrow-gauge train back), and saw a lot of wildlife. I must confess here, I'm guilty of feeding the wildlife, even though I know it's not wise. No, it wasn't this bear -- it was a MOSQUITO! They grow 'em BIG in Alaska!
But DH did take this shot from just outside the bus. The driver is not really suppose to allow us out when bears are this close, but she let us out two at a time and only if we stayed on the bus' side of the road. This photo was worth the risk, IMHO. : - )

While on the cruise, we got to visit the bridge (part of the anniversary "package" -- you pay for the privilege) and I found the ship's bell. It reads,
The Helmsman (I think) was holding onto the wheel and would not let go of the THK so I could get a picture of it! Hmmm ... navigating through College Fjord (small icebergs all around us) and he wouldn't let go of the wheel ... wonder why ... ROFL

Once we got to Anchorage, we checked into the Hotel Captain Cook. It is the best hotel in Anchorage, IMHO, and the view from our room (left -- we THINK that's Mt. Readout in the distance) could not be matched, and we are still marveling at the IDEAL weather we had for the entire trip. I don't think it got above 75F (22C) nor below 65F (12C) the entire time, and clear as a bell the whole time.

While in Anchorage, I also got to meet Dan Calahan (been wanting to meet him for YEARS), along with a few of the other Anchorage knot-tyers, at the home of our VERY gracious hosts Charles Rigden and his lovely wife, Gail. She made us some of the most delicious treats for our BBQ at their home!

That's Gail, on the left, and Charles, Master BBQ Chef, below. Has to be the BEST burger I've had in a LONG TIME! : - )
Charles even took us "flight-seeing" and we got some SPECTACULAR pictures from only about 400 feet above the glaciers! The weather for the entire 2 weeks was fantastic and we could not have asked for a more wonderful time, the entire trip.

I like that this photo shows the tundra, the lake, the glacier and the mountains in the distance, as well as the "frame" of the plane's window.
Thanx again, Charles, for helping make this trip SO UNBELIEVABLE!

This was yet another "TRIP OF A LIFETIME" that I have been fortunate to take. I do count my blessings. We did take this trip without the children, but we hope to take another cruise to Alaska WITH the boys. They're getting older now and able to appreciate it. However, I have told DH that our 30th anniversary should be a cruise in Australia and New Zealand.
It could happen ... five years ago, Alaska didn't seem likely, either. : - D

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

There was a segment on knots, and the IGKT, on CBS Sunday Morning, on 17 May 2009.

Here's the link:

Knot So Simple

It's not as long as I'd hoped it would be, but it's still very nice.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Getting Ready for IOLI Convention

I am now working on getting the projects that I'm going to teach at IOLI Convention ready and documented. I've never taught these projects before, so I have a lot of work to do to get ready for it. I only hope I can do a decent job and get the ideas across to my students. Here are the projects from which students will choose:

This necklace is made with snake knot. The bead/charm on the necklace on the left is a 'Lampwork Floral' from Kahn-Fagan, who were vendors at our Lace Day, which is held the first Saturday of every November. The picture does not do it justice -- it's actually GORGEOUS, with beautiful greens and purples and opalescence!

This one has snake knots made onto a charm (I guess that's what you'd call it) that I bought at JoAnn's. I have to warn everyone that these necklaces are addictive. Once you start making them, you find you want to make more and more. There are so many wonderful charms and beads out there that just BEG to be made into a snake knot necklace!

These are the front and back (not sure which is which, honestly) of an amulet bag made with square knotting (macrame), with a bit of weaving thrown in. A snake-knot neck chain finishes the project off nicely. There are several other designs from which to choose, and one can mix and match the bag and neck chain styles, all of which are my original designs.

This is a floating key ring. It is made to resemble a boat side fender. The nice thing about a floating key ring is that, if you're on a boat and drop your keys, as long as there are not too many keys on the ring they will float, so that you don't have to go diving to retrieve them, or worse, consider them lost forever!

This is a pink ribbon that I made from square knots. I was asked to make something out of macrame for Breast Cancer Awareness, a couple of years ago, and this is what I came up with. It's very simple to make, once you know square knotting, but there is a little trick to making the ribbon stay crossed without any glue -- I don't DO glue!

This can be made with any color cording, of course, to represent the cause of your choice.

Also, I have permission from the publisher to teach from the books Hemp Masters and Hemp Masters Getting Knotty and I'm happy to announce that I will have a FEW copies of each book for sale at the Convention. Please let me know IN ADVANCE if you would like me to reserve a copy for you! Here are some of the patterns I am considering teaching:

The first one is made with hempcording. It has beads and a single-holebutton incorporated into it, and a VERY clever closure, which I presume is an original design by the author of both books, Max Lunger. The second is a similar pattern made with braided cotton cording, cloisonne beads and a floral button that looks like it was made to go with the beads, but I actually got them all separately. The last one is made with a different pattern. I had the charm and thought I'd like to make the necklace with that. Well, with all the black widows we have around here, when it came time to choose the colors for the necklace, I had to use with black and red. The Josephine knots (Carrick Bends, called Pretzel Knots in the book) in this pattern remind me of the hour-glass marking on a widow's belly.

On the left is the Double Solomon's Bar key fob. There's a trick to making the loops at each end, with no ends showing, when the piece is completed.

On the right is a variation of the Double Solomon's Bar key fob.

It's fun to see what designs people are able to dream up with this technique.

The week-long Convention takes place at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel (info at the link below), July 25 through August 1, 2009. You DO NOT need be a member of IOLI to attend, and you do not need to go for the entire week! There are a FEW spaces still open in my classes, as well as a few other classes. The classes are filling up quickly, and the registration deadline is approaching very soon, so if you're interested, please go to the Freeway Lace Guild website (hosting the Convention, this year) and get all the information you need to register. I suggest registering QUICKLY, in order to get the class(es) you really want.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Rest In Peace, My Dear Friends

I am deeply saddened by the loss of two of my dearest knot-tying friends.

Gary Sessions, of Dallas, TX, lost his valliant battle against cancer on March 17, 2009. I first met Gary and his lovely wife, Barbara, at the IGKT-NAB AGM, in Charleston, SC, in 2005. I was surprised and delighted to see that they were in Fareham, when I arrived at the IGKT Silver Anniversary meeting there, in 2007.

They had planned to attend the IGKT-PAB Tenth Anniversary meeting, several weeks later, in Long Beach, CA, but Gary was too ill to travel, when the time came. Then, when I got to the NAB meeting in Orlando, FL, that winter, there they were! It was so wonderful to see them again.

Gary was a very generous man and taught many knot-tyers, over the years. He founded the Texas branch of the IGKT, and was a long-time member of the NAB, as well. He will be sorely missed. My love and prayers go out to Barbara and the rest of the family.

C. E. "Bud" Brewer, of Flagler, CO, passed suddenly from a heart attack, also on March 17, 2009. I first began chatting with Bud in the online knot chats. At that time, he lived in New York, but on retiring, he soon moved to Flagler, CO. My best-friend-since-kindergarten, lives in Colorado Springs, and we visit her every few years, on our family vacations. The next time we went to Colorado, I told DH we must go visit Bud, as part of the vacation. On that visit, Bud generously and very patiently, taught me to turn a project on his lathe.

I will treasure forever the fid I made that day!

Bud was able to attend the IGKT-PAB Tenth Anniversary meeting in 2007, and generously donated many of his lovingly-crafted tools. I was fortunate to win a couple of those wonderful pieces, but I treasure the time we were able to spend together even more. It was over far too quickly.

The last time we (DH, our two sons, and I) visited Bud was this past summer. He gave generously of his time and talents while we were there. He took us to visit the farm his friend runs, and we all had a wonderful time.

He made me a very nice (TINY) hollow fid with black and red LEATHER knots on it (a square Turk's Head on the end and wider pineapple, just below that). I knew then that I must be special, because he gave of his PRECIOUS red and black stash! ; - )

I often told him how generous he was, and he always told me not to tell anyone else that, because he had a reputation to uphold. He wanted everyone to think of him as a gruff old man -- but I knew better. He was friend, mentor, father-figure, and much more, to so many of us! My prayers are with his daughter, Kim, and the rest of the family.

Sad, tearful hugs, everyone.