December 24, 2014

Christmas Traditions

I'll warn you right up front, this post has nothing to do with micro macrame.  It is the time of year when my thoughts turn toward family and friends and I would like to share something special with you.  My grandfather, Papa Arnie to me, was a first generation American, both of his parents having immigrated as children.  Our heritage is Czech and it is most apparent when we fix holiday meals.  Christmas dinner just wouldn't be complete without potato dumplings and sauerkraut.  Papa tried to teach several of us how to make dumplings over the years but none are as good as his.  A few years ago I took step by step photos and documented every thing he told me.  Papa has since passed away, but this is his recipe:

We usually serve our dumplings with roast turkey (although most of my grandparents liked goose) and we always have to put some of the "drippings" from the bird on the table to be spooned over the dumplings.  You also have to have sauerkraut with them (that's a rule).

If you manage to make enough that there are leftovers, they're really good cut into smaller pieces and fried for the next meal.

I get a little sentimental this time of year and the absence of most of my grandparents seems more apparent during the holidays.  I try to remember fondly all of the celebrations over the years rather than dwell on the loss.  And if I get a little maudlin, it only takes a glance at this sweet face to remind me just how good life is.

I hope your holidays are beautiful and filled with love.

December 18, 2014

Online Micro Macrame Classes on Sale: Enabler Alert

Enabler alert!!  This is just a quicky post to let you know about an awesome sale on my micro macrame classes at  ALL of them are on sale through Sunday (December 21, 2014) - up to 33% off!  (Details here.)

You can find the whole list of my classes here, and don't forget the free tutorial in my last post!   Happy knotting!

December 17, 2014

My Holiday Gift to You: A Free Micro Macrame Tutorial

Micro macrame bracelet DIY tutorial from Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

I'm in the mood for spreading some holiday cheer, so I'm giving you a little gift:  a micro macrame tutorial that will teach you how to make this twisted bracelet. This one is pretty easy; in fact, I think if you can tie your shoes, you can probably make this.  Really!  Are you ready?  Here's what you'll need:

To recap:  scissors, glue, pliers, cord caps (4-5mm inner diameter), a clasp (I used a lobster clasp & ring, but you could use a toggle instead) and a jump ring for attaching, 3 colors of .5mm nylon bead cord (like C-lon or Superlon) and 1 color of 1mm Tex 400 cord.  Hint:  if you're confused about cord sizes, check out this post.  Cut cord:  for a 6" piece of macrame, I used 60" lengths of the .5mm cords (1 piece of each color) and a 22" length of the Tex 400.  Straighten the cords (covered in this post if you need instructions).  You can adjust the lengths of cord for the length of the piece you want, but you'll have to do the math.

Let's get a little closer in on the knots so you can see better.

Easy, right?  You will notice the knots starting to spiral as you go along and that's exactly what you want.  Once you have the length of knotting that you want, tie off the end with an overhand knot and glue on the caps.

And that's a wrap!  Happy holidays & have fun knotting!

Twisted Micro Macrame bracelet from Knot Just Macrame.

P.S. (because I always think of something more to say when I'm supposed to be finished) I added a little bead dangle to dress mine up a bit (polymer bead by Shane Smith).  

P.P.S.  For some reason the videos aren't showing up in the emailed version of this post.  If you can't see the videos, you probably won't think this is a very good tutorial.   Please go to the actual blog post and give me a chance to change your mind.

EDITED to add this helpful hint from Donna.  Donna was having problems with her piece coming out more flat with ridges rather than a round cord like shown.  The secret to avoiding this issue is to hold your work upright when you knot (so it looks like a squid like in the 3rd video).  Don't think of this has being a flat half knot.  Don't pin the length of your work down flat and don't hold the filler cord down.  Use just one pin to hold it down while you work or even use a safety pin and pin it to the leg of your jeans as you knot - that will force you to hold it up off of the surface while knotting.  Thank you, Donna, for your help!!

December 8, 2014

The Evolution of Woodland Plaid

Micro macrame knotting by Sherri Stokey.

It seems the holiday season is upon us whether or not we agree that a year could possibly have passed since the last holiday season.  Red bows look pretty against bright green trees, but in jewelry I am not a big fan of those traditional colors, so I started playing around withmore muted versions.

Micro macrame bracelets by Knot Just Macrame.
I chose cool blue greens of spruce and softer berry tones.  

Micro macrame with beads by Sherri Stokey.
I added some woodsy browns to ground the colors and ended up with these:

Micro macrame bracelets in muted holiday colors.

It's always fascinating to me how  the same beads can look so different when tied in another color of cord.  I also like to take the same combination of beads and cord and use it in different patterns.  For this one I used all three colors of cord together.

Woodland plaid in micro macrame by Knot Just Macrame.

And I came up with a pattern that reminds me of a woodland plaid.  And that, of course, led me to add a woodland creature (from Dreams and Elements).

Macrame bracelet by Sherri Stokey with owl from Dreams & Elements.

Now if the woodland elves would come get these things listed in my shop, I could get on with my holiday baking!

November 24, 2014

Shop Update

Micro macrame bracelets and earrings by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

I really have to stop doing this to myself.  I would rather be making jewelry than listing it, so I end up with a big pile of pieces sitting here beside me staring me in the face.  If I had an assistant (or a genie), I would make them do all the photography and listing.  And probably shipping, too, because that's just how I'd be if I had an assistant (or a genie).  Meanwhile if you're looking for me, I'll be here all afternoon listing pieces in my Etsy shop like all these sparkly bracelets in teal, blue and green and matching earrings.

And these blue earrings:

Micro macrame earrings in blue by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

And some sage green earrings:

Lacy hand knotted micro macrame earrings in sage by Sherri Stokey.

And a brown, turquoise and blue bracelet:

Handmade bracelet - knotted micro macrame in brown, turquoise and blue.

There's more, too, so if you've been waiting for some new things to hit my shop, here's your chance!

November 16, 2014


Macrame bezel knotted around a cabochon

I have such news!  I have taken my first lessons in macrame this week, and I'm positively twitterpated!  I have long admired the style of macrame I think of as South American.  I really am not sure where it originated, but I see quite a bit of this style from people from Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, etc.  The pieces I'm talking about are usually done with waxed cord and natural stones as opposed to the nylon bead cord I use and the glass seed beads.  The emphasis is on the knotting.  The style is less "fussy" than mine, maybe.  More natural, more organic.

I don't mean to imply that folks in other areas of the world don't do that style, because some certainly do.  In fact, my teacher is from Estonia.  If you follow the world of macrame, you may have come across some of the work of Percy Palomino Tomayquispe.  I don't want to filch any of his photos to put them here to show you, so I'll just give you this link to his Facebook page.  Prepare to be amazed.

Anyway, back to my story... we don't have a local bead store in my town (the nearest is about 150 miles from here) so classes for me would require travel.  And I'm a homebody (okay, some would make an argument that the correct term would be recluse).  Either way, I've never taken any macrame classes or any jewelry making classes either, so when Percy announced that he would be doing online classes, I jumped at the chance.  

Macrame failures.

Turns out I'm not the world's best student.  I asked Percy to teach me bezeling because I've never quite been able to get it down as well as I'd like.  Those two pieces in the photo above are my first two failures even after Percy's lesson!

Knotted macrame bezel.

Third time is a charm though, and I finally nailed it.  After a second lesson, I also got the back done to hold the cabochon in place.

The back of the bezel and cabochon.

It may not look like much, but I am learning and enjoying every second of it.  And even if I'm not the best student, I am a determined one!  I'm also thrilled to have such an opportunity.  I grew up in the TBI (time before Internet), so it is still a big deal to me that we can interact with folks from the other side of the globe with such ease.  What a learning opportunity.

November 12, 2014

Collaboration Unveiling (Sort of)

Beaded bits and a macrame skull

Do you remember this post from last month telling you about a collaborative project my friend Lindsay Starr and I were doing?  She sent me these:

Beaded components from Lindsay Starr

And I sent her these:

Macrame components by Sherri Stokey

Our challenge was to make something using the other person's pieces and our own techniques.  Lindsay had hers finished in no time at all:

Collaboration of bead work and macrame

I'm just going to show you this little teaser here.  If you want to see the whole piece she made, you'll want to pop over to her blog.  It's worth the trip, let me tell you.  After she set the bar so high, I was really sweating my piece using her beaded components.  For some reason I was set on trying to make a sugar skull and since I've never tried knotting one before, it was a lot of trial and error. 

My pieces are usually fairly simple, but I wanted something much more complex for Lindsay.  I struggled.

Another trial layout.

I struggled a LOT.

Yet another trial layout.

I put the skull in and I took the skull out (I did the Hokey Pokey....).  Nothing "felt" right.  I finally ended up with this:

Finished layout?

I'm still not quite happy with it.  I think now that I have to remove the top coral colored circle with the seed bead flower in it.  Or maybe move it more to the left - I'm not sure.  At this rate, Lindsay might get this necklace in time for next year's Day of the Dead.  It's a good thing she's patient. 

Beadwork and macrame collaboration.

November 1, 2014

Spiral Fossil Disc Meets Micro Macrame: Art Jewelry Elements Component Reveal

Micro macrame necklace by Sherri Stokey featuring a ceramic disc from Starry Road Studio.

If you follow the Art Jewelry Elements blog (and if you don't, you really should!), you know they do a monthly component challenge and giveaway.  I was one of the lucky recipients this month and I received one of Karen Totten's Spiral Fossil Discs!

I have a bit of an obsession with Karen's work.  Do you  remember the necklace I made with one of her bird and branch sets in this post?  Her ceramic pieces are amazingly detailed and beautiful and she continually comes up with new and different things to keep it interesting.  Here are some Starry Road Studio beads I have in my treasure trove:

Ceramic beads and pendants from Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio

See what I mean?  Anywho...(sorry, I got distracted by the beads for just a minute there) Lindsay Starr was also lucky enough to get one of the discs this month (and yes, her stuff is another obsession of mine as demonstrated here and here).  She had her piece finished soon after she got the disc and shared it with me.  I like to keep pushing my limits with macrame to keep it interesting, so I thought I would see if I could mimic what Lindsay did with beads, but with knots.  This is her piece (photo used with her permission):

Beaded necklace by Lindsay Starr of Phantasm Creations.

In an effort to mimic but not copy her design exactly, I started with an antler tip that my dad gave me and knotted around it.

Deer antler tip with macrame knotting attached to a ceramic disc.

I've seen this technique before in some South American macrame designs, but I hadn't ever tried doing it myself.  They typically use a waxed cord which gives it a little tackiness and I wasn't sure how the process would work with the unwaxed nylon cord I use.  I made sure I knotted my first row very tightly around the antler (which is actually the bottom row in this photo).  The antler angles out a little bit at the top, so that first row of knotting actually holds the antler in place.  

Linsday chose a y-shaped yoke for the top strap of the necklace in order to cover as little of Karen's disc as possible.  I chose to do two separate straps of macrame, but I kept them narrow around the disc for the same reason.

Macrame knotting attached to cermamic spiral fossil disc by Karren Totten.

In keeping with the sort of rustic, organic feel of the piece, I chose some carved bone beads to use directly above the disc in a light color to pull in the color from the antler tip.  From there I added some basic square knots in the teal colored thread.

Micro macrame necklace by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

The beads I used in the strap are recycled glass from Ghana. They are made by crushing discarded glass and adding a colorant.  The powder is poured into molds and the stem of a plant is added, which burns away during the firing leaving a hole for stringing.  The beads are fired in a wood burning earthen oven.  The look is crude and primitive and perfect for this project.

Half knot sinnets make spiral micro macrame knotting

I used simple half knot sinnets for the bulk of the necklace straps.  The spirals catch the light in interesting ways and draw the eye to their twists and shadows.

Deer antler pendant micro macrame necklace from Knot Just Macrame

At the end I added a few more glass beads and a simple brass hook closure.  I think it's a fun piece and I've really enjoyed the study in "compare and contrast" with Lindsay's necklace.  I hope you'll visit her page, then stop back to tell me what you think.  What similarities did you spot?  What differences?  Which elements worked better with beads and which did you like better with knots?

I hope you will also join me in visiting the blogs of the other participants to see what each of them has done with the Spiral Fossil Disc:

Monthly Winners

AJE Blog Team

October 26, 2014

Celebrating Autumn - Octoberfest 2014 Blog Hop

Octoberfest 2014

My friend Rita of Toltec Jewels is hosting her third annual Octoberfest Blog Hop today and I thought it would be fun to join.  She asks only that participants do something - anything - to celebrate autumn and blog about it.  I've been enjoying autumn for the past several weeks, and what's more autumn than apples?  A friend has over twenty apple trees and sent home a whole bunch of apples for us.  


After conning my daughter and her friend into helping, we peeled and chopped apples until we couldn't stand it anymore.  We ended up with a huge roaster (the giant one I use for Thanksgiving turkeys), a huge dutch over and a large crock pot full of apples.  I added a little sugar and cinnamon and a splash of apple juice and set them all to cook for hours and hours and hours.  The sugar in the apples caramelizes and the apples break down and when all is said and done, you end up with apple butter.  

Homemade apple butter

We ended up with something like 15 pints of apple butter and still had bags and bags of apples left.  I've been slicing them and drying them in my dehydrators every night for a week now.  And honestly?  I am not sure when I'll ever be able to even LOOK at another apple.

In the weekend between apple butter and dried apples, my husband and I took a trip up through the Rocky Mountains.  It's one of our favorite things to do in the fall and we always try to time a trip when the leaves are turning.  
Autumn in the Rockies

My photography skills are just not good enough to capture the beauty, but I always try.  Notice the gorgeous waterfall in the distance in this one?  We hiked up to get this view and it was so worth it!

Mountain waterfall

My favorite, though, is always the vibrant yellow.

Autumn in the Rocky Mountains

Vibrant colors of fall

Brilliantly colored leaves

A while back I found a great variegated cord and used it to make a chain of leaves (the class is available here if you want to try it).  I was never quite satisfied with the outcome, so I set it aside.  After being inspired by the mountain trip, I dug it back out and made a few changes.  At a suggestion from a friend (thanks, Lindsay!) I used some lizard leather to make connectors and added some swags of colorful glass seed beads between the leaves.

Micro macrame leaves and hand made leather connector

I also made a clasp to match and sponged on some of the necklace colors.


And I ended up with a colorful autumn necklace with cascading leaves, funky leather connectors and multiple strands of beads.

Micro macrame necklace by Sherri Stokey with knotted leaves, leather connectors and multiple strands of beads.

And that, my friends, is this year's ode to autumn from me.  I hope you'll take some time to visit the other participants below and see what they did.  And be sure to swing by Rita's site and tell her if you like her blog hop!

Toltec Jewels (Hostess)

Sherri Stokey <----You are Here
Michelle McCarthy

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