Posts Tagged ‘friendship bracelet’

Super Power Bracelets

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

This week has been a rather intense one.  Some people I know are wrestling with issues of life and death, future and past, questioning what’s going on in their life and wondering how to deal with their circumstances.  In many cases there’s nothing that I can do to help them solve their problems.  In many cases all I can do is listen.  Sometimes that doesn’t really feel like I’m DOING anything.

I’ve spent quite a few hours this week making super power bracelets.  These are rather simple macrame projects with beads that glow in UV light (eg. sunlight).  To make them extra super power bracelets I’ve started to do macrame with glow in the dark yarn.

It surprises me how much a friendship bracelet or “super power” bracelet means to people.  Many people wear them until they fall off, and some even request a replacement when that happens.  It’s a reminder, I suppose, that someone out there cares.

Everyone needs to be reminded sometimes, that someone out there is looking out for them.

That Time Of Year

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

As August nears, I start searching out sources of embroidery floss.  It is a tradition of sorts.  Since 1994 I have made large, colourful, and sometimes very intricate friendship bracelets as birthday presents for a buddy of mine.  I have found a way to get them to his door usually on his actual birthday.  Some have been mailed from Japan, and Egypt, others have been left in mailboxes, or tied on the front door.

birthday bracelet

This kind of bracelet takes a little bit of time to complete, but luckily you can put the project down and pick it up again later.  They are a great portable project for road trips, and I used to often keep one on the go in my pocket at summer camp.

x and o bracelet

All of those little dots of colour are actually knots, two knots per dot….that’s a lot of knots!  Each knot, made thinking of the one that will wear it.  These knots can be tied to make so many different patterns–from diagonal stripes, chevrons, X and O, or even fish!

Ask any teenager, and they’ll let you know that friendship bracelets like these are meant to be worn until they fall off.  Some even claim that you get a wish when that happens.  All I know is that there is great sentimental attachment to these cotton strings.

So….a big happy birthday to my bracelet wearing buddy!  Check your mail box soon.

Still Not Knitting

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

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!

Bracelets From Badminton Strings

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Today I was given a challenge to make a bracelet out of some odds and ends of badminton racket strings.  I am no badminton expert.  I had never even considered that racket strings could be so bright and colourful, of different gauges, and so easily turned into a neat bracelet.

I cut lengths of racket string that are about double one arm’s length in 5 different colours.  I tied all the ends together, and started making a 5-finger weaving bracelet.

The finished product looks kinda cool.

close-up

I don’t know the best way to close these bracelets.  The strings appear to be some kind of plastic (they melt when burned).  They are also really strong, so it is unsafe to bond both ends of the bracelet together.

What is the most unusual arts and craft material you’ve used lately?

Friendship Bracelets

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

One of the “treats” that I am including in the package for my friend serving in Afghanistan is a friendship bracelet. It is small, and light, and is made with love.

my current collection

my current collection

Friendship bracelets bring me back to elementary school days, sitting on the playground with embroidery floss pinned to my leg, making knot after knot, leading to the eventual completion of a diagonal striped bracelet. My older cousin first taught me how to make them. She was in university at the time, and I loved spending time with her and learning this new skill. These bracelets do take a long time to make, and I’ve made some complex patterns over the years. I’ll save that for another post though.

Sometimes I think I haven’t really changed all that much from my days at summer camp with a wrist full of treasured keepsakes. Currently there’s the purple one from the First Robotics team I help with, the blue rope one that I made in Egypt, the rainbow rope one I made at camp, A knitted one that C.L. made for me, a beaded one (the white beads change colour in sunlight), the blue beads I bought in Petra (Jordan), and the wooden beaded one was given to me by E.B. and A.F. (they have matching ones too). It might be silly to develop a sentimental attachment to string and beads, but the time and the care, and the people that they represent are what makes them so special.

I have just made a quick bracelet tonight that looks like rope. I learned this skill at summer camp when I was a little kid. It requires 5 pieces of embroidery floss, that’s it. A very simple ART OF THE DAY! I challenge you to recapture your youth, and make one of these beauties!

5 strings needed

5 strings needed

Instructions:

  1. Measure 5 pieces of string that are double the length from fingers to shoulder. This will give you enough for one bracelet.
  2. Tie all ends of the strings together (this forms 5 loops)
  3. Attach the knot to something (pin it to your pants, tie it to your toe)

    loops tied to my toe

    loops tied to my toe

  4. With palms down, put your fingers through the loops (right hand 3 loops, on index, middle and ring finger. Left hand 2 loops on middle and ring finger)
  5. With left index finger (loopless) weave your finger through the threads on the right hand (over, under, over, under, grab the loop from the right ring finger and pull it through so it now remains on the left hand)
  6. Move loops on right hand (loop that was on middle finger goes onto the ring finger, and loop that was on the index finger goes onto the middle finger) to free up the right index finger. (pull tight by moving hands apart)
  7. Right index finger weaves through the threads on the left hand (over, under, over, under) grab the loop from the left ring finger and pull it back so it remains on the right index finger.
  8. Shift the loops on the left hand (loop on the middle finger moves to the ring finger, and loop on the index finger moves to the ring finger) to free up the left index finger. (pull tight by moving hands apart)
  9. Continue this process and marvel at the rope you are creating! (it sounds complex, but your fingers soon can weave through the threads without thinking)

This bracelet is made with love for J.M. I hope he wears it and remembers that we back home are remembering him.

Take some time to teach a craft to a child. I’m not sure which is more valuable, the skill that you teach them, or the time that you spend with them. Sometimes the simplest gestures are the most meaningful. I try to remember that every day.