Black and Bloody

The Pontifex Niger is not a crafty guy. He doesn't knit or crochet, nor does he needlepoint. In fact, he hasn't made a gift for anyone since he was 5, when the Montessori Nazi, Mrs. Detweiler, made him trace around his hand and then color it like a turkey. (My mom dragged it out for Thanksgiving every year until I was 14...)

This failing - my craftlessness - was a problem, as "craftsman" was on my list of skills that a well rounded Pontiff should have. In my ongoing quest to better serve the Flock, I had to learn how to make something with my bare hands (just to clarify - my years in the SCA taught me how to make armor and impact weapons out of plastic, leather, metal, and tons of duct tape, but it's hard to turn those into gifts unless you're celebrating "zombie apocalypse day"). Ideally, said gifts would be made of materials that were cheap, easy to acquire, utilitarian, and manly. I turned to my old friend Google, and there I rediscovered the miracle that is parachute cord.

Also known as para cord or 550 cord, it is an amazingly useful material. It's really handy in survival situations - it can replace a shoelace, lash up a rainfly, make a snare for food, or tie a splint on a broken bone. It is easy to work with, requiring nothing more than a knife and a lighter for most projects. It is also stupidly strong, it comes in a ton of colors, and there are plenty of pages on the net giving step by step instructions for projects. I began by acquiring a quantity of it in the colors of the Sable Primate - black and bloody.

Rather than make something for a human, who might not like it, and who would then feel obligated to act like they liked it, I decided to make something for the dog. The Papal Puppy can't talk (yet) so it is only the suspicious cast of her eyes that tells us how much she loved my first project - a dog collar. Despite being very strong and durable, para cord is quite soft and comfy. This is little Friday's favorite collar for a long day of rushing to the end of her leash and gagging herself.

Naturally, this collar needed a leash, and I decided to go all out with a two color round braid. It's a bit too long (about 9 feet), made of two continuous strands of para cord, with a self handle made by back braiding the ends. The round braid gives it a nice bit of elasticity, but it is still strong enough for just about any dog. I may be making a few of these as gifts for the dog people I know at the hollowdaze this year. This one has already gotten many compliments at puppy kindergarten.

Given the success of the doggy goods, it was time for a people project. I began a bracelet for SciFi Heroine, but another excellent opportunity presented itself. In exchange for (an incredibly large box of) fabulous homemade soap, I offered to make bracelets for Mayren and her husband. The bracelets pictured here were the result - it is fitting that the Number 1 fangirl of the Ministry should have the first two official Black Vatican Survival Bracelets. I used hemostats to get the weave really tight and even, and I think they turned out quite nicely.

Flush with my success, I returned to the bracelet for SciFi Heroine. I let her pick the colors (hence the deviation from black and bloody), and I tried a different pattern - a double weave that yields a wider, thicker bracelet. The result was much better than I expected, I must confess. Apparently, she likes it too, because I had to pry it off her wrist to get a pic of it - she's been wearing it constantly since I finished it. I am planning one for myself as my next project.

If Mrs. Detweiler could only see me now...


Mayren said...

I loooove love LUV my new Para Cord Bracelet! It's actually pretty darn fashionable and have gotten rave reviews when wearing like colors at work. (Yep i've sported it at work even) The Hubs doesn't wear his out alot but he does take it while going to play paintball or Airsoft Guns because he says..."It's pretty damn useful. I need it around just in case" That was awesome. I can't get him to comment on my soaps but he's got words for the awesomeness that are the Black N Bloody Bracers.

((PS - Sorry i sent you too much soap. I'm a bit of a lunatic and easily excited.))

Mayren said...

oh .. Side note - I may soon be embedding strong rare earth magnets into the para cord bracelet so it can be theraputic while wearing too. triple threat even.

His Sinfulness said...

Sweet! I'm glad you like them, and the magnets are an interesting idea. I've been looking for a way to enhance the bracelets - I was thinking beads or maybe a compass, but that's all been done. I haven't seen anyone on the web adding magnets to them. I'll be researching... ;)

Teh Dr. said...

Dude, heres a link to the snake knot stuff

His Sinfulness said...

Sweet - thanks, Herr Doktor!

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