Like a lot of girls, I learned how to make friendship bracelets back in the misty dawn of my youth. In the heady, pre-Internet days of the late-Eighties there were very few ways to learn how to make these colorful thread trinkets – you were taught how to make them in Arts & Crafts by ex-hippies at summer camp, you had parents who were ex-hippies and taught you, you read an article in a magazine or book written by a hippie, or you learned how from someone who either had been to summer camp or had ex-hippies for parents. ( FYI – The GhostParents were not hippies, GhostDad actually turned down a chance to go to Woodstock. We instead come from fairly sensible if slightly insane farm-folk; growing up, instead of macrame I learned what a tobacco stick is and how tell rambling stories involving animal parts.)  

According to MotherDearest, I learned from one of my California cousins, H, when she came to visit. That sounds about right and I don’t have any reason to doubt her, but I only have a hazy recollection of actually learning.

Friendship bracelets are perfect for kids; easy to make, requiring little more than cheap, colorful string and some kind on anchoring system to keep the strands in place. My cousin used a safety pin to attach the knot of threads to the knee of her jeans, but I usually used a clipboard. I learned the basics – the candy stripe, the chevron, and if I was feeling really fancy, the diamond. I played around some with different colors and then got interested in other things and forgot about them.

I occured to me not long ago while I was idly surfing the ‘net that the Things are getting close to the age when I learned how to make friendship bracelets and that, being the artistic types that they are, it might be a fun thing to do the next time they visit. I fiddled around with some yarn and kind-of remembered how to do it, but I though “Hey, I’ll just Google it.”

Holy crapcakes, y’all. These little bits of string have grown about a thousand times more intricate than the ones I remember.

This is a pattern chart for an “advanced beginner to intermediate” level bracelet, rated a five on a scale of one to ten, showing the paths taken by the individual strands; the strip across the top shows you what the bracelet will look like when finished.

My search led me to the very aptly named where you can find patterns for just about anything, as well as the tutorials I was looking for. Some are so intricate they look like very small Oriential carpets that you wear on your arm. Since the bracelets only use four variations (forward, backward, forward-backward, and backward-forward) of the same knot, the hitch*, I find that amazing.

And like pretty much anything else, the denizens of the Internet took a look at friendship bracelets and said to their collective selves “How can I make this reflect my special interests and hobbies? How can I, for want of a better term, make it geeky?”

Like this.

I’m currently struggling through some of the easier patterns so I can get the hang of reading the graphs, once I feel more confident I will probably tackle something a little more difficult.

*Each knot is actually two hitches; a forward is two forward hitches, a backward is two backward hitches, a forward-backward is … well, a forward hitch and a backward hitch, and a backward-forward is the same but reversed.