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How To Make Crazy Crystal's Hemp Necklaces
I love to make hemp necklaces. I have created many different patterns that I use on a regular basis. I found the original pattern by buying one of those previously made sets from a craft store. That gave me what I call the basic knot work pattern. I use this as well as the basic braid and the fishtail braid to make my necklaces. However, I have been researching other knots and braids to use as well. Most the necklaces I make, I give away to friends and family members. I used to make my twins a new necklace every year. Then they got too big and didn’t want them anymore. My older kids still like them though. The patterns can change in length, difficulty, and because of the beads you add. The beads are what interest me the most. I love going to the stores or the bead shops and looking at all the different shapes and patterns and then thinking about how they would best fit together in an awesome hemp necklace. I love a large centerpiece with smaller bead work throughout. I also like to use at least three bead patterns or colors. The hemp is a different story though. I only like to use the light colored basic hemp. This is because I find it is stronger than any of the hemp with coloring. The dark brown hemp has proven to fall apart after about a year or so of constant wear. Still pretty good odds but not perfect. The necklaces made of just light colored hemp will last until you cut, chew on, or grow out of it. The way the beads are put on contribute the weakness in the hemp, so I like to use bead I can put two hemp strings through the center of for better strength. The picture is of the first hemp necklace in a basic pattern. The infinity necklace. This one is quick and easy to do. The first one may take hours, maybe even days to complete but once your brain locks onto the pattern you will be able to do one in about 45 minutes.
I have found that the best way to start is to use six strings that measure from the tip of your fingers on one hand to the tip on the other hand spread out across your body. For a normal sized person this will make a normal sized necklace. If you make it larger it will increase the length from choker to chest length. You can tell how big the necklace will be if you fold the string in half and wrap it around your neck and then pull it about 3 inches. I also make necklaces out of just four strings but they do not last as long. If you want to do different colors it is best to do 3 strings of each. If I want to use dark brown contrast but not have it weaken the pattern I only do two stings of it. That is the way I will demonstrate it for this purpose. Take all six strings and knot them together. For quicker workings I take a safety pin and put it through the original knot and pin it to the bed/couch or my pant leg. Then Pick two strings to be in the middle for best strength. Otherwise, you can pick just two strings to be the knot work. You can also switch back and forth. I will be using two strings in the middle and two on the outside with the dark brown in the middle. Take the left side and bring it to the middle in front of the two middle strings. Then put the right string over the top of the left one then behind the dark brown one. Then up and through the loop of the left string, and pull through and pull tight. Some people count knots, I go by inches. So now you would continue those two knots for about an inch. This is where I would put my first bead for a long necklace about an inch to two inches from the clasp area. For a necklace that will be for a child or a choker I would go about three or four inches before placing a bead.
PLACING THE BEAD
Now comes the fun part, picking and placing the bead work. You can have a simple one color bead style or a centerpiece necklace. You could also go all out and use as many beads as will fit. This is where I normally change colors or the type of knot work, depending on what I am doing. It is easier to hide the bulkiness of a color changed with beads. If you want the bead in the middle of the pattern like the picture put it on the two middle strings. If you would rather it was off to the side use one of the side strings. After trying a few things you will find what is right for your pattern. Now, since you have been tying knots left string in front, you would switch and put the right string in front but only one time. Then tie the next knots forward with the left over the right. Tying one knot the opposite way helps to keep the bead secure and the string from twisting oddly where there is a bead.
THE LADDER KNOT
Start like you would for the basic knot with six or four strings. Now take the right side and bring it to the middle in front of the two middle strings. You are doing the opposite of what we just did to form the spiral pattern seen here. Then put the left string over the top of the right one and then also behind the dark ones. Then pull up and through the loop of the right string and pull through and tight. Take the left side and bring it to the middle in front of the two middle strings. Then put the right string over the top of the left one then behind the dark brown one. Then up and through the loop of the left string, and pull through and pull tight. So you alternate going in front with left then right to make what I think looks like a ladder pattern. It is a bit thicker looking but sturdy.
The clasp is completely optional in a hemp necklace. These are made to be durable and worn constantly until they break hopefully 2 or 3 years down the line. Most hemp necklaces have a long bit of string on each end for you to set the length you like best and then tie it off and leave it on. I do this with most the necklaces I make. However, there are certain styles of necklace that look better or work better with a clasp. I have made several of these for my daughters since they like to change jewelry more than once every two years. The clasp is easy to do just find the right length for your necklace and tie the open end clasp to one end and the circle or stick for the clasp on the other end. Cut off any excess string.
To change the color while putting on the bead you first cross two of your strings, putting what is my dark brown string on the outside and visible. This gives a checkered or striped appearance to the basic pattern. It gives the ladder pattern a solid brown middle. When I change colors by the bead I first make an opposite knot example: if I was trying right to left I change for one knot. Then I place the bead on the color that is going to be in the middle. I do another opposite knot. Then go back to the pattern as usual. I would do the same if changing the pattern as well. One opposite knot then start new pattern. Or put the bead on tie the opposite knot then start new pattern.
For a softer feel the first time you wear the necklace you can soak it in hair conditioner overnight. If it is not going to be worn consistently and washed while you shower you can use regular shampoo and conditioner to wash the hemp necklace. For any other questions you can e-mail me anytime.