Still Not Knitting

I’ve been riding my bike into the sunset….and making some awesome macrame bracelets

Do you remember back when you were a teenager?  Getting a friendship bracelet made just for you was something pretty special.  I know that many sunny afternoons at summer camp were spent with strings pinned to my jeans, and my fingers hard at work making all sorts of bracelets for my cabin mates and new friends.  Matching bracelets were cool….and still are!

The past few days have brought back such good teenage memories.  I’ve been often spotted with strings pinned to my jeans these days, and a pocket full of beads.  I’ve been making matching bracelets for a group of teenagers that I’ve been working with for the past little while.

I’m using cotton string (left overs from somebody’s old weaving project), and adding some rather mysteriously magical beads.

beads indoors

The magic of these beads occurs as soon as you step outside.

beads outdoors

They react to the ultraviolet light from the sun, and they turn all sorts of colours.  It’s pretty cool–cool enough that even teenagers think that they are awesome.  These kids are still wearing the bracelets and showing their friends how neat the beads are.

Here we all are with our matching bracelets!

what a great group!

If you’d like to make bracelets of your own, here are the instructions (images from Macrame Friendship Bracelets)

Preparation Step 1.  Cut a piece of string that is as long as your fingers to your shoulder.  Cut another piece that is about 2 meters long.

Preparation Step 2.  Fold each string in half, and put the center loops together, and line up the ends facing you.  Tie an overhand knot at the loop end to secure all the strings together.  The long strings should be on the outside, we’ll call them strings 1 and 4.  The short strings should be on the inside, we’ll call them 2 and 3.

Bracelet Step 1.  Arrange string one as seen below.  It should pass over strings 2 and 3, and under string 4.

Bracelet Step 2.    String 4 should now go under strings 2 and 3, and come up through the space between string 1 and 2.  This will tie half of the square knot.Bracelet Step 3.  String 1, which is now on the far right, needs to return to the left side, passing over strings 2 and 3, and under string 4.Bracelet Step 4.  To return string 4 to the far right side, it needs to pass behind strings 2 and 3, and come up through the loop made between string 1 and 3.Continue the 4 steps to make more and more square knots.  Note:  strings 2 and 3 will always stay in the middle.  They should always have one string passing on top, and one passing underneath, to keep them as the core of the bracelet.  The outer strings need to be longer because they are the ones that tie all the knots.

If you want to make a twisty bracelet, repeat steps 1 and 2 over and over again.

If you want to add beads, thread them onto strings 2 and 3, and keep on with the knotted pattern after the bead.

For more information about how UV sensitive beads work, and where to buy them check out Steve Spangler’s Science page.

Why not teach a kid you know the fun of making macrame.  You’ll feel like a kid again too!

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  • swatchless

    hemp is the material that some people use for it….I used cotton because I had extra cotton in my stash. I think hemp may last longer, but if I remember correctly, it starts to smell really strange when it gets wet.

    Macrame is the craft of knot making…people made/make macrame belts or hanging baskets for plants. I think it was really popular in the 70s.

  • http://twitter.com/jeaniebabb Jean Babbage

    The bracelets were very popular when my boys (now in their 30's) were teens. I love the beads. They add a great touch, even better than plain colored beads.

  • http://twitter.com/szegarra Shawna

    hemp is the same as macrame?