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Entries in Macrame (4)

Thursday
Jun272013

Molly's Sketchbook: Braided Friendship Bracelets

It will surprise no one that at summer camp my favorite activity was always and without fail arts and crafts! I wasn’t great at archery or rowing, but I could make a lanyard like nobody’s business. I loved that camp craft projects were simple and fun to make, with no fussy equipment required. My summer days were happily filled with the satisfaction of gods-eyes, reed baskets and of course, friendship bracelets!

I’ve talked about my love for friendship bracelets here before, and we have created versions in cotton, wool, and even cashmere. This time I kept the colorful essence of a traditional macramed friendship bracelet but used a completely different (and much easier) technique to create a new kind of bangle: a craft-hybrid of friendship bracelets, rope tying, and lanyards! 

To create these little beauties I used our thickest Chinese Knotting Cord which comes in a vibrant rainbow of colors, and I finished them with a neat and effortless sliding closure. The resulting bracelet is so pretty and best of all, it perfectly captures the spirit of summer camp!  -Molly

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Thursday
Sep202012

Laura's Loop: Cashmere Cuff

Like Molly, my summers as a kid were filled with the making and trading of friendship bracelets. I would pin vibrant strands of DMC to my jeans or even to my Keds, fervently knotting up bracelets every chance I got. I am thankful Molly has brought them back into our lives here at Purl Soho, but now... I cannot get enough! 

Loving the nostalgia of the friendship bracelet, but also feeling a bit "adult" since my thirtieth birthday last month, I decided to approach my childhood obsession from a new perspective. And so while I love the electric colors of the classic summertime bracelets, I find myself wanting a tamer palette to accompany the wisdom of my years.
But what I toned down in color, I amped up in gauge, reaching straight for my favorite chunky yarn, Jade Sapphire's 12-ply Mongolian Cashmere. Its spin provides the perfect sheen for jewelry, especially the glowing color Silver Pearl. Jade Sapphire's yarns are hand dyed,and the subtle shifts in color perfectly complement the super structured, tightly textured macrame bracelet. 
But since no one is too old for a pop of color, I couldn't resist a little! For three versions I threw in some bright strands of Manos Del Uruguay's Maxima, a single-ply, hand spun merino.  And for the other version, I added Blue Sky's Worsted, a beautiful merino and royal alpaca blend. 

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Thursday
Jan262012

Molly's Sketchbook: Valentine's Friendship Bracelets

Last summer I not only conquered my childhood fear of making Friendship Bracelets, but I also developed a new appreciation for them. They're simple to make and cute as a can be, but most winningly, they really are great tokens of friendship. So cheerfully reminiscent of childhood and its open declarations of best-friends-forever, friendship bracelets are such a super way to let someone know you're thinking about them. All this adds up to the perfect Valentine's Day project! How sweet would it be to show up to work or school on February 14th with a bunch of these lovely little expressions of affection?

This time around I was a little more ambitious, creating adorable patterns of hearts and arrows, perfect for the holiday!  Also, instead of traditional embroidery floss,  I used Koigu Premium Merino Needlepoint Yarn, and I may never look back. Not only does this 100% merino wool come in a stunning array of hand-dyed colors, but its soft elasticity actually makes it easier to work with than the cotton. Plus, when you're done, you can press your bracelet so it lies totally flat with a beautiful drape.

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Sunday
Jul102011

Molly's Sketchbook: Friendship Bracelets

Macraméd friendship bracelets were all the rage when I was growing up in the eighties. All the girls at my school would obsessively make them for one another in a dizzying variety of colors, widths, and patterns. It's amazing, thinking back, that such young girls could make such beautifully intricate accessories.

I, of course,  tried my hand at making them as well. I would ride my bike down to the five-and-dime store and pick out the most sophisticated color combinations of  embroidery floss I could find, but when it came to the actual macramé I never got beyond plain stripes. There was nothing wrong with plain stripes, except that the other girls seemed so much more advanced with their diamonds and chevrons. A bit intimidated,  I never did become a big friendship bracelet expert.

Fast forward 20 years: Purl Soho started carrying DMC Cotton Embroidery Floss in every conceivable color (including fluorescents! ) and so, clearly, my time with friendship bracelets had finally come! After a bit of research, I discovered that what had eluded me as a child is actually really simple. It turns out that there are only two major friendship bracelet knots, a right knot and a left knot. That's it. After all these years, they only took me a few minutes to learn!

Making friendship bracelets is a  surprisingly easy craft, and best of all, in the end you'll have a bunch of cute summer bracelets to give to your pals. These are also a great thing to make with kids because they don't require any pins, needles, or scissors, and you can make them as simple or as complicated as you want. Once you learn the basics there's no limit to the beautiful patterns you can create!

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