Friday, March 9, 2012

"Knot" Just For Fun!

Me, getting my samples together for class!

Today was my first friendship bracelet class with the kids! Now some of you may be wondering what could you possibly learn from friendship bracelets, and how hard could it be?... Well if you have ever tried to make one and were remotely successful at making it look awesome, then you know just how complicated it really is. I'm not just talking about your typical candy stripe pattern either, although that one can be hard enough if you are just starting out. If you have ever tried to read a pattern and make a complex one you would see that it really truly is a skill. In fact, many surgeons are skilled bracelet makers, completing bracelets as a knot exercise for surgery!!! Knotting bracelets not only allows people to create art that is wearable and relevant to their lives, but also teaches about color theory, patterns, organization, precision, following directions, puzzles, and motor skills! And it's totally fun!

The art form is a type of macramé that originated from Central and South America. When someone makes a bracelet for you, you are supposed to make a wish and wear the bracelet until it breaks and falls off naturally. When that happens your wish will come true! You wear the bracelet as a symbol of friendship and to show appreciation for your friend's thoughtfulness and hard work. When you make a bracelet you should pick colors that are meaningful to you or the person you are making it for. This makes the bracelet even more personal and significant.  Speaking of personal and significant, in researching for this class I came across this heartwarming site.  Not only can you find adorable patterns on here as well as other materials and inspirations for bracelets, but there is a special section for kids called Kids' Causes.  I took a particular interest in this site for my students to check out because the company creates a pattern for kids to follow to make the special bracelets that show support for different causes.  Then the kids can donate the bracelet and it is given to another child who suffers from or has a relative who suffers from that hardship, whether it is breast cancer, kids with a parent in the military, or juvenile diabetes.  Along with the popular anti-bullying movement in the country, this act of kindness helps show kids that they are not alone in their struggles.

Here are some that I've made and brought to show my class as samples. The kids were frustrated at first, but once they got the hang of how to measure the embroidery floss, start it, and learn the knots, they were on a roll! A trick to making a good bracelet is in the setup. I've tried everything from safety pinning the bracelet to my pants, to wrapping the end around hooks, drawer knobs, and even my toe. Anything to get it to stay still and strong enough for me to pull the knots tight! What a dilemma! Well the secret is to use a clipboard! Clip your bracelet on the board and it will hold your bracelet steady for you and you can take it anywhere (and keep your shoes on, which, in public, outside of summer camp, is actually preferred). Go get some string and get knotting! I hope all of your wishes come true. :)

Here are some of my favorites!  I especially love these smaller ones.  (Oops!   The second one looks like it got flipped around!  Well, now you know what the back looks like.)

If you want to see all of the samples I chose, Read More!!!  (They're pretty cool, you'll want to see!)

Here are all of the samples I chose to bring.
Creating bracelets with pictures or words can be tricky, but I made the patterns myself and I think they turned out pretty awesome!  The top one is a picture of Hello Kitty and it says Nikki underneath with a checkerboard pattern.  The one below it says Love & Music with a heart on one side and music notes on the other.

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