Stretchy Cord Bracelet
Stretchy beaded bracelets are a fun and creative project for all ages*. You can make your own stretchy bracelet in 12 easy steps. The best beads to use are those with holes large enough to fit over the cord and ones with smooth edges (so they don’t accidentally cut into the cord). But any type of bead material can work: glass, acrylic, wood, clay, etc. You can even mix and match!
What you’ll need:
•Stretchy cord (I used .5mm Darice brand clear cord)
•Beads (with holes large enough for cord)
•Aluminum foil (small sheet)
•Water-proof Glue (I used Insta-Flex**, but jeweler’s glue should work as well)
*Use of glue requires adult supervision
1. Measure and cut 9 inches of stretchy cord from the spool.
2. Pre-stretch the cord by grabbing both ends and pulling away from the center—gently! (You aren’t trying to snap it, just condition it). Hold for a couple seconds, then release and allow the cord to bounce back into shape.
3. Place sticky tape one end of the cord to keep your beads from falling off as you string.
4. String your beads in any order you wish. Be creative. Mix and match different bead colors, textures and sizes for a unique bracelet that only you can create.
5. String beads until you have approximately 6 inches on the cord. Then, holding the open end of the cord securely, wrap the bracelet around your wrist to check for size. The bracelet should touch your wrist, but not be so tight that you feel like you’re wearing an elastic band. If any of the beads push uncomfortably into your skin or leave marks, it’s too tight. Likewise, if the bracelet slips down onto your hand, it’s too lose.
6. Adjust the amount of beads on the cord until the bracelet fits your wrist the way you want.
7. Grab both ends of the cord, hold them up even with one another (one end in each hand works best) and allow the beads to slip down into the center of the cord (think of it as a horseshoe).
8. Wrap one end of the cord over the other and secure with a Surgeon’s Knot close to the beads, but allow a little “wiggle room” between the beads so they don’t rub harshly against one another. Use either of these links here to view a tutorial if you aren’t familiar with this style of knot.
9. Try the bracelet on your hand again to verify it’s the correct size.
10. Pull the ends of the cord coming from the knot once more to tighten it securely.
11. Place the bracelet on a sheet of aluminum foil (serves as a spill mat) and apply a TINY drop of glue onto the surgeon’s knot. (Please see NOTE below about how to apply Insta-Flex or similar “runny” glues.).
**Note about glue: Insta-Flex is basically superglue. Instantly bonds skin in addition to all sorts of other things. Children should never use this product unsupervised. Also, the glue is VERY runny. It’s like water. Do not attempt to apply it directly from the bottle! Instead, place a small amount of glue on a piece of tin foil and use a toothpick to grab some and dab it on the knot. You may have to do this multiple times, but trust me, it’s a lot better than accidentally spilling the glue all over your beads. (Says the person who made this mistake ONCE )
12. Leave the bracelet alone for 12-24 hours to allow the glue to fully set. Resist the temptation to check your bracelet before at least 12 hours have passed. After glue is dry, trim the ends of the cord near the knot. Your bracelet is now ready to wear. Enjoy!
Why I Love Socks
A knitted sock cuff on double pointed needles
I love the idea of making socks because they are so practical. No matter what time of year it is, you can always use socks. Socks also let you experiment with color and I love playing with different colored yarns or watching the pattern in a variegated yarn emerge as I complete more and more rows.
I made my first (and so far only) pair of socks last year and was so proud of myself when they were finished, not just because they fit and looked so pretty, but also because they were my first project with double pointed needles. I’d always looked at double pointed needles with a bit of trepidation. It was hard enough keeping stitches on regular needles, but now these? With no ends? And four needles at once??? It was enough to make a person run back to their safe little crochet hook that only holds one stitch at a time.
But you know what? The more I worked with the double pointed needles, and the more I looked at how my sock was progressing like magic from the center of this unfamiliar framework, I started to grow quite fond of the double pointed needles. So much so that after the socks were done, I went looking for more DP projects and made a few hats as well.
I think one of the things that helped me appreciate the usefulness of the double pointed needles was the type of needles I chose to use. Instead of the slippery plastic or metal, which I did try at first and found myself dropping them all over the floor, I went with wood. Soft, silky bamboo. The bamboo needles held my stitches secure and they felt sooooooo good in my hands, I didn’t want to put them down. That’s one sure way to finish a project in record time!
So, why haven’t I made another pair of socks in a whole year? Well, I attribute it to the lonely sock syndrome. The downside of making socks is it’s a pair, which forces you to make one and then another. Usually by the time the first sock is finished you’re itching to work on something new, and the idea of starting up a duplicate of something you just finished makes you walk the other way every time you see your knitting bag. Or maybe it’s just me. I’ve never liked “assembly line crafting.” I tend to be more of a one-of-a-kind creator and quickly move on to another project. So making socks was new to me, and I had to persevere through that second sock so they would be DONE. And like I said, it did help that I fell in love with the bamboo needles and my yarn.
But if you’re like me and dread that second sock, there is another way to make a pair of socks. It’s the two-socks-at-once method that uses two circular needles. Learning this method is on my 2012 knitting to-do list. Wish me luck! If you try it before me (and you probably will), let me know how it works out for you.