Dan's excellent friendship bracelets worn proudly by her husband Keith (photo by SDB)
A few weeks ago my bff Dan invited us to her shore house at the Jersey Shore for the weekend. As we packed up the usual...food, clothes, beach chair, etc....I packed an extra bin for our "beach activity". I had been seeing everywhere the resurgence of "the friendship bracelet" and I thought what a perfect activity for us to re-learn on the beach while working on our tans. I don't know about you, but I was obsessed with making these bracelets growing up! I would spend all summer making bracelet after bracelet. So I got excited and went and bought the largest collection of embroidery floss I could find at Michael's (I had a 50% coupon, bonus!) and then I proceeded to print out several patterns for us to follow. Now I didn't go and print the basic stripe or chevron that I remembered so fondly from my teens...I thought to myself, we are artists and master crafters, who needs the basics! I am going straight for the expert patterns! I did watch a simple YouTube video that was very informative on the 4 basic knots you need to know. So I figured, if I could teach my partner in crime the basic knots, then we could just follow the patterns and be on our way! Like riding a bike, it would all come back...or so I hoped! So when I got to the beach I was very excited to see that Dan and her sister-in-law-to-be Nicole was also excited to get started on making some friendship bracelets. We all picked our colors and I gave the basic knot making tutorial. Then we all picked out these detailed hearts patterns to follow. This is when I realized I probably should have read up a little bit more on the process. I think my excitement got the best of me and I skipped a few steps. We struggled a bit trying to read the patterns. The more detailed the bracelet, the more advanced the pattern is and naturally the harder it is to make. Not really the "mindless" bracelet making we were looking forward to for our first friendship bracelet on the beach after all those years! While I tried my hardest to stick to the hearts pattern and teach them to Nicole and her friend who also joined us that day, Dan had a flash back to when she was a teenager and actually remembered how to make the basic chevron, or v pattern. She decided to follow her instincts and let the string lead her along. Later that day I figured out how to make the basic stripe pattern as well. I put aside my half started heart bracelet, and started a new bracelet with 12 strings, 3 different colors (4 of each color) for my husband Tom. It took me a while to get in the groove, even with the simplest pattern! I actually took it home and worked on and off at if for a while...but after I sat there and committed to it, I finished and felt a great sense of accomplishment. I actually made it too long and had to go back and take out a few rows to fit it to his wrist! I then moved on to an inverse chevron and chose 2 colors I thought would compliment Tom's first bracelet. Last night I tied them both on his wrist and felt like a giddy school girl all over again. If you are interested in making some of these bracelets I recommend starting out with one of the basics and then moving on to a more advanced one. There are so many fun patterns out there! I found watching the YouTube videos/tutorials people have posted were the most helpful, I guess that comes from being a visual person! Some of the paper patterns I was reading seemed to get very confusing. Hollistergirl101 has a basic chevron and an inverse chevron video that I thought was very easy to follow. For the basic diagonal stripe, check out this page at Friendship-Bracelets. They also have a pattern for any other bracelet you have probably seen!
The bin that started it all
Dan "listening" to the string
Nicole giving a go at the diagonal stripe & using her morning coffee to keep the bracelet in place!
Dan's dog Hope modeling the latest pet fashion! This one was made in her fur/skin colorway!
(photo by SDB)
I took my bracelet with me on the train and used a safety pin to attach it to my bag!
Dan developed a new pattern while teaching the technique to our friend Janine! (photo by SDB)
When I was researching I found that the knot tying technique used to make friendship bracelets is actually a form of macrame. The making of friendship bracelets originated in Central America and was first seen in the US in the early 1970s.
She also discovered GOLD embroidery floss! (photo by SDB)
My first 2 finished bracelets on my husband Tom! According to the tradition, the recipient must wear the bracelet until the cord wears out or naturally falls off to honor the hard work and love his/her friend put into making it.
* a special thanks to Dan (Sweet Dani B) for documenting her friendship bracelet making & letting me share some of her photos with you all here!
Let us know if you too have gotten bit by the "friendship bracelet making bug"!