Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Book Review – Knotted Bead Jewellery by Jenny Townley

This new book, written by knotting expert, Jenny Townley, is packed full with more than 25 micro macramé projects for every skill level from beginner to experienced knotter. You will also find more ideas and inspiration on her website

As has become customary for macramé books, there is a comprehensive section at the beginning, covering all the basic knots, tools and techniques required to complete the projects in the book. There is also an essential skills chapter which includes a very useful section on finishing your macramé work (something I always struggle with) and some tips on colour selection.

Before you dive into the projects themselves, you’ll find a visual reference of all the items available to make. Browsing through the contents or the book itself, you will be struck by the range of pieces to make and the beautiful photography, which includes images of the jewellery being worn. 

We particularly liked the ‘Tropical Waves’ bracelet being modelled here but we suggest you don’t start with this project which is in the ‘Advanced’ section of the book. We recommend that even if you are already familiar with macramé techniques, you begin with one of the simpler projects in the ‘Beginner’ or ‘Intermediate’ chapters to accustom yourself with the format of the projects and the specific skills required for the more complex designs.

For those new to macramé, this ‘Cluster of Pearls’ necklace is a wonderful place to start. This particular project uses glass pearl beads but you could use Freshwater Pearls as long as the holes are large enough to pass the macramé thread through. It isn’t macramé per se but learning to tie neat and consistent overhand knots is a skill that you will find useful for all sorts of projects.

For a more intricate design, why not have a go at this rather sweet owl pendant which will give you practice in Double Half Hitch Knots, Right Full Loop Knots as well as easy Lark’s Head and overhand knots.

I always like to have a go at a project in the book I am reviewing and I picked a rather clever design for ‘netting’ a gemstone with macramé cord. I have quite a large collection of seaglass pieces that I collected a few years ago from a beach in Seaham, and I thought this would be perfect for use in this project.

I have to admit that it took me two goes to get the pendant section right for my necklace. The instructions were a little short and lacking in detail (I am not an accomplished knotter!) for this particular 'intermediate' project. 

My own netted seaglass pendant!
However, closer examination of the step images and a bit of experimentation and I was able to get it right. I should also say here that perhaps my only criticism of this book is that sometimes, the layout of step images and instructions can be a bit confusing. It is not consistent throughout the book and this project in particular will see you jumping between pages to follow the steps in the right order!

So, all in all this is a lovely book with modern and wearable designs for all occasions. Whether you like to make full micro macramé pieces or just incorporate some knotted elements into other jewellery, you will learn some useful techniques from these pages.

Knotted Bead Jewellery is available from Amazon, priced at £10.68

ISBN 978-1-78221-390-1

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