Sunday, June 29, 2008

This is What I Wanted to Do


I wanted to spend a day doing nothing.

Well, not exactly nothing, but not running around, not going anywhere, just a day at home. What ended up happening is exactly what I wanted to do with my day. I planted myself in front of the couch with a ton of DVDs and some yarn. I worked on a project (you'll get a picture when it's done) and watched movies. All day.

It was grand.

Yesterday, creative juices were flowing as well. I've mentioned making prayer beads, japa mala, before. My first three were of wood bead, hemp cord, and a cotton tassel, as mentioned here. Two of the three have broken in some way after extended use, the main issue is the hemp cord I used. I expected it to be sturdy, but it really didn't prove to be so.

In May, I went to a mala workshop and learned how to make mala with gemstones, and a knot between each bead. I fell in love with making these things and bought beads to work with, and made some for some special friends as gifts. Yesterday, I got some small beads to make a small wrist mala (this one required a clasp) and I finished a full length mala I had been working on. And made another wrist mala, though it's too big to be safely worn as a bracelet.

So, showing here, by number:.

Number 1 is the mala I made at the workshop. It is half length with fifty four beads of aragonite, green aventurine, and rose quartz strung on green silk and finished with a pewter tree of life charm. The guru bead is silver.

Number 2 is a full length, one hundred and eight bead strand of labradorite, fluorite, and moonstone strung on silver silk with sterling silver guru bead and a tassel. The moonstones were extremely disappointing, with holes not drilled all the way through or not a consistent size. I attempted to expand them with a bead reamer, but that just broke most of them. On a strand of about sixty moonstones, I could only use twenty of them. Very disappointing. I made this strand of mala four times, as I encountered more and more problems with the moonstones. I'm happy with it now, but I would have liked more moonstones.

Number 3 is another full length mala made of sodalite, howlite, and blue lace agate on blue silk with my last sterling silver guru bead and a tassel. This is one of the ones that I finished yesterday. When I was born, my eyes were the color of blue lace agate, and my mother had a necklace made for me. That stone is rather special to me.

Number 4 is a small wrist mala, one quarter of the full length strands, with twenty seven small kyanite beads strung on silver silk and finished with a blue silk tassel. One end is a lobster claw clasp because the small beads were just not long enough to go over my hand. The guru bead is pewter. Kyanite is good for balancing all chakras and never needs to be cleansed.

Number 5 is another wrist mala with much larger beads. This one is blue lace agate, labradorite, and fluorite with a pewter guru bead on silver silk with a blue tassel. For the sake of perfecting the design, I put a clasp on this one as well. The beads are so big that it's not necessary, it will easily slip over a hand (even a large one), but I want to start making more small ones like the kyanite. I think I have a good method for this as well. I may end up redoing this strand without the clasp.

The last one, number 6, is my very first mala remade. This time, the original wooden beads were strung on cotton cord. The holes in the beads are too large for hand-knotting, so I put glass spacer beads in between, and reused the original cotton tassel. As this was my first, and with no previous instruction, it is my favorite and the one I use most often. Though the kyanite is quickly gaining ground (so to speak). I enjoy holding that stone so much.

I have some more beads waiting to be made into mala. I'm hoping to get some more silk cord. While the cotton is easy to come by, I like working with silk too. I'll wait on making that one. It looks like after shopping yesterday was a great big mala party!

The question that I'm sure you, gentle blog readers, are asking is: what the heck do I plan to do with all these strings of beads? That's a fine question. For now, nothing. I would sell them if I thought someone would want them. For now, I like making them, and I like perfecting my knotting technique (which is getting better and better). One day, I hope to translate this to a string of pearls. It's a fun and soothing way to pass the time.

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