A chronicle of the meanderings, false starts (which in retrospect, while sort of embarrassing turned out to be highly instructive), epiphanies, selective apathy (still evolving), wild mood swings, opinions (subject to frequent change), and life lessons of an inveterate dabbler (and her latest dabblings).

Monday, October 1, 2012

Knot Afraid

Irish Waxed Linen
I have been collecting small quantities of Irish waxed linen in assorted colors from White Clover Kiln, in the hopes of one day having some ideas for using it, but I've been chicken to try any new techniques. I liked that I could buy small quantities of this, to experiment, before committing to yards and yards (they come in 5- and 10-yard cards). My knotted pieces in the past have been very basic, with only overhand knots between the beads--I find this difficult to do well! Getting the knots right up against the beads is a challenge and my fingers get very sore (I use a sewing needle to push the knot up against the bead). I have also been less than thrilled with the results, since the cording itself is nearly invisible in such pieces, as the knots tend to be rather small. (The bracelet below was done with brown cording, using overhand knots--but you can barely see it!) I do love how it drapes, though.

I've been a great fan of both Erin Siegel's and Lorelei Eurto's knotted pieces, especially since the cording itself plays such a prominent role in the design. I've enjoyed looking at Erin's work on Flickr, and was greatly inspired by the many pieces using cording in their book collaboration, "Bohemian Inspired Jewelry." I was tickled to see how many macrame knots were used--my Mom and and I were macrame-ing fools in the70s, and in my elementary school years I could have done macrame in my sleep! Our plants never lacked a jute hanger. After procrastinating for way too long, I thought I could probably dredge up that muscle-memory and use macrame in my designs. I thought I would give square knots a try first, with my little collection of Indonesian glass beads from Happy Mango Beads. I was thrilled to discover how easy it was!

This one features a stoneware button from Kara Nina, Indonesian glass in mauve from Happy Mango Beads, and assorted seed beads from Fusion Beads and bought locally.
Grape and Melon
I built this one around a cute wooden flower button from Shop4Craft, and paired it with crow beads in an "oil slick" finish from Fire Mountain Gems, glass seed beads in rose, textured brass "cocoon" beads (based on a tutorial by Kharisma Sommers), and one of my textured brass charms.
Briar Rose
For this one, I really wanted to use these red beads from Happy Mango. I combined them with cording in teal, and silver and gunmetal accents. I was thrilled that one of my little stoneware charms from Karen Totten worked into it so nicely! Little pewter sun beads from Happy Mango, and silver and gunmetal buttons from Lyanwood.
Cherries and Blueberries
This was the very first one I tried--I used brown waxed linen since I had a lot of it, because I thought there was a good chance I'd be cutting it up! I tried half knots on the loop closure between the seed beads--that took a couple tries to get it right. The striped beads are, of course, Indonesian beads from Happy Mango, and the little flower charm is too. Metal button from Lyanwood. In each of these, I covered the knot at the neck of the beaded loop with one of my rolled tube beads--I kind of have an obsession with covering the mechanics of things. ("Don't pay any attention to the man behind the curtain!!!")
Gypsy Girl
These are a perfect project to do in the car on my lunch hour--I'm looking forward to using more of my Happy Mango stash--these Indonesian beads have just the right size holes for two strands of waxed linen--and more colors from my mini-stash of Irish waxed linen. I have tons of buttons still, and linen colors I haven't tried yet.

And, once you feel confident with your Irish waxed linen and want to really commit to a color, you can get whole spools in selected colors from Jewelry Accord, or you can try a palette of four colors for inspiration!


  1. Dear Keirsten, I just loooove your new creations. All of them! The way you have combined the cording with the beads color wise, and all about them really. I do really like to use cording myself in my own jewelry. And now you have inspired me once more!

  2. Very cool keirsten - I struggle with the plain knot as well never looks the way I want it to! Love the linen on the outside!

  3. Love your work. I too, have been collecting....just need to muster the courage to try knotting. :)

  4. The Great and Powerful OZ!! Is behind the curtain. Once you decided to finally have a go you didn't mess around. They are all so beautiful, I'd love to try this some day myself. I'm chicken too and don't know where I'd find the time to fit it in.

  5. Love all the pieces but that Grape and Melon one is my favorite! Such beautiful colors in each of them.

    Thanks for mentioning my etsy store and for your business! I do sell the thread in full spools for $15.00 (un-dyed natural is a larger spool and is $21.00) but I order them as needed. Just convo me if you want to order 1 or more spools.

  6. Just love your color combos--especially the grape and melon.

  7. Ah, so that's what you've been working on! All the pieces are so lovely. I love that you jumped in with both feet and have done a bang up job as usual. I've recently bought some cord, too, but haven't tried it yet. I'm feeling inspired now!

  8. Kirsten, love your designs! Truthfully I have a love for everything you make. You have an eye for color and just the perfect way of blending things together!

  9. You have so much talent that I can't imagine you being chicken to try a new technique. But I know how you feel, since I'm the same way. I used to do a lot of macrame in high school with jute, but now I can't seem to make a good knot. I guess I just need to jump in with both feet.

    All your pieces are lovely!

  10. Your necklace is to-die-for! It is sumptuous. It makes this redhead think about wearing pink!

  11. These are all really fabulous!! So many ideas. I just love them all. And your combination of colors is dreamy.

  12. one key ingredient in knotting is a pair of beading tweezers. If you poke the tweezers through the loop of your knot, before tightening,and grasp the place where you'd like the knot to be, you will fine that your knots will be easier to control.