Friday, February 10, 2012


Feburary in Oceanside means lots of cold rain that now and then tries to imitate snow.  Under its influence, moss springs up in lawns, on the roof and on the north side of anything that doesn't move quickly.  February is a good time for working on those big projects that you put aside before the holidays.  You can spin that fleece you dyed back in the fall, warp the loom for that blanket or start knitting that sweater.  Just remember that big projects can seem to be never ending and it may be difficult to focus on the vision of a masterpiece that prompted you to start the project in the first place.  Try taking a break by working on a rainy day project.  Pick one that is fun, easy and more important one that can be finished in a day. 

So what has the picture got to do with rainy day activities?  These are shells from clams that were devoured by a Lewis' moon snail (Euspira lewisii).  The shells wash up on to the shore after winter storms.  With their perfect holes they just cry out to be strung onto some cord.
Which brings me to our rainy day project, making cords.  You probably have some yarn lurking in your stash that just never seems right for a project.  Maybe it is too thin or the colour just doesn't go with your current pallet.  Here is your chance to turn it into something useful.  All you need is a drill, a cup hook and a friend.  (You can use a door knob but it is more fun and a lot easier with a friend or two) 
First, you need to measure off yarn as if you were making a warp.  Make the "warp" about 3 times longer than you want for a finished cord.  The number of threads will depend upon how thick your yarn is and how thick you want the final cord. You will need to do a sample.  Tie a knot in each end of the finished warp.  One knot goes over the cup hook while your friend holds the other under light tension.  Allow the drill to twist the yarn until it is close to the point of "kinking" (again sample) then without losing the tension take the knot your friend is holding and slip it onto the cuphook.  Now, reverse the drill and ply the doubled cord until it is firm enough.  Again, without losing the tension, knot the cord to hold the twist.  Now congratulate yourself you are finished.

Back to those poor clams.  Our group is putting together the registration and goodie bags for the Retreat that will take place at the end of March so last week we got together and made shell necklaces for the goodie bags.  We set up a production line.  Pat warped, Karen whirled and Wendy threaded cord through holes.  Eh voila, we have necklaces!  

One final tip.  Before you cut the cord, wrap the cutting area firmly with tape then cut in the middle of the taped area.  This will hold the twist and stiffen the end so that you can poke it through a hole.  Tie a knot to hold the twist permanently after you have finished stringing items onto the cord.