cord obsessions ...

Okay, it's probably not a surprise to anyone that I'm obsessed with cord and fibers ... plying and braiding and knotting, silk and linen and nylon, but bamboo, not so much ... too fuzzy.  Through the years I've run the gamut from traditional knotting on silk to assembling complex confections on linen and, most recently, nylon.  This past weekend, I got a request from an online friend asking what kind of cord I use, so I thought I'd share a bit of my cording adventures and experiments.

I used Gudebrod silk for years and years.  Then they went out of business and I went into a panic, buying up every bit of it (mostly on eBay) I could get my hands on.  Of course, the inevitable happened and I ran out of the colors I used most.  After spending a small fortune trying out every kind of thread and cord I could get my hands on, ultimately it's come down to durability.  As much as I love silk, it just wears out much too fast, which leads to repairs, which I've always done for free.  Granted, plying multiple strands of silk slows down the process a bit, but it's still an issue.  So these days I mostly use this nylon cord from Marion Jewels & Fiber. 

a selected portion of my vast collection of fiber experiments ... failures as well as successes

a selected portion of my vast collection of fiber experiments ... failures as well as successes

I often wish I'd land on the one perfect thing and just bloody well stick with it.  Thing is, I don't think it's in my nature.  I'm always trying new things, experimenting, learning and expanding.  I was doing pretty well for a while, but since I started working on my new Bare Bones series, I've found myself revisiting some past experiments ... and as of yesterday, re-learning how to do multiple loop braided cords. 

I started off hunting for a favorite YouTube video tutorial on 5 loop braids.  It took a while, but I finally found it.  This guy has it down ... short and to the point without a lot of superfluous details or painful slow motion demos.  Lord mercy, there are some really horrible videos out there!  Anyway, I started out thinking I wanted the 5 loop braid, but I wanted to use the nylon cord and it ended up being too fat. 

Also, the 5 loops braids I'd done were flat.  I knew it was possible to make them more round, but didn't have the energy to watch a bunch more videos.  So I switched to 3 loops and started playing around with the process.  I'm very pleased to report I figured it out all on my own.  

initial efforts and prototypes for 3 loop braided cords

initial efforts and prototypes for 3 loop braided cords

In designing this new piece, there are some logistical issues to address ... like I want a low profile where the cord attaches to the silver link.  So I'm running the thread through the link and braiding it from there and knotting it at the base ... I like that this shows that the cord is hand-made and an integral part of the piece.

Just for fun, here's a short video of me braiding the new 3 loop cord.

I'm getting a lot of inspiration from tribal ornament and stacks of amulets and talismans.  To that end, you might notice the background music and desktop image ... my Oumou Sangare Pandora station and an image of artist Rikki Cooper's most excellent necklace stacks that I found on Pinterest. 

So this is where I am today ... figuring things out ... R & D at Studio KVK. 

I'm pretty excited to be planning a trip to Orlando on Friday to hit up the Gem & Lapidary Wholesale show.  I haven't gone since we've been in Florida.  And, for now, I'm giving the wholesale collections a rest.  I seem to have this tribal thing going on, so I'll be hunting for singular and seriously interesting elements. 

Stay tuned ... there will be treasure to share!

with deep gratitude - kvk