Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sweet dreams

Hello everyone, it's Karine again! For the past few days I've been swamped with moving into a new apartment, starting summer classes, and getting back into the swing of things. I'm sleeping on a brand new bed, in a room that still isn't quite home to me, with piles of things still needing to be organized on the floor. I know some people can adjust overnight, but for some of us it takes a while of tossing and turning at night to grow accustomed to a new place.

Knowing this about myself, I brought a dream catcher my boyfriend gave me, both for sentimental value and the fact that the concept of dream catchers and how they were used in Native American culture is fascinating to me. After noticing no difference with or without the dream catcher, I was very disappointed.

Traditionally, dream catcher frames are made of objects found in nature, like red willow. This is done purposefully because dream catchers are typically used to place above babies' heads, and as the dream catcher dries and deteriorates, it represents the growth of the child. The beads and feathers that embellish the dream catcher are supposed to be meaningful, for example, the beads used can be beads that were passed on through generations. The actual "web" of the dreamcatcher can take on both simple or intricate design, and sometimes even within the web a bead is placed to represent the spider.
I read some more reading about dream catchers and found some incredible photos of dream catchers from tribes, and though I've lost hope in dream catchers working for me, I thought making a dream catcher would be really fun, and that I could give my handmade one to my boyfriend so that we can both have one hanging over our beds, regardless of their effectiveness.

This are the supplies I used for my dream catcher (all of less than $10 at Michael's yay!) :
  • a small bangle
  • embroidery thread (this was a terrible idea, it comes apart way too easily, and makes looping very difficult)
  • feathers 
  • beads
  • nail scissors

I started off thinking I'd attach two bangles together to make the frame thicker, but ended up liking the look of a thinner frame better. For the thread I cut off a piece long enough to cover the whole bangle and an extra two feet for the web.

Here's all my supplies in a group photo!

I started off by triple knotting the thread on the bangle and wrapping the thread all around the bangle. Make sure to keep the thread tight and close together, otherwise at the end, there will be gaps and your bangle (or whatever else your using) will show through.

Once I got the thread all over, I started on the first inner layer of the web. To do this, I took the remaining thread and brought it about a quarter bangle (yes, that's a measurement) in and looped it over the bangle. For this part, it's important to make the threading exact, and get it at the right level of tightness, because this is the base of your web. The tightness in the picture above is a good level because still has that loose look, but is nice and sturdy too.

For the first layer of web I kept doing this until I reached the spot where I started. On the inner layers, I just pulled the thread through other pieces of thread in a design that I came up with on the spot. If you want a more traditional looking dream catcher, you can continue threading in the same fashion as the first layer, except instead of looping it around the bangle, you look around the closest piece of thread until you reach the middle.

It the middle make a knot, tighten really hard, and cut whatever is left of your thread. At some point during my web threading I put in a bead spider. If you're gonna do this, I suggest using a very light bead because I used a heavier one and it dragged the whole left side of my web down because of it's weight.

To make the hanging beaded feathers, I cut about a foot of thread and knotted one end to a feather. I knotted 6 times so that the thick knot could give the bead extra support. Then, I slid two beads down the other side of the thread and onto the edge of the feather. Lastly, I tied the thread onto the dream catcher. 

My and my boyfriend's dream catchers are bonding.

Anyway, this project was highly improvised, so those were just some basic guidelines, but if you want more precise instructions here are a couple links to check out that give exact step-by-steps. It's a really fun project to do with kids, and you can even make a smaller version as a keychain or a larger one and use it as wall decor.
I wasn't kidding about the wall decor! :)

1 comment:

  1. I think this is a great project to do with kids - awesome for fine motor skills! And maybe I will make a neckless for myself too :)) How long did it take you to make this dream catcher?


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