27 September 2013
Those of us who remember a summer some time in the early nineties where we did nothing but knot bracelets probably recall clashing colours and playground politics. These are a little more grown up. They're also a good way to practice a basic building block of macramé techniques - the half-hitch knot.
Macramé uses knots instead of weaving or knitting to create textiles, and has been adapted by cultures across the globe since its creation in 13th century Arabia. The friendship bracelet legend comes from the Central American Indian tradition of making small macramé bracelets for important friends. Traditionally you are to wear the bracelet until it falls off, honouring your friend's work.
The bracelets require no previous knowledge of knots and can be constructed with inexpensive materials. DMC Color Variations floss creates a dip-dye-like pattern but definitely try dyeing your own if you have the time. RIT has a great interactive tool to help you create about 500 shades from their standard 26 colors.
FOR THE OMBRE DIP-DYE, YOU'LL NEED:
- Dark color RIT dye powder
- Light, solid color DMC 6 stranded cotton
- Rubber gloves
- Container to mix dye
OMBRE DIP-DYE PREPARATION:
Cut your stranded cotton into 60" (150 cm) lengths and knot them in the middle.
Wet the thread so it soaks through then dab off excess water with a towel. Careful they don't tangle.
AND FOR THE CHEVRON BRACELET, YOU'LL NEED:
- The above, or DMC Color Variations stranded cotton cut into 150 cm (59 in) lengths. We've used a full pack to create 5 lengths, but you can use less if you prefer a thinner bracelet.
Ombre Dip Dye: Step One
You can play endlessly with the dye mix, but we recommend mixing 1 tablespoon of RIT dye powder with 2 tablespoons of salt and 1 ½ cups of hot water (not boiling).
Ombre Dip Dye: Step Two
Give your dye mix a final stir and put the knotted end into the liquid, so about half the length of your thread is submerged.
Ombre Dip Dye: Step Three
Soak for about 30 minutes; see how the dye starts to creep up the thread.
Ombre Dip Dye: Step Four
Carefully take the yarn out, try to hold it by the knotted end so the dye spreads evenly down the cotton, while you run it under lukewarm water to get the majority of the dye off.
Ombre Dip Dye: Step Five
Gently wash it in lukewarm water with a little mild detergent... see how pretty it looks.
Ombre Dip Dye: Step Six
Finally, run it under cold water to help fix the dye. Hang or leave flat to dry. If you're short on time, carefully blast it with a hairdryer. Now it's time for the second part of this project; skip to step three below.
Chevron Bracelet: Step One
Color fluctuates along the length of this thread. To get the ombre effect, you need to align the threads like with like, lay them out, and slightly shift them back and forth. Don't worry if it's not perfect!
Chevron Bracelet: Step Two
Double the threads over (in the middle of a patch of color, as close to the center of the threads as you can) and overhand knot them, creating a loop of about 1" (2 cm). Now, if you started with 5 threads, you will have 10 hanging down from the knot.
Chevron Bracelet: Step Three
Tape threads down by the loop. Separate out the threads and knot from the outside towards the center. Take the outside thread on the left and knot it over and under the next thread along-- do this twice. Repeat this for each thread, until the thread that was on the outside has reached the center.
Chevron Bracelet: Step Four
Repeat this from the outside right, then knot the two central threads twice.
Chevron Bracelet: Step Five
Repeat this action until you have about 3.5" (9 cm) of thread left. Braid the remaining thread and knot it at the end. Trim off any excess.
Chevron Bracelet: Step Six
To attach your bracelet, thread the braided end through the loop and knot it.