Feeling the blues

Macramé is my favourite knotting technique and these two bracelets both use the basic square knot. All materials for these bracelets are available from I-Beads, one of my favourite online bead shops. Click the link to buy exactly what you need:  Arrow bracelet and  Chaton bracelet. You can make the bracelets using either 1mm leather or 1mm wax cotton cord.

Instructions for the Arrow bracelet (chaton bracelet below)

1 String the 16mm Swarovski Arrow beads, 3 x 2mm Pukalet brass beads and 8mm Swarovski Briolette bead onto a 50cm length of 1mm wax cotton or leather cord.  Tuck into the slots of a macramé board or secure each end to a work surface. Using a new 1m length, tie an overhand knot and then flip the knot so that there is a single bar at the front.Check the cord tails are the same length.

Tip: The holes in the brass beads are small so you may need to trim the end of the cord at a sharp angle to thread the beads. A smear of vaseline also helps to smooth the cord. Some cords vary in thickness slightly so I try to cut a length that looks a bit thinner!

2 Bring the right cord under the beaded ‘core’ cord and OVER the left cord. This creates a ‘P’ shape with the cords.

3 Take the left hand tail and pass it DOWN through the loop on the right. Pull the cords taut.

4 To complete the square knot, take the left cord under and OVER the right cord to create a ‘q’ shape. Take the right hand tail over and DOWN through the loop on the left. Pull the cords taut.

5 Repeat the square knot taking the right hand cord over and under then the left over and under. Alternate the starting cord from right to left (your starting cord is always the one that doesn’t have the little vertical bar on it). If the cord starts to twist you will have started with the wrong cord so undo a couple of knots.

6 Keep tying knots until the macramé measures 5.5-6cm for a 17.5cm bracelet. Work another 5mm for each extra centimetre of bracelet length you need. Turn the macramé board upside down and repeat to work the same length of square knots on the other end of the beaded core cord.

7  Check the length of the bracelet – the ends of the macrame should fit around your wrist with a 2cm gap in the middle for the slider fastening. Make the bracelet into a circle so that the core cord tails face in the opposite direction as shown. Tie a 40cm length of cord over both cords with an overhand knot. Flip the knot again to get a single bar at the top.

8 Work a 2cm length of square knot macramé over both cords. Pull the knots fairly taut so that the slider is fairly stiff to move. Add a dot of glue under all the tails and leave to dry. Make sure you don’t stick the slider especially if using a superglue.

9 Finally if you want, thread a small brass bead onto each tail. Try the bracelet on and leave it at the length that slides over your hand as you remove it. Tie the knots so that the beads are level with the end of the bracelet macramé as shown. Trim the tails (you can add a drop of glue if you want).

Adding macramé to a Chaton bracelet setting

1 This bracelet setting takes seventeen SS29 (6mm) chatons. Hold each chaton level in the setting and use snipe or chain nose pliers to press the lugs onto the chaton one at a time.

Tip: If the chaton ends up at an angle I use the sharp edge of flush cutters to carefully lift the lugs back up off the surface of the chaton, then use snipe nose pliers to straighten the lugs out and start again.

2 Tie a 1m length of 1mm leather cord through the top jump ring using an overhand knot. Make sure the tails are the same length.

3 If you are familiar with macramé as shown above the bracelet setting becomes the ‘core’ cord. Pass the left hand cord under the bracelet and OVER the right cord.

4 Take the right cord and pass it DOWN through the loop on the left. Pull taut so that the  top cord is between the first two chatons.

5 Take the right cord under the bracelet setting and OVER the left cord.

6 Take the left cord and pass it DOWN through the loop on the right. Pull the cord taut so that the top cord goes between the first two chatons again.

7 To tie a square knot between the next two chatons starting with the right cord first, then between the next two chatons start with the left cord and so on .  This process of alternating the starting cord is not the usual method but it does mean that the macramé and therefore the bracelet is straight.

8 Tie a final square knot under the last chaton. Use a drop of glue under each tail to secure. Leave to dry then trim.

9 The macramé worked with leather holds the bracelet setting in an attractive circular shape as shown.

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