I don't usually suffer from a crisis of confidence when I am learning a new skill. I have taken all sorts of classes in all sorts of medium and I usually pick things up relatively quickly. This can, of course, be a problem. Like when I learned to rivet with Tracy Stanley. I did it right the first time and then I was unable to figure out why it went so horribly wrong when I came home to try it. Because I never struggled I never learned how to fix it. To this day it is a miracle if I can get a rivet to go the way it is supposed to go.
Carmi Cimicata of Resin Crafts asked me to play along on a new adventure with her: Chinese knots. Using a special polyester cord that we were provided and an instruction booklet by Fernando DaSilva, a group of us were challenged to learn how to make knots and showcase them.
I, of course, wait until the absolute last minute. The ballpark this past weekend was not conducive to using silky fibers. Baseball (and softball) and beading don't seem to mesh for me. So here it is, the night before the deadline, and I am struggling. I am sure that my procrastination played a role in this!
I had the pleasure of meeting Fernando at the Bead & Button show recently. I came around the corner and there he was! I introduced myself and told him that I had been on a previous hop with the Instant Glam line of jewelry components. He actually said that he was very impressed with my project because I was the only one that didn't make jewelry. I made it into an ornament and used polymer clay. I told him that I would be working with the knots and I got to see all the projects from the book up close. They looked deceptively easy, so of course that made me a little too sure of myself.
So I had this idea to do a necklace with a fringe of leaves and the knots as spacers. I picked out what I felt looked like a pretty simple knot to master. After all, it is listed as the most popular Chinese knot.
I only had one color of cord, but there is an alternate style that combines two colors that I would like to try. But I think that I still need more practice. Like a few hundred more knots.
Getting the loops was actually the easy part for me. And the first one seemed to work like a charm. Then I strung on three lucite leaves and then started on the next one. It was when I went to pull the knot tight that things started to (figuratively) unravel. I wanted the knots to be snug to the lucite leaves in between to get that fringe effect. But no matter what I did, the knots would not come out as cleanly as the first. There were always a few extraneous loops that would not tighten up!
Remember those Chinese finger torture things as a kid? The mesh tube that you would put two fingers into and then when you tried to pull them out it would only get tighter and then you were stuck? Yeah. That was what I was experiencing with these knots! Now I totally get the reference to 'tied up in knots'!
For me, the best thing I could do was to put my pinkie finger in the middle of this knot as I gently wiggled it back and forth to get the knot as snug as possible to the leaves while also pulling all the loops in. I am still not sure that I did it right, but I do like the possibility of it.
I am calling this "Berries on the Vine." I found some lightweight vinyl chain that I bought from Yvonne at My Elements in a mottled green color. I just knotted the chain to the cord and then used a match to burn the edges to melt them secure. It is such a light necklace. And I love the combination of hot pink and acid green. Reminds me of every outfit I wore in the 80s. Retro is in, right?
The Lovely Knots cord from Dazzle-It is probably the best stuff. It has a silky feel, is very supple and lightweight, it holds the knots well, but also doesn't get out of shape if you have to rework a knot or two. I will have to give some of the more complex knots a shot when I have a bit more time to experiment.
Thank you, Miss Carmi for issuing this challenge, and thank you Fernando for continuing to push the envelope of your creativity and bringing new products to light!
Stay tuned for a long overdue wrap up of the Bead & Button loot. I think it might be time for a giveaway, too!
Note: I was given the Lovely Knots book and cord by Dazzle-it for review purposes.