Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Although not a "professional" and certainly not professionally trained, I do consider myself an artist (of sorts). Blame it on the genes: the grandmothers knitted and crocheted, mom does all sorts of craftwork, dad was a model maker par excellence and very handy at cabinetry among many other things. I go a bit stir crazy if I can't make something every now and then. (I believe this is just plain human genetics, and is expressed in many ways: music, art, dance, writing, even computer programming. And blogging...) My creativity can, and does, take many forms; generally, it mixes the decorative and the practical. It can be as simple as wrestling a (really heavy!) log that washed into our marsh during a winter storm into the yard to use as a birdbath stand—bah, too plain, so of course I decorated it a bit.

If you were ever a scout or went to the beach for vacation and came home with a rope bracelet shrunk to your wrist, you probably recognize the rope-work even if you don't know what it is: Turks Head. It looks like the typical braid that most people know how to do, but instead of having definite ends it is circular (flat or tubular) and is made up of one continuous line instead of individual strands. Its basic form, the so-called sailor's bracelet or kerchief slide—three strands with however many repeats—is actually relatively easy to tie once you get the hang of it. The strands can also be multiplied as with a regular braid (say, four strands instead of three) but as with a multiple-strand braid, it becomes more tedious to keep track of the knot the more "strands" you add. I'm sure there's a mathematical principle involved somewhere, but suffice it to say that even complicated turks heads can be tied very straightforwardly by following a ridiculously simple grid. Cheating, perhaps? But in defense of having a guide to follow instead of tying free-hand, it still takes time to clean up the knot once you have its basic structure laid out.

Note that this knot is actually five strands, repeated three times for each strand. Hmm, I think I need a couple of more hanks of rope and a wider pattern, perhaps double the strands and two colors…

*bwa-ha-ha-ha* Crafting is also a really good way of procrastinating on other, more important stuff (like desperately needed housework, which I would normally enjoy if I weren't so bloody far behind in it). I'm very one-track when creating, which is why I haven't been able to juggle a real job (read "paid benefits") with an attempt at making the crafting pay off in monetary ways. Some day!

An eight strand knot (technically 8 "leads"); sailor bracelet gone mad...