This tutorial will hopefully help you learn more about making kick-ass friendship bracelets. They're awesome too give away, whether it's to an old friend or a girl you're trying to woo. This particular instructable will cover a fairly advanced way of making the bracelets, but it will be possible to derive easier designs by using only a few of the steps described. Depending on what design you choose and how adapt you get at tying the bracelet, it can take as little as two hours to finish a complete bracelet. It's perfect for when you want something to do during a movie or a set of "Big Bang Theory" episodes.
The total cost of this instructable is minimal. If you need to buy the yarn it'll cost you a handful of dollars depending on the quality of the yarn. I've made several bracelets like this with spare yarn left over from other knitting projects.
Step 1: Materials and Preparation
First of all, this is all the material you'll need. A bit of yarn and a needle or something to fasten the yarn with while working. The width of the bracelet will depend on the amount of strings you decide to use for it. I'll be using four different colors of yarn, resulting in a total of eight strings that is tied together to make this particular bracelet. This will result in a bracelet that is roughly 1.5 cm / 0.5 inches wide. How wide the bracelet is varies a bit from design to design, the best way to find out how wide it'll get is actually to test it. As said above, the needle will be used to pin down the bracelet while you're working. I actually prefer using a safety pin but couldn't find one for this occasion, this ordinary pin will have to do.
This part of the instructable contains the potentially most important part of creating a bracelet like this. If you mess up this part, you'll have troubles along the way. Because of this, it's very important to note that the strings I've cut on this and the following picture are for illustration purposes solely. They would be far to short to make a proper bracelet.
The strings you'll be needing to make a bracelet that fits a normal wrist need to be about 2 m / 6ft 7in. If any of the strings break during the process of tying the bracelet it'll hard to finish it, it's pretty much impossible to lengthen a string when you've started. It'll only look weird. For that exact reason, make sure to check that your yarn looks good before starting, so that it won't snap while you're tying the bracelet.
Fold all four strings in half, they'll be tied to make a loop and also the eight strings you'll be using when tying the bracelet. Make sure that the ends are even, or else you'll be wasting string that you might need when finishing the bracelet.
Use all four strings to tie an overhand loop . Make sure that the loop is small and snug. If you end up doing the same design as I did for this particular bracelet you'll need to be able to put half of the strings through the loop, so it doesn't have to be big at all. Make sure to tie the loop on the middle of the four original strings, or else you'll end up with eight strings of different length.
Use the pin to fasten the loop before starting to work on the bracelet. I usually fasten it in my jeans, while having folded my legs on the sofa while watching the TV. It works perfectly well to attach the loop to a table or such by using tape, but I've found that this method is superior since you need to be able to keep all strings taut.
The last thing you'll do before actually starting to tie the bracelet is set the color order of the bracelet. For this particular design we'll pair the strings through a backslash and a forward slash to create a V-like shape. The white strings will create the first V, the red strings will pair up to make the second V etc. The strings you are currently tying with will come together in the middle, pushing all other strings outward so that you eventually cycle through them all.
Simplified design: It's very much possible to create a bracelet by only using the backslash or by only using the forward slash, that would be a simple design that anyone could cope with. If you want to do this, you should in my opinion go about the sorting a bit differently. When doing this you'll cycle from left to right or vice versa, instead of cycling from the outer edges into the middle. Because of this I'd put the strings in one of the two following orders:
1. White, red, black, beige, white, red, black, beige.
2. White, white, red, red, black, black, beige, beige.
Alternative no 1 will create a relatively wide bracelet with thin stripes. Alternative no 2 will create a bracelet with the same width but with slightly thicker stripes.
When all this is done, you're good to go.
Step 2: Tying the Bracelet, Pt 1
Ok, this is where we'll cover the basic technique used to tie the bracelet. This part is also kinda crucial to nail, but it isn't very hard so I bet you'll be just fine. :)
The bracelet consists of a series of knots. Each of these knots are made by tying two overhand knots . You'll be using one string at a time and tie that around a second string. The string you use to tie will be the string that eventually moves towards the middle of the bracelet. It's very important to keep the passive string, the one you're not tying with, taut. Doing this and tying each of the two overhand knots tightly will ensure that you get a nice and even bracelet. Just make sure to not pull too tightly on the strings or they might snap, you definitely don't want that.
The most important thing to do right in this step is the way in which the overhand knot is tied. You'll want to bring the white string in above the red string from left to right (image note no 1), pull it under the red string (image note no 2) and finally above the red string again (image note no 3) so that it comes out to the right of the red string. Repeat this procedure, once again starting by laying the white string above the right string from left to right.
*** THIS KIND OF KNOT, STARTING FROM YOUR LEFT AND TYING TO THE RIGHT WILL BE CALLED A LEFT HAND KNOT IN THE LATTER PARTS OF THIS INSTRUCTABLE. ***
Once you've used the white string and tied two overhand knots after each other around the red string, they will have switched places. Continue to your right and do the same thing again, use the white string to tie two new overhand knots around the black string. Once you're done with the black string, move on and use the white string to tie two more overhand knots around the left of the two beige strings. When you've used the white string to your left and tied it around all of the remaining three strings on your left hand side you will have completed the backslash part of your first V-shape.
Simplified design: If you're fine with just having simple stripes for your bracelet, you'll only be doing the backslash part. Continue in this manner, using the leftmost string and tying it around all strings in this manner until it ends up on your right side. When this string is on your right side, pick the string that is now on your leftmost side and repeat the procedure. This will create the stripes, one at a time.The thickness of the stripes will depend on which of the two alternatives you picked when arranging the strings. Thin stripes (alt no 1) will consist of only one row tied with the same color before continuing to the next color. Thicker stripes (alt no 2) will consist of two rows after each other with the same color, before switching to the next color.
Tying the forward slash that makes the other half of the V-shape is done in pretty much the same way as the backslash part. The only difference would be that you reverse the pattern, starting from your right instead of your left. Take your right white string, lay it on top of the taut red string (image note 1). Pull it under the red string (image note 2) and out above it (image note 3) facing your left.
*** THIS KIND OF KNOT, STARTING FROM YOUR RIGHT AND TYING TO THE LEFT WILL BE CALLED A RIGHT HAND KNOT IN THE LATTER PARTS OF THIS INSTRUCTABLE. ***
This first video shows me, tying with the white string around the red string. To begin with I tie two left hand knots with the left white string around the left red string. Secondly I tie two right hand knots with the right white string around the right red string.
When you've done both the backslash and the forward slash you'll just need to fuse both parts together into the V-shape. This is done by tying one of the white strings around the other. Which of the two ways you use to tie this knot doesn't matter, as the two strings have the same color.
Once you've finished your first V-shape, you can continue with your second. In my case that would be the red V-shape that can be seen in this pic. If you wanted to, you could make a semi-simple bracelet by just using V-shapes. Just continue in the same manner until you've reached the length you desire.
The first V-shape that you tie usually looks worse than the following, due to it's close proximity to the first overhand loop that you did. Due to this I usually tie four or more V-shapes before starting to do any more advanced patterns, just to make sure that the bracelet is coming along properly before advancing.
This video shows me tying a whole V-shape, starting with the white string to the left, continuing with the white string from the right and then finally fusing the two white strings together to make the V.
More advance patterns you say? Yay, take me along for pt 2!
Step 3: Tying the Bracelet, Pt 2
I've done four V-shapes that will constitute a solid beginning of the bracelet. Now for the fun stuff. This first part of the pattern we're making will consist of two half circles, joined together in the middle of the bracelet. The beige V-shape we did will make the middle part of the pattern, which is constructed as two halves and then fused together when continuing.
Begin by tying the white string twice around the red string and then twice around the black string. Do this the same way as before, by doing a total of four left hand knots. Do not proceed to tie it around the beige string, we'll leave that as it is. When you've done this it should look as it does on the picture, the original order of the strings is kinda messed up but that's fine since we're in the middle of the first part of the advanced pattern.
We're continuing with the red string. Tie two left hand knots with the red string around the taut black string. Don't proceed to tie the red string around the white or beige strings.
When this is done, we're going to do the same thing again but reverse it. Use the red string to tie two right hand knots around the black, so that it ends up on the left side of the black string once again. Continue with the white string, and tie two right hand knots around the black string and then two right hand knots around the white string, completing the white half circle. Finish this half by tying the beige string with the right hand knots around the black string, then around the red string and lastly around the white string. When this is done you should have a shape that is similar to the one in the picture.
Continue to do the same thing on the right side of the bracelet, creating the half circle on the right side as well. When this is done you will have reversed the original order of the strings and also have turned the V-shape upside down. Cool! Fuse these parts together by tying an upside down V-shape using the black strings, starting in the middle and working your way outwards.
Ok, that was the first half of the advanced pattern, let's continue to the second part of it!
Step 4: Tying the Bracelet, Pt 3
Having fused together the last shape with the black upside down V-shape, we'll continue to make the other half of the advanced pattern. This is done pretty much in the same way as with the first half of the pattern, with the big difference that you start in the middle to create a whole circle instead of two half circles. In this picture we'll start that pattern using the red strings.
Tie the red strings from the middle out towards the sides of the bracelet, making an upside down V-shape. Continue to do the same thing with the white strings, but do not tie them around their respective outer red string.
Do the same thing with the beige strings, first tying them together and then tying them around the two black strings. When this is done and the two black strings are in the middle you just need to tie them together using two knots to create the middle knot of the circle.
Continue to finish up the circle, by tying the beige strings around the black strings and finishing the beige circle by tying the beige strings together. Do the same thing with the white strings, tying them around the black strings, the beige strings and then tying them together to finish the white circle. Repeat the same procedure with the red strings, completing the red circle and the second half of the advanced pattern. When this is done we will have reversed the order of the strings once again and returned the normal V-shape so that we can continue with as before with our bracelet.
When this is done, it should look as on this picture.
Step 5: Finishing the Bracelet
The earlier parts of this instructable covers all patterns that I've used to create the following bracelet, mixing them up as I go along.
I usually finish up my bracelets by separating the eight strings into two sets of four strings. By braiding them together I create the finishing touch of the bracelet, the two coarser strings used to tie the bracelet together through the overhand loop we started with.
Yay! Finished bracelet! Give to friend, girl or goat! (Ok, not goat.)