Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Wish for 2015 - a party project

On New Year's Eve I'll be with a group of friends and neighbors, watching our children and chatting. We'll laugh and get silly in the big group, but I want to make sure some more quieter, meaningful connections are made that night, too. I'm going to set up a Wish for 2015 bracelet-making area. These bracelets are like friendship bracelets, and long enough to be worn as necklaces. They will serve as tangible reminders of the wishes the wearer held for the upcoming year, and I hope I'll wear mine until it wears out. I want everyone at the party to participate in this, so the project is easy and the knots simple enough to tie while chatting.  I'll make sure the materials speak to men and women, boys and girls, so everyone can create one.

So, how can you set up a bracelet-making area for New Year's Eve? 

Find a space with seating for 3-4 people. This will be popular, but in my experience folks will wait their turn. Intimate is better, too many beaders and the conversation will splinter and no one will really connect. This craft is about the conversation, not the specific knots or beads or buttons. Talking while crafting can often free people to share and open up in surprising ways, especially if the group isn't too large. As our hands are busy, our tongues are freed. 

On a large tray, using small bowls and containers, arrange the following:
-5 foot coils of waxed linen or hemp cording (these will knot into 18" wrap bracelets) If your group is larger than 8 people, you'll save money by purchasing a spool of the linen. Go with an exciting color like orange or red and tell folks it will remind them of their wishes every time they see it!
-beads that fit on the linen or cord - I'm doing a mix of many kinds; seed beads are great, as are Czech glass or wood, it depends on the taste of the knotter
-a mix of buttons with 2 or 4 holes
-a ruler
-the instructions for how to make the knots (see below)
-a sample of the finished bracelet (the one I show above is 18" long)

scatter around the tray several slips of paper with prompts, such as:
what is the best thing that could happen to you in 2015?
what would you like to learn how to do in 2015?
what food do you want to eat more of in 2015?
what one person do you want to spend more time with in 2015?
what is one healthy thing will you try to do more often in 2015?
what fun thing will you try to do in 2015?
what would be your dream trip in 2015?
what book do you want to try to read in 2015?
what place do you want to visit more often in 2015?
describe your very best 2015 day?
what one thing do you want to celebrate at New Year's Eve 2015?
how can your friends help you with your goals for 2015?

The bracelet is basically a variation on this bracelet, or this necklace with only one strand of linen.

Choose a button. Start by doubling the 5 yard piece of linen over and tying a knot to create a loop. You'll want the loop to fit over your button. Set the button aside and begin stringing and knotting beads, in a random pattern, along the length of the bracelet. Take time to talk through the upcoming year. Take time to consider what you can do to help your friends make their upcoming year as wonderful as possible.

My wish for you in 2015? 
More intentional, conversational crafting.