Is still Macramé!
I keep an eye on the various "wilderness survival" sites and blogs. It's a subject of interest to me, and I often find useful information on these sites. A few of them are quite good as a matter of fact.
Of late, I have noticed a new fad in gear, the "survival bracelet". This has been described as a bit of "tactical wear" that allows you to conveniently carry an extra six feet or so of para-cord. Most of the bracelets I was reading about were described as being done in "cobra weave". I have to allow as I had never heard of "cobra weave" and I have a life-long interest in such things. So I found a picture of a survival bracelet made with "cobra weave" (also being called cobra stitch) that was clear enough that I could see what they were doing.
It was macramé.
I guess the "soldier of fortune" crowd just couldn't bring themselves to admit they were wearing a macramé bracelet and so made up a really macho name for the thing (ummm...... I know, lets call it Cobra Weave, that sounds like something Steven Seagal would wear)
Now I'm not saying that this bracelet isn't a good idea, it is to my thinking. And I'm not making fun of the wilderness survival people, most of whom are thoughtful folk who are following a passion that I share with them, some of whom I count as friends. I just find the "cobra weave" thing a bit funny.
As I have mentioned before, I'm an old hippy. Back in the day, if you didn't know how to make macramé jewelry and such, you were at a bit of a disadvantage. (it was a great way to impress the girls and to pick up a bit of extra cash) As it happens I was quite good at it. Mostly because I have had a lifelong interest in working with cord, rope and other sorts of fiber. I also had the opportunity to learn knotting and such from some very knowledgeable people when I was young.
So I sat down last night and made myself a survival bracelet out of a bit of paracord I had laying about. This is the finished product.
I used a button and loop closure rather than a buckle or shackle for the same reason I don't put the strap of a boonie hat under my chin.
Now here's the fun part. A little history on the subject of macramé, (it'll drive the Islamophobic right wingers nutz)
The word macramé comes from the Arabic migramah (مقرمة) which relates to the fringe on a scarf. It is an art that was developed in the Arabian Peninsula which spread across North Africa, up into Spain and then, like so much science, art and culture from the Muslim world, into Europe.
The art was quickly adopted by sailors, who called it "square knotting". The whole art of macramé is built on the foundation of just two knots, the half knot (think of how you tie your shoe, the half knot is what you make before the bow) and the half hitch. a series of knots is known as a bar in macramé speak. The bracelet you see here is a simple "Salomon's bar" which you make by doing half knots in one direction, then the other (right over left then left over right) forming a series of square knots. (aka reef knots) The reason they are known as square, I was told, is because they lay "square" when done this way. When you do the half knot all in the same direction it makes a double spiral down the core cords.
So the people who are making these bracelets are helping to preserve a bit of traditional Islamic AND traditional Hippy culture. How kewl is that?
I did a bit of looking online, youtube and such, and discovered that while there are a few tutorials on how to do tactical macramé, all of them I could find do it the hard way.
There is a trick to making the Solomon's bar quickly (it takes a quarter of the time or less than the way it is being shown around) known only to Muslims.
At great personal risk, I will reveal this secret technique to all the
uncircumcised infidel dogs non-Muslims who might want to experiment with making survival bracelets using this traditional Islamic art as soon as I can get someone over here to operate the camera. (I do hope that you all realize that my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek here, but then again, there will be a few Islamophobes reading this, so maybe not) So stay tuned for my next installment.
Friday, December 04, 2009
Is still Macramé!