String Theory

I’m currently conducting an involuntary experiment in creativity and sleep deprivation! I, let’s say, ‘ingested’ a herbal supplement yesterday evening that had the unintended consequence of keeping me awake all last night, this on top of a poor night’s sleep the night before. I was just about able to function at work today; a lunchtime snooze helped me get through the afternoon. I was together enough to cook the family dinner this evening. But then, I wondered would I have any energy this evening for anything creative.

It turns out that, despite a low level headache, and a general feeling of fatigue, I was able to summon the energy to engage in some craft stuff.

Ever since an involvement in Sea Scouts in the early 1970s, I’ve loved tying knots and the feel of string and rope in my hands. Later, again in the context of a scouting event, I was introduced to macrame. I took to it with enthusiasm, the combination of knots and the creation of textured patterns proving pretty irresistible. A few years ago, I bought some cord in a variety of colours and diameters and worked my way through several YouTube videos, making keyrings, bracelets and lanyards. And then I kind of lost interest. I grew a bit weary of the paracord brigade on YouTube and although nylon cord is OK to work with and very easy to finish off with a flame, it’s kind of soulless.

Recently, I bought some jute and other natural fibre string in Lidl, Sostrene Grene, Muji and Flying Tiger, and they’ve been sitting on my desk, accusingly. This evening, I decided to put them out of their misery and follow some simple patterns I had printed out for Christine a few months ago.

There is a huge difference in quality and refinement between the Lidl jute string, on the left, and the Muji version on the right …

I had a go at tying some sinnets with both: first a sequence of square knots. These are done by alternating the side from which the string is brought over the standing cords and the result is a flat pattern. And then a twisted sinnet, created by consistently bringing the cord from one side over the standing cords.

From this picture you can easily see the difference in quality of the string reflected in the finished articles. The one on top is the Muji string and it’s much easier to see the definition of the pattern.

Some close-ups