July 31, 2014

The Little Mermaid in Micro Macrame

Free form micro macrame bracelet by Sherri Stokey with lamp work focal by Laurie Ament.

You're probably saying to yourself, "Hey, wait a minute!  I don't see any mermaid!"  Well, this is not one of those literal pieces, this is one of those artsy pieces where you have to squint and stand back a ways to truly appreciate it (kidding, just kidding - you won't find a mermaid even if you do that, although I would find it amusing). 

The folks over at the Art Bead Scene Blog sponsor a challenge every month wherein they chooose an image for inspiraiton and challenge you to use an art bead in some way in the creation of a piece.  They define art beads as "a bead, charm, button or finding made by an independent artist.  Art beads are the vision and handiwork of an individual artist."  I love art beads of all kinds and I have lots of favorite artisans.  If you've been following my blog for long, you've probably seen some pieces sure to inspire envy.

  The inspiration piece for July is The Little Mermaid by Edmund Dulac:

The Little Mermaid by Edmund Dulac

I'm always drawn to sea themes and I love this piece because it isn't the stereotypical sea theme.  It has a dark twist to it (not the skull and skeleton).  Everything is broken and twisted and jumbled.  It's chaotic and it has lots of muted color.  I had a bead by lamp work artist Laurie Ament of Isinglass Design that I thought would work perfectly for this project.  Laurie actually made this bead and asked me to make a free form micro macrame piece with it for her.  I got some of her beautiful beads in exchange for doing this, so it was win-win!  She makes all kinds of great pieces like fish and turtles and shells and seahorses... and I could go on and on, but it might be best if you just pop over to her shop and take a peek for yourself and I'll get on with the story.  This is the bead Laurie sent:

Lamp work glass bead by Laurie Ament of Isinglass Designs.

It's different on the other side:

Lamp work glass bead by Laurie Ament of Isinglass Designs.

See what I mean about this piece fitting the inspiration piece?  It just has that feel to it and has lots of the colors from the illustration.  I tried setting the bead in black first and it wasn't right so I cut it apart.  Then I tried big patches of the colors pulled from the bead and it wasn't right either.  It was way too busy and completely overshadowed the bead, so I cut that apart, too.  I finally resorted to a very neutral gold color.  It's not a color I work with very often and it feels slightly uncomfortable, which I think works when you're aiming for chaotic.  I just started randomly knotting and got this far before I felt like giving up:

Free form macrame knotting work in progress.
My friend, Lindsay (she's brilliant, by the way - check her work out here) convinced me to keep going.  She suggested I add little bits of color, so I went  back to the drawing macrame board.

Free form macrame knotting work in progress.

Well, now it's starting to feel like something.  Of course, I'm not sure what it is starting to feel like, but something!  So I plugged on and ended up with this:

Free form macrame knotting.

and this:

Free form macrame knotting.

And this:

Free form micro macrame bracelet by Knot Just Macrame with lamp work focal by Laurie Ament.

And this:

Free form macrame knotting with tube bar slide clasp closure.

I just love it when a plan comes together.  This one was a challenge for me in many ways.  The colors were not my old standby, comfortable colors and I'm very much a straight line, symmetrical kind of person.  Free form is hard for me.  I have to work hard to make it look like I didn't work hard!  I do free form once in a while (you can see some examples here and here if you're interested), but it doesn't come easily.  

Anyway, with Laurie's bead and Mr. Dulac's illustration for inspiration, it all gelled.  I swear I even see a swirl of tentacles, the sweeping fan of a shell and little bits of the tangled sail and mast in the knotting.  Maybe even some of the stringy seaweed floating in the deep currents.  Are you with me?

Macrame cuff inspired by The Little Mermaid by Edward Dulac.

July 28, 2014

It's a Micro Macrame Wrap, Matey

Nautical Micro Macrame wrap bracelet by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Studio makes some really fun beads - I have some of her scarabs and trilobites (two of my favorite geeky subjects) as well as some seashells.  Recently I purchased a set with a sailboat bead and some coordinating rounds and I wanted to run with the nautical theme.  

Nautical Micro Macrame wrap bracelet by Sherri Stokey.

I started out with a variation of the leafy micro macrame pattern I've been working with quite a lot lately and added some tiny seed beads at the ends of the rows.  I kind of like the way the beads outline the shapes.  

Ceramic beads by Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Studio.

After putting in a large red bead (also from Diana), I added a section of spiral knotting with some deep navy blue and red along with the medium blue I used in the first part.  Next came Diana's sailboat bead.  Two more of her beads and a little starfish dangle below the bead add a little movement to the piece.  

Knotted micro macrame bracelet by Knot Just Macrame.

The next section has two lamp work beads from Carolyn Conley of Beads by CC Designs
 in the shape of shells.  They are so pretty and  different than any of the glass work shell beads I've ever seen.  The red round bead is a match for the one I used earlier.

I'm rather proud of the last bit of knotting on this bracelet.  I wanted something in keeping with the nautical theme and for some reason the little pennants came to mind.  The little triangle shapes I ended up with seem to mimic that fairly well!

Knotted micro macrame bracelet by Knot Just Macrame with art beads by Suburban Girl Studio.

Did you notice the knotted rope clasp?  My friend Cory Tompkins made that for me just specifically for this piece!  The rest of it is just too special to end it with a boring clasp and when I asked her to come up with something, she made this!  I love it and I paired it with a simple brass hook to secure the bracelet.  

After all that, you know what the best part is?  Not only is this an awesome wrap bracelet, but it makes a pretty legit necklace, too!

Knotted micro macrame necklace in asymmetrical design.

July 22, 2014

Enjoying Summer

summer in the grass

Ahhh...I've been relaxing and destressing and enjoying summer.  And smiling so hard you should be able to hear it.

summer in the grass

summer in the grass

The only thing more magical than summer is summer through the eyes of a child.

childish wonder

July 14, 2014

Falling Leaves: A New Micro Macrame Bracelet Class

Falling Leaves Micro Macrame Bracelet by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

I've been working on this micro macrame pattern for quite a while now, trying to get it just right and I think I finally nailed it.  This design reminds me of leaves falling from the trees in autumn, so I'm calling it (what else?) Falling Leaves Micro Macrame Bracelet.  

  I can imagine this bracelet done in every combination of earthy browns, olive greens, rusty oranges and reds, and pops of Aspen yellow.  You know me, though - I tried to use green and orange and it just didn't feel right.  So here you have, Autumn ala Sherri Stokey :)

The pattern is a fun one.  I used a different way of adding cords than my "usual" (whatever that is!) and a method of gathering and dropping cords to increase and decrease the width of the knotting and form the leaf shape.  The leaves even cup just a little, which I really like.

For the class, I made the version you see above with two solid colors of leaves alternating with striped leaves.  From there it's easy to back down into just the two solid colors alternating:

Falling Leaves knotted macrame bracelets by Sherri Stokey.

Or a single solid color:

Falling Leaves micro macrame bracelet - pattern by Sherri Stokey.

I cover how to make both of those variations in the class also, so you'll have loads of options.  I do show how to tie the knots in the class, but some macrame experience would definitely be preferable.  The class has 6 videos and over 60 still photos with written instructions as well as narration.  Once you purchase the class, you have unlimited access to it, so you can watch it as many times as you like, and you can pause and replay anything you like.  You can also print the handout, which is made up of screenshots of the entire class.  

You will find this class, along with my other online classes, at CraftArtEdu.com.  I know I've said it before, but I haven't chanced my mind - the folks at CraftArtEdu.com are the best.  They have a money back guarantee.  If you aren't satisfied, they will give you your money back.  Period.  If you have questions, you will get a response from a real live person.  I'm proud to be associated with them.  

To celebrate my new class, the fine folks over there have an introductory price through Friday (July 18, 2014).  And just to make it extra special festive, they've put all of my other classes on sale, too - up to 33% off!!!  You can see all of the classes and the prices here.

Variations for Falling Leaves Micro Macrame Bracelet Class by Sherri Stokey.

If you take the class, be sure to stop back by and let me know how you liked it!

July 9, 2014


Summer fun.

Nothing beats summertime in my book, except maybe family time in the summertime!  My grandson, Carter, is 18 months now and just the right age for exploring all the good things that go along with the warm weather.  This is his father teaching him how to use the sprayer, and in case you don't figure it out from the angle of this photo, I was the target.

 He also likes to go swimming in his little pool.

At the pool.

It's even more fun when his best friend goes in the pool with him.


So in case anyone misses me or I'm a day or two late on a project, just know I'm off enjoying the good things in life!  His laughter makes my heart swell.

July 3, 2014

A Walk on the Beach: My Micro Macrame Vacation

Beach and ocean themed micro macrame wrap bracelet by Sherri Stokey.

An island vacation isn't in the cards for me this year, but a girl can dream.  My dreams tend to manifest in my micro macrame jewelry pieces even when I don't specifically set out to design that way.  I choose components that appeal to me (these are by Heather Powers of Humblebeads) and colors to suit my mood and before I know it, I'm meandering down a sandy beach in a place where soft waves lap at the shore...

I spy a few starfish and a crab skitters across my path as the palms sway gently in the breeze.

Are you there with me?  Can you feel the warm sun on your face?

Starfish beach themed micro macrame wrap bracelet by Knot Just Macrame.

Starfish beach themed knotted micro macrame wrap bracelet by Knot Just Macrame.

I had fun with this micro macrame wrap bracelet, experimenting with some different knotting techniques.  I used two different colors in the half knot sinnet in the center and worked on perfecting the leafy, shell-like pattern I've been playing with at the top.  I'm still working on making smooth knotted curves in the bottom piece, but I'm getting better.  And I didn't set out to make these earrings matchy match, but things happen...

Starfish micro macrame earrings.

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