To commemorate St Patrick’s day, here’s a project that incorporates an important Irish symbol – the Celtic Knot. This bracelet is macramé, and uses one of the most popular types of “Celtic knots” (it’s called a Double Coin in Chinese knotting, and a Josephine knot in other macramé).
There are many interpretations of the Celtic knot, which is characterized by loops and crosses. The ‘classic’ Celtic knot has no end — symbolic of eternal love and devotion. The most simple version of the knot is comprised of three points with connected intersecting loops, symbolic of the elements – fire, earth and water.
The knot pre-dates Christianity, but as often occurs, the early Church leaders adopted regional motifs and incorporated them into religious symbolism. For example, the ‘endless’ thread is symbolic of God’s eternal love, and the triple Celtic knot, like the shamrock, is often used to refer to the holy trinity.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your Celtic Knot Bracelet:
72” of leather cording – 1.5 to 2mm thick
4 to 6 Beads — with the hole large enough for 2 widths of cord to pass through
Button for clasp — with the hole big enough for one width of cord to pass through
Find the center of cord. Thread on the button, tie an overhand knot to hold button in place.
Secure the button-end of the cord in the clip of your clipboard.
Tie first Celtic knot.
Bring the right cord over the top of the loop and pull it under the left-hand cord.
There is a ‘triangle’ space at the top of the two cords, just under the knot that holds the button. Place the ‘right hand’ cord through that triangle, then thread it under, over, and under the next cords. Pull through.
Adjust the knot so the two sides are even and it sits near the overhand knot. Click here to see video of tying the Celtic knot.
Slide on the first bead, and place it up near the knot.
Tie another Celtic knot, as above. Add another bead, and continue until the bracelet is one inch smaller than you want the finished bracelet to be.
After your final Celtic knot, tie another overhand knot and pull tight.
Measure the diameter of the button clasp, and tie another overhand knot with that distance in mind, thus creating a loop for the button to pass through.
Trim off ends, and you have a finished bracelet!
A few tips:
If you have trouble with the bracelet laying flat, pin the unruly loops to a surface and let the bracelet sit overnight. Think of it like blocking your wool sweater after washing! (My work and I both enjoy acupuncture!)
Buttons with a shank give you a bit more ‘play.’ If you use a traditional button (with holes drilled through the button), make sure you leave some space between the holes and the first knot.
Raw cording is a bit easier to work with – the ‘finished’ or ‘polished’ cording is a bit stiffer and takes some getting used to. You can also make this bracelet out of silk cord, cotton twine, hemp or yarn, but I don’t recommend using ‘fuzzy’ cords… the result is messy-looking.
For a more masculine look, eliminate the beads and tie knots close together. I found that in making this bracelet with the knots against each other, it’s best to reverse the knot-tying direction, so as to eliminate twisting of the bracelet. For pictures on how to tie the knot in reverse, click here.
The bracelet can also be made with two or three strands of fiber, be sure that the holes in the button clasp can take the two or three thicknesses of thread. This process takes a lot more time and patience, as the individual threads must be separated when knotting for a smooth, uniform look. But the result is gorgeous!