June 22, 2014

Macrame Owls and Bulahan Beads: A Match Made in Heaven

Micro macrame owl pendant with salwag seed, buri seed, and glass beads.

Antelope Beads is having a contest I just couldn't pass up.  Their challenge was simply to use at least three Bulahan Beads in a jewelry design.  Given the range of beads choose from, including different types of wood, seed, bone, horn & hoof, I thought it sounded pretty fun.  If you follow my ramblings at all, you probably know I've been on an owl jag here lately, so I thought to myself, "Sherri, why don't you try mixing the Bulahan beads with an owl design!"  Sometimes I do that, you know - talk to myself, I mean.  Don't tell anybody.

Bulahan beads including buri and salwag seed.

I ordered a selection of fun beads to inspire me.  The flowers are Salwag seed, as are the round beads.  The ones with the white surface showing are Buri seed.  I decided to use the flower shaped ones for some owly eyes and then mix all of the shapes in the necklace strap.  For the owl, I used cord in  turquoise and teal as well as white and brown.

Micro macrame owl pendant necklace by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

I used a few Czech glass beads and some crystals in with the natural beads for the necklace, then added a toggle clasp I made myself.  See those rings on the end of the strands in the photo of the beads?  I used one of them for the ring part of the clasp and made a toggle bar with a piece of wire.  (I'm feeling pretty clever about that one!)  I really like the way this necklace turned out, but I was afraid the busy owl sort of stole the attention away from the Bulahan beads, so I made a second necklace.

Micro macrame owl pendant necklace by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

This one really pops!  The bright blue cord and glass beads really glow when paired with the natural browns of the seed beads and the solid color body seems to show off the knotting more.  He looks like he has on a knitted sweater, don't you think?

Macrame owl necklaces with natural and glass beads, designed by Sherri Stokey.

I think they are both fun necklaces!  I ended up submitting the solid blue one for the Bulahan Beads Design Contest since I think it shows off those beads a little more.  If you'd like to vote in the contest, Antelope Beads has a photo album here.  They're asking that you look through all of the designs in the album and pick your top three, then leave a comment here with the letters of your top three before midnight on Wednesday, June 25th.  If you share the album, you will have a chance at a $50 shopping spree at Antelope Beads, too!

June 16, 2014

How to Make an Easy Knotted Necklace

Micro macrame owl pendant necklace by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

I might as well admit it - I'm a hippie at heart.  Not the kind that doesn't shave her underarms and showers infrequently, thank you very much, but the kind that appreciates a macrame owl and peace sign necklace.  Case in point:  this necklace.  I knotted the micro macrame owl in olive green cord with Tagua nut coin beads for eyes (eco-friendly!) and then I added an eclectic selection of beads to the necklace. 

Pease and Love hippie necklace with peace sign and wooden flowers.

Note the groovy peace sign and the mod carved wood beads.  There are some unakite rounds in there, as well as glass, artisan lamp work, and even a little brass bird.  And the clasp has a heart on it because we hippies are all about brotherly (sisterly?) love.

Light green micro macrame owl pendant necklace by Sherri Stokey

I made this owl when I was fiddling with the Micro Macrame Owl Pendant Tutorial, so I thought I'd make up a necklace for him, too.  He's done in light sage green cord with Czech coin beads eyes and I added an eclectic assortment of beads including two by Barbara Bechtel of Second Surf, a Bali style bead, some jade ribbed tubes, a pre-WWI Japanese glass diamond, a vintage ceramic tube, Czech glass and more.
Eclectic assortment of beads including polymer, ceramic and stone.
Want to make your own knotted necklace?  Once you have your owl pendant (tutorial is available here), it's really simple to make this type of necklace.  Here's how:  take a good length of cord (I start with probably 4 foot), fold it in half and attach it to the split ring on the owl using a larks head knot (or use an overhand knot if you prefer).  Add your chosen beads by sliding them onto one cord or both (usually depends on how large the hole in the bead is - sometimes only one will fit), and tie an overhand knot after each bead.  Mix it up a little - add two beads together here and there if you like.  No rules (you know how I hate rules!).  When you get the length you want, add the clasp of your choice, securing it with an overhand knot.  Super simple.  Add a dab of glue to the knot and trim the excess cord.  Leave a couple inches if you like.  You can also add a few random seed beads on the cord ends.  Repeat with another cord through the other split ring.  Done! 
And yes, you could make this style of knotted necklace without the macrame owl - but why?

June 11, 2014

New Micro Macrame Tutorial: A Retro Owl Pendant

Micro macrame owl tutorial by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

Yay!  Do the happy dance, folks (or maybe the Hustle would be more appropriate!), I finally finished a tutorial for the retro 1970's macrame owl pendant.  I've included a materials list and 64 photos in 23 pages of step by step instructions.

I don't include instructions for the actual knots in the tutorial, but you can find those all here on my blog.  Just to make sure I have them all covered, here's one to get you started.  The Square Knot:

There is a whole post on different ways to make the larks head knot here and the double half hitch is covered in this post.  And those three knots should get you through this tutorial.  

This isn't a hard pattern, but it does have a couple of more "advanced" maneuvers that might not be the best for someone who hadn't ever tried micro macrame.  If you fall into that category, you might want to start with something a little easier like the Micro Macrame Braids Bracelet.  And don't forget, there's a free class at CraftArtEdu.com that covers the basics like tools and materials, as well as a whole selection of classes for you including bracelets, earrings, a watch and a necklace!

But back to the owls.  Aren't they adorable?  That's a whole rainbow of them up there!

Retro macrame owls, a throwback to the 1970's!

Once you finish your pendant, you can add it to any kind of necklace you prefer.  I could see these on a simple chain, or a knotted macrame spiral cord.  Or, you could take some matching cord and a handful of assorted beads and make something like this:

Micro macrame owl necklace by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

If you haven't tried micro macrame yet, what are you waiting for?

June 9, 2014

Micro Macrame in Summery Neon

Neon micro macrame bracelet by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

Neon is a fun trend this summer.  I've seen all kinds of new neon beads, and best of all - neon bead cord!  Both C-lon and Superlon have come out with neon cord in four colors and it's available in both the regular size (.5mm) and the heavier Tex 400.  

I chose the Tex400 and started playing around with the Micro Macrame Curves Tutorial.  For the bracelet shown above, I combined the neon yellow and neon green with aqua cord and I really like the result.  The brighter neon colors elevate the aqua to the point where it almost looks like neon also.  Then I combined neon orange with neon pink and ran a dark grey down the center to ground the colors a bit. Both of these bracelets scream summer!

Micro macrame bracelet in neon cord colors by Sherri Stokey

I also experimented with adding just one neon element.  For this next one, I used grey and black and then just a pop of the neon yellow.

Knotted macrame bracelet with neon in Curves pattern by Knot Just Macrame.

Thankfully my knotting ability is better than my photography skill - these really do look better in person.  In my defence, the neon cord is really bright!

For all you "do it yourselfers", if you'd like to try your hand at making your own neon macrame bracelets, you will find the tutorial and DIY kits for all three of these color combinations in my Etsy shop.

Neon materials kits available for Curves Micro Macrame Bracelet tutorial.

Viva la Summer!

Cuves micro macrame bracelets in summer neons.

June 3, 2014


What happens when you give 28 designers the same set of Blu Mudd ceramic components and tell them to design something?  Click here to find out.

June 1, 2014

Blu Mudd Design Challenge #4

Necklace with micro macrame by Sherri Stokey and ceramic components by Blu Mu

Today is the big reveal for the Blu Mudd Design Contest and boy, are you in for a treat!  Mohiah Betterly, the creative genius behind Blu Mudd's beautiful ceramics, decided to run this challenge a little differently.  She made up 30 kits with the same ceramic components - a square pendant with a bird on a branch, a flower toggle clasp, and 4 cylinder beads - and put them out for designers.  The rules were fairly simple and pretty much just required that all of the pieces be used.  Alrighty, then!!  Game ON.  I pulled out some beads and cord 'cause that's how I roll.

Palette of cord and beads and ceramics

With 30 designers all working with the same pieces, the trick was going to be doing something different.  I had an idea in my head of some sort of macrame pattern to mimic leafy vines, so I sat down to try to do that.  Uh, huh.  Easier said than done.  You can read about some of my trials and tribulations here when you get a minute, but for now, I'll just show you the first design I did.

Macrame vine

Hmmm... yep, I get leafy vine from that.  I thought if I just tweaked the colors, I could make it work, so I knotted up a whole bunch of this:

Macrame vine in three colors

And then I discovered that this design just wasn't substantial enough for the ceramic cylinder beads.  I did make a lovely necklace with these pieces you can read about here.  By now the month I had to design a piece had flown by and I was left sitting here with only 4 days left and no design.  I still wanted to use the the concept of connecting leaves, but they needed to be bigger, so I took the same pattern and figured out how to make it look like this:

Macrame leaf design

This pattern was a better size for the beads and finally, I was onto something.  I wanted to make the macrame go up and around the neck and use the toggle clasp in the front in an asymmetric design, which meant I just needed to use the 4 cylinder beads somewhere.  And I faltered.  Really??!  All that and I get stuck on the cylinder beads?  Turns out that 4 is a hard number for me.  I do 1 and I do 3, but I don't do 4.  I tried using one in the necklace and using the other three in a bracelet.  I actually made the bracelet using cord to tie it in a simple design and then using the same cord to finish off my necklace (sorry, I cut it apart without getting photos) and I hated it.  

You know that easy knotted style that's so popular?  You'd think with all the knotting I do that would be a piece of cake for me, right?  Wrong.  And you know what trips me up?  The ends.  I'm a perfectionist and I keep wanting to tidy everything up and those knotted ends just drive me insane! They look so perfect when someone else does it, but I cannot do it!  So....  After cutting all that apart, I decided to go back to one piece and use the four beads come hell or high water.  The clock was ticking.  I drug out my wire intending to do some wrapped loops and attach the components and I ran into another snag.  My necklace was already fairly long and making wrapped loops and connecting all the pieces was going to add even more length.  Good lord.  And then it hit me:  stringing!  

Necklace with micro macrame by Knot Just Macrame and ceramic components by Blu Mu

I did some simple stringing to connect the ceramic cylinders, Czech glass flowers and a few random brass beads to the macrame section and the focal and toggle.  Done!  With a whole day to spare :)  The length and the soft colors made it a bugger to photograph, but I'm still really happy with it.

Necklace with micro macrame by Knot Just Macrame with Blu Mudd ceramic components.

And there you have it - The Saga of the Ceramics, The Vexation of the Vines.  Now comes the fun part!  Head on over to the Blu Mudd facebook page where Moriah has set up an album with all of the designs.  Check out what everyone made using those same components and vote for your favorite (the rules for voting are there are the top of her album).  She will tally up the votes on June 7th and one lucky designer will win a credit to her store to get more of her lovely ceramics!!  I got a sneak peek at the pieces yesterday - you won't be disappointed!!  

Necklace with macrame leaves and Blu Mudd ceramics.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...