Sunday, June 1, 2014

What I am working on - a sneak preview...

After several false starts, many pieces started and taken apart, materials not working out perfectly - button and beads not matching well enough, I am finally getting closer to finishing designing a new kit.  This process was halted for over a year when life got in the way in a major way. Now things are settling down and there is once again the time and desire to work on new designs. Here is one of the project I am working on. 

It is Turkish Bead Crochet taken to the next step. The concept came to me while experimenting with possibilities - I have not seen nor copied any designs I saw, nor is the concept a traditional approach as far as I know. The kit will include the instructions, the beads, buttons and the cord as well as recommendations for the best crochet hooks and tools for the project.  

I am just waiting for a few additional beads to arrive to make the final prototypes, then I will choose the best pieces and they will be made into kits.

Hints, the kits will have a fair amount of metallic beads & buttons. 

Shambhala Bracelet with Chinese Knotting Cord in Fluo Mix

Neon colors and fluorescent mix are not usually my cup of tea, but I was interested in seeing how the Fluo Mix would do when tying square knot sennits, then got interested in what the result would be for a shambhala type bracelet. 

Here are the results:

The left square knot sennit was made with 1mm Weight with a 1 cord core or center. The square knots are 7mm wide. 

The next sennit was made with the HDQ Weight with a 1 cord core or center. The square knots are 8mm wide. 

The bracelet on the left was made with the 1mm Weight. 

I made this bracelet to fit my wrist, wore it around the house and found it to be a fun accessory. My husband saw it and wanted his own... thus the two bracelet, His & Hers... He even named the bracelet His & Hers Surf Shambhala Bracelet.

The bracelet on the right was made with the HDQ Chinese Knotting Cord and a center slide closure as he wanted the adjustment beads to be close to his wrist. 

The bracelet on the left was made with a side closure and longer hanging beads. 

Want to make your own? Get a kit, the material or just the cord. 

Broken Kitchenaid Mixer... Repair or replacement?

This subject is a bit off topic, but it is often a subject I think about often when designing jewelry. Will it be a piece that can be repaired or will it have to be redone completely when something break? 

My stand-up Kitchenaid mixer had been leaking oil and right before Christmas it finally gave up completely and stop mid-mixing my cookie dough. I looked for someone, a shop, a repair person to fix it, but come up empty. Then I searched online for possibilities and found an online tutorial on how to fix it. It took me several month to finally get the courage to take the machine apart. Other than having to deal with the rotten grease, it was fairly easy.

And just as in the video, one of the gear - designed to fail - had failed. 

Then next I cleaned up the machine the best I could with old rags, Q-tips. Laid everything as neatly as I could so I could find all the parts again and placed an order online for the replacement parts: the gear, gasket and new grease - this time food quality grease, hoping it would smell better, which it did - thank you. 

Once all the parts arrived, it was time to put everything together. My brother-in-law's advice: if any part is left on the counter (the washing machine) when you put it back together, take it apart again... Ha, ha, ha... He must have ESP. The only problem I run into putting together was the five screws right under the motor. One screw out of 5 would not fit. After switching them around, switching the order I put them in, just placing them carefully in place and only giving the one turn each, one screw still would not get in, regardless of what I did. I gave up, put in 4 screws out of five and yes I was left with a part on my counter, one screw. 

Next come the ultimate test, did it all work - even with a missing screw? Yay - It works, I have a working machine again! 

To celebrate I made a traditional Swiss flourless carrot cake for a gluten-free guest. Let me know if you would like the recipe. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

PANACHÉ RIBBON - Variegated Hand Dyed Knitted Rayon Ribbon

Occasionally I walk on the wild side... Last year I fell in love with this knit ribbon. Last summer I designed the Bead Cluster Kumihimo Kit. Now this variegated knit ribbon is available as Mini-Skeins in 12 color ways.

Magnetic, Toggle & Spiral clasps in 3.2mm diameter are perfect fit for 8-strand round braids made with this ribbon. Go to Silver and Gold Tone Findings to see these clasps.

Storing C-Lon Bead Cord

How do you store your C-Lon Bead Cords? As more colors are made it becomes more challenging. Here is some of my organization or lack of it with before and after shots...


After - All 104 Colors of C-Lon Bead Cord on 2 Wooden Racks

This spinning cord holder holds the spools I am currently working with. Once I am done them, I return them to the hanging rack to their original spaces. It follows, mostly the color chart I have on the web. I bought this spinning
thread holder from Mingo and Asho at a show. It is available on their ebay store.
Now I have to try to figure out what to do with all my Vintage Cords...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Micro Macrame - The Latin American Version

ARUMI design by Martin and Ugne from Spain or
While Macrame got its latest renewal as Micro Macrame in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia, another macrame revival has been taking place in Latin America.

The re-emergence of Macrame has been centered around jewelry, renamed Micro Macrame for short and mostly features knotted cords with beads or gemstones. DIY books have been published by artists and authors such as Joan Babcock, Kris Buchanan, Sherry Haab, Anika DeGroot and Marie Le Sueur. Websites such as Macrame Collective have been showing Macrame as an art form. The availability of materials to work with has been a major factor. You need cord. In 2005, I had difficulties finding bonded nylon in a wide range of colors for myself and my students, so when I discovered C-Lon, I decided to promote them.

At the time C-Lon made 24 colors of C-Lon Bead Cord and the C-Lon Bead Thread Size D and AA collections. Marion Jewels in Fiber, my supply website, was born in January 2006. Over the years I have helped C-Lon expand their collection and now they have 4 sizes of cords, with 72 colors of C-Lon Bead Cord Tex 400, 104 colors of the standard C-Lon Bead Cord, 24 colors of C-Lon Fine Weight Tex 135 Cord, and 32 colors of C-Lon Micro Cord. C-Lon is planning to add 16 additional colors of the Fine Weight Tex 135 cord in 2013. They added 24 colors of Tex 400 last year, so they keep expanding!

In the meantime, another macrame revolution has been taking place in Latin America centered around Settanyl and Linhasita, two brands of Brazilian waxed polyester cord. These cords have been difficult to find until recently when started importing Settanyl. After sourcing Linhasita a number of years ago, I had considered importing it from Brazil, but I was already busy enough and running out of room to store cords, plus I found that I am allergic to the wax coating, so that idea was nixed. So it is great that someone else has taken the baton.

The work featured on this page is made with waxed polyester cord, artist names are listed.

Nicole Medema

Percy Palomino Tomayquispe

Teleisthai Macrame

Merlina Textile
Here is fun sculptural piece made with this waxed polyester cord by Merlina Textile. was founded by Dawn Standera of Macrame Collective and Karen Forbes. Both Macrame artists were frustrated by the lack of availability of this type of cord, so they decided to venture into providing this cord for knotters, Macrame artists or anyone wanting to experiment with this cord. KnotMore carries 75 colors of Settanyl, a 1mm 2-ply waxed polyester from Brazil. The spools have 175 yards, so plenty of yardage for projects such jewelry, knotted sculptures, and basketry.

More : Read about comparisons between the Settanyl Brazilian Polyester cord and C-Lon Tex 400 Bead Cord at

Comparison between Settanyl Brazilian Waxed Polyester and C-Lon Bead Cord

Dawn Standera

What's the differences between Settanyl Brazilian Waxed Polyester and C-Lon Bead Cord?

Nylon versus Polyester
Nylon is made out of continuous filament fibers. It imitates filament silk. Polyester is made of shorter fibers, spun together the same way as cotton and linen. 

2 Ply versus 3 Ply
C-Lon is a 3-ply cord. Sattanyl is a 2-ply cord. 3 ply construction makes a rounder cord. 2-ply construction makes a cord that can be more easily flattened. 

Bond versus Wax Coating
Bond is coat applied to the cord after it has been extruded, spun and plied. It is similar to a resin that's applied, then dried in an oven. Tack is applied and the cord is wound on spools. Bond whitens over time and sometimes when exposed to changes of temperature or heavy handling. Rubbing alcohol on the cord surface restores the transparency of the bond. Wax is applied after the cord has been plied. Wax, over time with wear, can get removed, leaving the cord more susceptible to wear and tear. 

The Settanyl Brazilian Waxed Polyester is about 1mm in diameter, just a tad thicker than C-Lon Tex 400 Bead Cord, the heavier cord of C-Lon. 

Wash & Wear
Both types of cord can be washed. Both will most likely fade with long exposure to sunlight. 

Learning Curve
Bonded nylon is a bit harder to knot, but easier to unknot when a mistake has been done. Waxed polyester is easier to knot as the first half of the knot holds itself better as the wax creates a form of adhesion. Unknotting waxed fiber is harder, especially without damaging the appearance of the cord. 

Personal Preferences
In the end it is all about personal preferences. Many types of knotting lend themselves to waxed fibers. Some artists, experts and beginners alike, will love the availability of this cord.

My recommendation 
Personally I would get a few spools to test if I could. I would try out this cord for textile object' d'art or fiber sculptures if I went it that direction. I may even try it for jewelry. Unfortunately, I have a major skin sensitivity to the wax coating, so even if my hands could touch the cord without problems, I may turn around and rub my eyes with fingers with wax, and end up with contact dermatitis around my eyes. But since most likely that's just my problem, yes, get a few spools to play around and experiment!

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