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Creative Glass Art by Jeannie Cox

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hemptastic Work! How To, Step by Step

I have been working again on an old craft which I first started 30+ years ago.  Making hemp jewelry and key chains, but this time I am using my own lampwork beads to dress up and accent the wonderful weaves of the hemp thread.  It's a fun project to do and you also end up with beautiful jewelry and other functional pieces, like key chains, book marks, chain pulls, etc.
I hope you enjoy this mini-tutorial on how to weave a hemp key chain!
Materials Needed - 2 strings of 2 foot long 1mm hemp, one key ring, one smaller split ring, lampwork bead or beads of your choice, 2 paper clip holders (doesn't matter what size) and one clipboard, stiff board or book cover (like I am using).

Take the 2 cords, line up the ends and fold over about one-third of the hemp so that one side is about twice as long as the other.

Take the hemp at the fold you made and loop that thru the small split ring.  Feed all the hemp ends thru and pull tightly to made a secure knot against the ring.
Secure the 2 shorter strings to your clipboard, stiff cardboard or book cover like I did here.  If you have a clipboard, you can use the clip on the top to secure your ring, then a paper clip at the bottom.  We will be weaving the 2 loose, longer strings around the center, clipped strings.
Make a number four (4) with the left string with the string laying over your clipped-down, center strings.

Take your right string and lay it down over end of the 4, loop it under the clipped center strings and back out the left side of the 4.  This is basically just like tying your shoes, but looping the center strings up in the process.
Pull the knot tight and to the top of your piece at the ring.
Keep making the number 4 loops, pulling tight and trying to use the same tension on each knot to keep them nice and consistent.  Making these number 4's over and over will make the hemp spiral around the center , a neat looking effect!  Note: when the knots loop around the spiral far enough to twist your free strings to opposite sides than you are working, just pull the strings out to the side it wants to go and continue making your "number 4 knots". 
Now, if you make a backwards number 4 knot after your forward 4, that is a square knot.  It is made the same exact way except from the opposite direction.
Making a square knot - - forward 4, then backwards 4, over and over, will make your piece stay straight instead of spiraling around the center strings.  You can mix your spirals and straight sections to create unique patterns in your jewelry.
Adding a bead is easy.  Just unclip the bottom of your center strings and feed the bead through those 2 strings.  You of course will need a bead with a large enough hole to feed the strings through.  After pushing the bead up to the knots previously made, continue knotting under the bead, just as you were before.  Try to keep the strings tight around the bead.  You can string one bead, or many, it's all up to you!
After knotting a few more number 4's, it is time to finish off the key chain.  Detach your piece from your clipboard or hardboard and gather all your strings into one.  Make a loop with all 4 and make a simple loop knot at the bottom, feeding all four strings thru a loop.
Pull and hold the knotted strands as close as possible to your last 4 knot your made and one by one, pull each string to tighten the finishing knot as tightly as possible.  I usually make the rounds with each string 2 or 3 times to make sure it's nice and snug.
Trim your ends of string even and add the key ring at the top and you're done!
I like to unfurl the 4 dangling cords - this helps the knot stay better and also looks better in my opinion,
What is also great about these is they are very versatile.  I use that small split ring because the hemp will get stuck on the key ring ends if you try and put a key directly on it and have to rotate the hemp around the ring.  But also, that little ring also makes it easy to remove from the key ring and put it on a necklace, use it as a chain pull, put it on a bookmark, etc.

Please drop me a comment and let me know if you have any questions or if you liked this mini-tut.
I am also planning on posting a few more pics with different knots and bead designs in the near future - - just waiting on my new hemp supply!

1 comment:

  1. These are awesome!! I have not worked with hemp, but it looks fun!