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How to Make Hand Tied Embroidery Bracelets
Bracelets like you see in the photo are sometimes called 'friendship bracelets'. They are a series of knots tied with embroidery thread. They can seem time consuming if you aren't a patient crafty person, but anyone should be able to easily figure out how to make these.
Materials for this type of craft are easy to find. Any craft store will carry embroidery thread. You may be able to find it at various discount stores as well. You are looking for the 6-strand embroidery cotton that is commonly used in, well, embroidery, and crafts such as cross stitching as well. It usually only costs about $0.50 for a skein, and comes in a plethora of colors. You might also want to try using yarn, but this will make a bulkier bracelet and might not knot as smoothly.
If you are a beginner, choose 3-4 complementary colors for your first bracelet. If you are experienced, you can experiment with only using two colors, or you might even want to try making a bracelet with only one color, but save that for when you've already made a number of bracelets and are familiar with the process.
Be sure the colors you choose are easy to distinguish, don't choose two reds that you can mix up.
You will also need a safety pin, or straight pin and possibly a pillow, or piece of furniture you can attach the bracelet to while you are working on it. You need to be able to tie tight knots, so you will be pinning the bracelet to either your pants, or a pillow. A soft piece of furniture can work too, such as the arm of a chair, but make sure it's your chair, and that the fabric won't be damaged by the pin.
The skein of thread will come wrapped in little paper wrappers. The end of the thread should be easily visible on one end. If you pull on it, you will be able to stretch out as much as you need without making the entire skein into a mess.
To measure for a bracelet, the easiest method is to hold the end of the thread between your middle fingertips. Stretch the thread from the tips of your fingers to your shoulder and back to your fingers. Cut this first thread. You can measure the other threads by the same method, or just measure them against the first thread. If you are making the bracelet for someone else, be sure to measure them.
Lay all the cut threads side by side with their edges in line. Fold the threads in half to find the center, then tie and overhand knot. This will give you eight strands of thread, and a loop in the middle. Insert your pin through the knot and secure it to whatever you are using to secure the bracelet.
Fan out the threads in pairs. You can put them in whatever order you like, but remember that this first order is how the bracelet will be for its entirety.
The basic stitch is as follows. Take the outermost thread (left or right, whichever is most comfortable for you), and fold it into a triangular pattern. Pass the tail underneath the next thread, then back through the triangle. Pull this tight. Repeat. This is one stitch.
Repeat this stitch on each of the other colors. The first thread will now be in the middle of the fan of threads. Start with the outermost thread on the other side and do the same. When both outer threads have reached the middle, knot one over the other in the same order as you started (i.e. if you started from the left, knot the left thread).
Continue this process with the next color, then the next, and the next. The outside thread will keep moving to the inside, and knots will start to move down the bracelet, forming the arrowhead pattern.
When the bracelet reaches the desired length, or if you are close to running out of thread, stop knotting.
Using the four threads on each side, braid two braids. Since a braid only requires three strands, you will have to double up two colors for the braid. Use the same two colors on both sides. When you reach the end of the threads, tie an overhand knot, then trim the ends neatly. You can now tie these braids through the loop you made at the top at the bracelet when you started.
Embroidery thread is fairly resilient, so you can tie on one of these bracelets and wear it for a long time, even in the shower, or while swimming. The colors will fade, but the threads themselves usually last quite awhile. Cotton yarn should also wear for a long time.
As you get more familiar with the pattern and technique, you can even add small beads to the pattern. Just slip them onto the tail of the thread before you make a knot and they will be knotted right on.