Since St. Patrick’s Day just happened, I offer this macramé leather bracelet.
Here in the U.S., St. Patrick’s Day is often viewed as a drinking holiday, and while I have no problem with all that green beer and Irish whiskey, I’ve got a more subtle and crafty way to celebrate.
In honor of St Patrick’s Day, I offer this macramé leather bracelet, which incorporates an important Irish symbol, the Celtic Knot.
There are many interpretations of the Celtic knot, but the main characteristics are loops and crosses. The ‘classic’ Celtic knot has no end — symbolic of infinite love and devotion. The most basic version of the knot is comprised of three points with connected intersecting loops, representing the elements – fire, earth and water.
The knot pre-dates Christianity, but as often occurs, early Church leaders adopted the local folk-emblems and incorporated them into religious lore and symbolism. For example, the ‘endless’ thread is symbolic of God’s eternal love, and the triple Celtic knot, like the shamrock, is often used to refer to the holy trinity.
The Celtic Knot is also referred to as a Double Coin in Chinese knotting, and a Josephine Knot in other macramé forms.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your Celtic Knot Bracelet:
•72” of leather cording – 1.5 to 2mm thick
•Button for clasp — with hole big enough for one width of cord to pass through
•4 to 6 Beads — with hole large enough for 2 widths of cord to pass through (optional)
Find the center of the cord. Thread on the button, tie an overhand knot to hold button in place.
Secure the button-end of the cord in the clip of your clipboard.
Tie the first knot. Here’s how:
Using the cord on the left, form a loop.
Bring the right cord over the top of the loop. Continue with the cord, pulling it under the left-hand cord.
There is a ‘triangle’ space at the top of the two cords. Place the ‘right hand’ cord through that triangle, then thread it under, over, and under the next cords. Pull through. Adjust the knot so the two sides are even and it sits near the overhand knot.
Slide on the first bead, and place it up near the knot.
Tie another Celtic knot, as above. Add another bead, and continue until the bracelet is one inch smaller than you want the finished bracelet to be.
After your final Celtic knot, tie another overhand knot and pull tight.
Measure the diameter of the button clasp, and tie another overhand knot with that distance in mind, thus creating a loop for the button to pass through.
Trim off ends, and you have a finished bracelet!
A few tips:
Buttons with a shank (a sort-of stem) give you a bit more ‘play.’ If you use a traditional button (with holes drilled through the button), make sure you leave some space between the holes and the first knot.
Raw leather cording is a bit easier to work with – the ‘finished’ or ‘polished’ cording is a bit stiffer and takes some getting used to. You can also make this bracelet out of silk cord, cotton twine, hemp or yarn, but I don’t recommend using ‘fuzzy’ cords… the result is messy-looking, and makes it difficult to discern the beauty of the Celtic knot.
The bracelet can also be made with two or three strands of fiber, but be sure that the holes in the button clasp can take the two or three thicknesses of thread. This process takes a lot more time and patience, as the individual threads must be separated when knotting for a smooth, uniform look. But the result is gorgeous!
If you have trouble with the bracelet lying flat, pin the unruly loops to a surface and let the bracelet sit overnight. Think of it like blocking your wool sweater after washing. (Both my work and I enjoy a little acupuncture!)
For a more masculine look, eliminate the beads and tie knots close together. I found that when making this bracelet with the knots against each other, it’s best to reverse the knot-tying direction, so that you eliminate twisting of the bracelet. For pictures on how to tie the knot in reverse, click here.
“Erin go Bragh” and enjoy the holiday, whether you’re truly Irish, or merely Irish for a day.
Watch my video about this.
by: Tamara Berg @tamaraberg www.tamaracentral.com