I was looking at the macrame pieces and designs, and got very excited. I used to macrame quite a bit when I was younger, and I love the look for jewelry. The only thing is, I do not like hemp. I know many people who do not like hemp. . .. . in fact, a person asked me if it always "smelled so bad!". Then, I saw the last beadingdaily (or, the last before the last ;-) ). So, I was excited to see the words, "waxed linen". So, I set out to find some. And, after a couple of days online, at our local craft (and other) stores, and checking with my usual jewelry supply company, I couldn't find any. So. Where does one find waxed linen? And what widths do we need? We have a variety of beads, from seed beads to big wooden beads (I prefer the medium to small sizes beads). Is this something that will be very durable, and color fast? My children actually like to "make jewelry" (my 10 yo can actually out do me!), and macrame jewelry looks right up their alley. But, I would like something that 1. doesn't itch, 2. doesn't smell, 3. my children can handle easily, and 4. will be durable and color fast. Waxed linen looks like it would be perfect! Now, I just need to find it! Thank you!
I was looking at plain black and white waxed linen today at Wal Mart. They only had the 1mm size, but that is mostly what I use in my 'knotwork' anyway, whether it is hemp, linen, cotton, or even silk. You can also buy plain cotton and linen cord in a small variety of colors at Wal Mart as well, but you will have to wax it yourself.
I use a good grade of 1mm and 2mm hemp in my stuff that has hemp in it and I have never had anyone complain about itch or smell. Look at the ball of hemp and if it has a lot of frazzes and frizzies on it, don't buy it, it is a very low grade. Look for smooth, even diameter cord when looking for hemp. Trust me a good grade of it neither itches or smells.
You can also use ribbon to knot with beads with bigger holes. You can get ribbon in almost any color in the rainbow these days. I use 1/4" wide slick satinesque finished ribbon for any knotting projects calling for it. Just take the first inch or so of the ribbon and soak it with white glue and work it to a point as it dries and you have an instant needle.
The glue trick also works with hemp, cotton, or linen as long as you have beads with holes big enough to accomidate the cording being used. If you have to 'forcably" pull the cord through the beads, then the holes are too small and you will only cause your cording to frizz and frazz. This is worse with hemp and other natural fibers, but it also happens with your waxed cottons and linens to a lesser extent. This frizzing and frazzing is what causes the so-called itch. It's more of a tickle, but it is highly annoying and I will tear a piece apart and redo it if my cording start acting up. I won't sell or give away anything that I won't wear myself, ya know.
I made my niece and grand niece matching neclaces with their names on them with cotton cord and plastic beads. Just be sure to cut or sand any casting ridges from the beads before knottingthem up. It's easier that way and it gets those little rough spots away from the babies tender skin.
That's about all I got. If you have any further more specific questions, please jusr ask. We all will help as best we can.
I yam wut I yam and dats all wut I yam. ~Popeye~
Dragonfly Jewelry Designs - ArtFire Artisan Studio
Thank you so much! I've done some "ribbon stringing", but I will add your suggestions next time. :-) The times I've done it, the people I gave it to said that the ribbon became too dirty (the sweat and dirt rubbed off thier skin unto the ribbon). Wal-Mart was the first place I looked for the waxed linen. I did not find it there, but found waxed cotton, and got some. Also, will plain old crochet and knitting thread work (mercerized cotton)? Or will that fray? How do you wax your own? It would seem that a whole world of textiles would open up, if you wax your own! :-)
Ribbon will become dirty if worn on an everyday basis. Those are dainty and should be worn just once in awhile when you have to be dressy, but want to rebel a bit too. It will also tatter and fray fairly easily as well if worn daily.
My mom works repairing vaccuum cleaners and sewing machines so I have all kinds of stuff at my disposal as she probably has over $20k in sewing machines alone in her sewing room, plus anything and everything that you could possibly EVER need in relation to sewing in some way. She got me this little plastic holder that has slots in it that a round(aproximately 3/4" diameter and 5/16" thick) chunk of beeswax in it. You SHOULD be able to find them at any sewing center.
You take your length of cord and just pull it SLOWLY down into one of hte grooves inthe plastic cover untilit reaches the bottom, then use another slot if necessary. This coats the cord and scrapes off the majority of the excess at the same time. When youhave used all of the slots inthe holder, take it apart and rotate the beeswax disc 1/8 of a turn and put it back together. Tada! More waxed slots. Just keep doing this until there is nothing left of the wax disc, then just replace it. They are less than a dollar(full retail) where she works, so they are not expensive. She told me that you can get some nicer holders and buy the beeswax discs by the box. They also come with a mold that you put the tiny leftovers in until it's full and you can make new discs from your leftover scraps of discs. Pretty economical if you do a lot of it. You can also get beeswax in blocks and jars. I like the little holders myself but you may like a block better. It's just a matter of personal reference from there.
You can wax hemp as well and make it look 'slicker' but it also darkens it by several shades. You may want to try testing a small piece of any material that you are waxing before you do it all and find out that it turns a color that you don't like. Beeswax is almost yellow. It is translucent but it definitely has a yellow tint that can change the colors of your cord by none, a little or a lot. I tied it on a piece of a very light baby blue and it turned it to a very light pastel green and that was no good for the project at hand. See what I mean? In most cases, it just darkens it a shade or two, but with some of the lighter colors, it can make a dramatic difference, so testing is always a good idea.
You can use the cotton and linen unwaxed but you have to be careful about pulling your cording straight UP through each bead and don't pull sideways as it adds a LOT more friction and friction means wear. Cotton does not last long if worn while swimming in the ocean/river/lake/especially pools or even bathing with it on. Lets face it, it's soft and pretty, but not very strong in and of itself. Linen wears better than cotton in it's unwaxed form, but again, you have to be very careful about the way you pull your cords through the beads, especially if it is multiple cords through the same beads. If they are going the same direction, then try and pull them both straight UP together. If they are going opposite directions, pull one all the way through and keep some tension on the cord. Flip the piece over and pull the other cord straight UP throough the bead. Keeping tension on the first cord gives the second one more room to move as it were.
You are correct about a whole new world of textiles. I try to stick to natural materials in my work as much as possible, but sometimes, there is just something much better that is manmade that just works better. There are nylon cordings in a multitude of colors that you can get now. You can get them as small as 1/8" diameter and up to 15/16" at most boat delerships. People with big fancy sailboats want to decorate them up and make them a little different if you know what I mean. That stuff will last FOREVER and it needs no coatings or special treatment in any way. In fact, the more it is abused, the softer it becomes. It is impervious to water(salt or otherwise), has excellent UV protection and is very soft and flexible. You can get it in solids, stripes, and houndstooth patterns that I know of, possibly others.
Sure, embroidery floss makes an excellent material as well. My baby girl has just started getting into making these 'friendship bracelets' from embroidery floss and while she is a stone cold newbie to knotting, she is not doing bad at all. The smaller diameter crochet yarns should work okay as long as you pull straight UP through any beads. I'm not sure about full sized yarns as I have never tried it, but there is nothing stopping you from giving it a shot. I was looking at skeins of yarn last night at Wally World that were $0.88 each and they had an entire wall of colors. The possiblities are truly endless.
Good luck with all of your ideas, I may try a few of them myself.
I wasn't even thinking about stuff like that when I ade the other reply since you were asking about the cotton stuff specifically, ya know.
Thank you *so* much! This is wonderful information. . . . . . I'm plotting my next trip to Wal-Mart already!
Back in the 70's when macrame was the rage, we made braceletls and necklaces using linen thread that came in different ply; also waxed hemp ropes of various width using beeswax - still readily available in the sewing/craft section of Walmart, JoAnne's Fabric and Crafts, Michael's and A.C. Moore's. Just pull the thread or hemp through the wax - no residue or discoloration from doing so. Also, linen thread can be purchased from finer specialty fabric/sewing shops. Judi - former flower child
I found the most marvelous store for what you are looking for. Its called 'The West' in tucson and it carries needlepoint thread and cording and cross stitch floss and thread in as many colors of the rainbow. They have textured, shimmery, sparkly threads from 1mm wide, which is what I bought, up to any thickness you want. I just went gaga in there looking at all the possibilities for beading!!!!!!
If you look up on google, needlepoint or cross stitch thread, I bet it will take you to a store near to you. I also use the beeswax that Billy suggested and it works real well. I still have mine from high school days so it lasts forever. Good luck with your search Christine.......I've found my nirvanna.......hugs BeBe of tucson
Thank you all so much! :-)