June 27, 2013

New in My Shop - Kits for Micro Macrame Bracelets

Bead and cord kits for micro macrame bracelet patterns from Knot Just Macrame on Etsy

I love playing with beads and cord and putting together color combinations, so what better outlet than to put together kits to go along with my micro macrame patterns?  I finally got busy and assembled some - these go with my Leaves bracelet.  I have measured and cut the cord for you and put in the beads you will need, as well as split rings, a clasp and extender chain.  All in one tidy little package.  I had to do one in Matte Metallic Khaki Iris, of course:  

Matte Metallic Khaki Iris Leaves Micro Macrame Bracelet Kit

I also love this combination.  It's all white, but it's not all white - tricky, huh?  I love the rainbow coating on the beads that keeps the white from being boring.  There are little flashes of color.  So pretty...

White rainbow beads and cord kit for micro macrame

I haven't included the tutorial with any of the kits since some folks like to buy more than one color kit to go with a pattern and others have already purchased the pattern.  I did straighten the cord for you, since this is what it looked like before I did:

Seed beads and bead cord

You're welcome.  A couple of hints for you if you do purchase a kit:  Although I straightened the cord once, I did have to spool it to get it to you since the cost was prohibitive for mailing a 36" long box.  You might have to run it through your straight iron to get it straight again (details here).  If the ends get a bit flattened from the straightening process, just clip a tiny bit off the end of the cord. If you cut at a little angle, it will make threading the beads onto the cord much easier.  If you are still having trouble getting the beads on the cord, dip the cord ends in some Fray Check and let them dry, then cut a little angle.  It works like a charm and keeps the ends of your cord from unraveling.  Clear nail polish works, too, but I use the Fray check when finishing off my pieces, so it's handy to have.

I even did a kit in the Hydrangea colors.   I'm just loving this shade of purple called French Lilac.  It's sort of muted - not a bright, vibrant purple.  And the beads I've paired with it aren't actually purple at all.  They're shades of gray, but the rainbow coating on the beads gives them the appearance of purple.  And I love combining beads in matte and shiny finishes for a little contrast, even when the colors all match.  My next project is to make some kits for the Hydrangea Bracelet.  Patience, Grasshopper...

French Lilac or Hydrangea colors bead and cord kit for micro macrame bracelet pattern

You can find the kits in the Kits Section of my Etsy Shop.

June 22, 2013

Year of Jewelry Week 25 - Solstice

Micro macrame necklace with polymer clay focal by Ke Robinson

The theme for The Year of Jewelry this week is solstice.  Festivities can involve wearing crowns of flowers and celebrating the fertility of the earth.  One Swedish tradition involves a woman gathering seven different kinds of flowers from seven different gardens and putting them under her pillow so she will dream about her future spouse.  I couldn't think of a more perfect piece to represent the summer solstice than this floral pendant by Ke Robinson.  

Ke's paintings are extravagantly full of color and unabashed celebration.  Her pelican paintings are magical and her aquatic scenes are enchanting.  I'm a total fan of her work, can you tell?  Go look at her Facebook page.  I'll wait here for you.  You'll be glad you did, I promise.

You're back?  Was I right?  When Ke offered to send me one of her beads, I jumped on the opportunity!  And I wasn't disappointed.  Her polymer clay pieces are every bit as whimsically colorful as her paintings.  

Spiral micro macrame necklace by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

After a couple of false starts, I came up with this design.  Oh, you want to see what I didn't like?  Okay, hold  on...

Cut off snippets of failed macrame design

See those snippets off to the left?  Those are tries one and two.  I just wasn't satisfied with the colors in either of them - they were either too insipid for the pendant or fighting for attention.  I finally settled on a chartreuse green and dark greenish blue combination that makes me think of sunlight and shadows on foliage.  I did a spiral knotting technique to produce a fairly substantial necklace and added two more of Ke's beads in fuchsia for an unexpected pop of color along the way.

Hand crafted brass hook and chain closure with Vintaj charm

I used some brass end caps to finish the ends and added a length of chain to make the necklace adjustable.  A lobster clasp just didn't seem special enough, so I fashioned a hook from some brass wire.  A little Vintaj leaf finishes off the chain.

Knotted spiral macrame necklace designed by Sherri Stokey

And thank you, Ke, for letting me design with one of your pieces!

June 16, 2013

Summer Elements Blog Hop - Freeform Micro Macrame Necklace

Summer Elements Blog Hop by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

My friend, Rita of Toltec Jewels and Jewel School Friends is hosting a blog hop celebrating summer, and anyone who knows me, knows summer is my thing.  I love the long days and the green trees and I love the warmth.  I'd have summer all year long if somebody would give me the option.  Rita challenged us to consider the elements of summer; Air, Water, Fire, Earth and Spirit; and then create something and share.  Create anything and share anything that celebrates summer.  My kind of hop!  

We bought a pool years ago when the children were still pretty young and we've spent endless hours there as a family.  I treasure the memories of every one of those hours, and this is one of my favorite photos of my husband and kids.

Husband and kids in the pool

It doesn't seem that long ago that I took this picture, but my daughter is seventeen now and my son is a father himself!  I had my grandson out in the back yard the other day and he was fascinated by the movement of the water.  I started studying it and found I was pretty entertained by the endless kaleidoscope of patterns, too.   I took my inspiration from the that and made my first piece of free-form macrame.

A study of water free form micro macrame necklace

I just started knotting and putting in some random beads, letting the piece wander wherever it wanted.  No planning, no tidying up.  Just the cord and the knots going under and around and over like water in a river.  I played off the macrame technique called Margaretenspitze which was developed by Margarete Neumann in the beginning of the 1900s.  She developed the system of adding and dropping threads which allows you to make almost any design - hand tied lace.  Fascinating stuff. 

Macrame using margarete lace margareten spitze techniques

Spirals knotted in micromacrame ocean shades

This necklace took me most of the week to complete.  It sounds odd, but it much more difficult for me to go with the flow.  I'm more comfortable staying within the lines with my macrame.  Oh, sure, I venture out a bit and play with color, but my pieces are usually symmetrical and even and tidy.  This piece is none of those things.  I do have to admit that this exercise was liberating.  My ode to summer.  My study of water.

Water macrame necklace knotted in shades of blue and aqua
I hope you'll take a few minutes to check out the rest of the Summer Elements Blog Hop participants:

Toltec Jewels (Hostess)     http://www.jewelschoolfriends.com/
Marlene Cupo                   http://amazingdesigns-marlene.blogspot.com/
Cheri Reed                        http://creativedesignsbycheri.blogspot.com/
Ailsa Cordner                    http://www.bramalfiebeadsetc.co.uk/
Robin Reed                       http://willowdragon.blogspot.com/
Nan Smith                         http://www.wirednan.blogspot.com/
Sherri Stokey                     http://www.knotjustmacrame.com/
Christie (Charis Designs)    http://charisdesignsjewelry.blogspot.com/
Carolyn Lawson                 http://carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com/
Melissa Trudinger               http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com/
Dini Bruinsma                     http://angazabychanges.blogspot.com/
Kathy Lindemer                 http://bay-moon-design.blogspot.com/
Cory Tompkins                  http://tealwaterdesigns.blogspot.com/
Robin Reed                       http://willowdragon.blogspot.com/
Gina Hockett                     http://freestyleelements.blogspot.com/
Karen Martinez                 http://www.fairiesmarket.blogspot.com/
Liz                                    http://beadcontagion.blogspot.com/
Jasvanti Patel                     http://jewelrybyjasvanti.blogspot.com/
Solange Collin                    http://www.blog.ahowinjewelry.com/
Gerda                                http://gerdascraftsblog.blogspot.com/
Karla Morgan                    http://texaspepperjams.blogspot.com/
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell     http://deelitefuljewelrycreations.blogspot.com/
Mischelle Fanucchi             http://micheladasmusings.blogspot.com/
Tanty Sri Hartanti               http://tjewellicious.blogspot.com/
Shaiha Williams                  http://shaihasramblings.blogspot.com/
Mary Govaars                    http://mlhjewelrydesigns.com/
Becca Sirevaag                  http://godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com/
Lennis Carrier                    http://windbent.wordpress.com/
Regina Wood                     http://www.gina-design.blogspot.com/
Sue Kennedy                     http://suebeads.blogspot.com/

June 11, 2013

Hints & Tips for Micro Macrame Knotting

Micro Macrame bracelet by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

Want to take your micro macrame pieces from so-so to WOW!?  There's only one rule you have to remember - neatness counts.  That's it.  That's the whole secret to great looking beaded macrame jewelry!  Make sure your knots are straight and even and your cords lay just right and your beads make the perfect curve.  Pay attention to the little details.  A few other tips:

Use a straight iron to smooth out cords for micro macrame.

The first thing I do when I'm making something (okay, the second - first you have to cut the cords) is to iron my cords.  Yep - I take a straight iron and run my cords through it.  As you can see from the photo, you can quickly tame an unruly pile of curls.  It's much easier to keep track of your cords when knotting if they aren't all kinky and tangled.  A big barreled curling iron will do the same thing as a straightener if you don't curl your cord around it - just pull the cord through it.  I've also heard that you can iron them, but I can't vouch for that.  "Ironing" is a bad word at my house.

Straight pins and t-pins used to hold micro macrame knotting in place

The next secret weapon in my arsenal is pins.  I use a couple different kinds of pins - plain old straight sewing pins and small t-pins.  They will hold your work in place while you knot.  My rule of thumb is whenever I change the direction of a cord, I use a pin to make the corner sharp.  It also helps to keep my lines straight.  

Straight pins and t-pins used to hold micro macrame by Sherri Stokey

You can never have too many pins.  The work surface I'm using in this photo is the new Beadsmith Macrame Board and it works very well.  I do still use my original, low cost cork board, too (old dog, new tricks thing I think) and you can see that here.

Glue, scissors and pins are handy tools for micro macrame knotting

My secret for a nice finish involves two types of glue and small scissors.  The old school method for ending cords was to melt them with a lighter and I know some folks still do that.  It works, but I don't like the hard scratchy ends of melted nylon that are left (okay, they drive me crazy on the tender underside of my wrist!) so I use this method.  When I'm finished knotting, I coat my last row of knots with Fray Check.

Using Fray Check to hold knots

Then I pull all the knots nice and tight and let them dry.  I clip the excess cord very close to the knots and then hit those knots again with some glue.

Hypo Cement is a great adhesive for holding knots.

I like the G-S Hypo Cement for this step.  I've never had a problem with it not holding and the precision tip applicator lets me get the adhesive just exactly where I want it without making a mess.

So there you have it.  My secrets. If you're ready to try making some micro macrame bracelets of your own, I offer some tutorials in my Etsy shop with step by step instructions.

Edited to add:  I've added some new video posts here on my blog to cover some of the main macrame knots.  Check out the lark's head knot tutorial and the double half hitch tutorial.

June 9, 2013

Micro Macrame Earrings - Week 23 of The Year of Jewelry

Micro macrame earrings by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

I can't believe we're up to Week 23 of The Year of Jewelry already, but it's true.  One new piece of jewelry, every week, for a year.  No problem!  The suggested theme for this week was Twins, but I always have to be me - just a little bit "off" from the rest.  I decided to make earrings, but just for fun, I added the interesting little twist of different cord colors.  Well, not actually different cord colors - I just reversed the cord colors.  So one pair had green cord with a pop of purple and the other has purple with green.  

Beaded macrame earrings by Sherri Stokey in green and purple

I can't believe how different they look with only that one change.

Knotted macrame earrings in purple and green from Knot Just Macrame

The beads are all the same, I swear.  Anyway, that's my take on "Twins".  Oh, and if you're diggin' the purple and green color scheme, check out the matching bracelet here!
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