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August 19, 2016

Making a Native American Style Fetish Necklace with Squaw Wrap Closure

I love Native American style carved animal fetish necklaces.  I bought mine over 20 years ago on a trip through the South West.  I'm pretty sure I bought it in New Mexico, possibly Arizona.

Native American Fetish Necklace

I was inspired to try and make my own when I recently bought some carved butterflies from Fire Mountain Gems (FMG).  As you may know if you follow this blog, I don't do a lot of stringing projects.  I don't think I'm particularly good at it, but like anything, I know that if I practiced more I would improve.

So, here's my practice.

Make a Stone Fetish Necklace

In addition to the carved stone butterflies, which came in two sizes, I needed spacer beads.

How to Make a Native American Inspired Fetish Necklace

Ta Da!

In the back of my mind, I guess I may have been planning a necklace like this for a while now, since I had 50 strands of these assorted shape black, coral and turquoise beads waiting to be used.

How to Make a Native American Inspired Fetish Necklace

I strung up a second necklace too - but I'm not loving it yet.  The thread isn't right (too lightweight) and I'm not sure I like the colors or the focal butterfly.  So, yes, everything is wrong about it.

But, I do like the multi-color butterfly fetish necklace enough to finish it!

How to Make a Native American Inspired Fetish Necklace

And my favorite part may be how I finished the back of it.  To follow Native American design, I really had two choices - use silver cones and a hook and eye clasp or do a squaw wrap.  Having never done either, I chose the squaw wrap.

I never knew the name for this type of necklace ending (non-clasp ending) until I found it researching fetish necklaces.  It is actually the same as the wrap knot used in macrame when you make the top part of plant hangers to join the cords together. (I probably just gave away my age on that one!).

If you like Native American jewelry, you may enjoy this Native American jewelry blog.  I've found it incredibly informative, for the information on this knot as well as a whole host of other things!

Here's how I did it.  Oops - before I get into that, a little more about the necklace.  It is strung on C-Lon bonded nylon .5mm cord.

How to Straighten Curled Cord

It's great cord, EXCEPT, it comes off of the spool looking like this.  And, if you haven't worked with cord, you need to know you should not use it until you get it straightened.  It will not straighten out over time. Instead, it makes your project curly.  And that stinks.

How to Straighten Curled Cord

For ages, I didn't know how to get it straight.  I tried wetting it, weighting it, all sorts of silly ideas.  And I probably would have figured it out quicker if I had curly hair.  A hair straightener works wonders on this type of cord - but I don't have one of those.  So, finally, I tried ironing it.  And it's fabulous!!!

Squaw Wrap Necklace Closure instructions

Back to my equally fabulous whip stitch necklace closure (which is another name for this type of knot).  The springs are holding the cord ends together, The cords are crossed in the middle and then held together.  With another piece of cord, at least two feet long, I made a loop, that I am holding place with my finger.

Squaw Wrap Necklace Closure instructions

Then, I take on end from the loop cord and start wrapping it around the necklace cords AND the loop itself.  A nice even tight wrap.  Just like coiling wire.  But harder because it moves around more.

Squaw Wrap Necklace Closure instructions

When it's long enough, I slip the end of the cord that I've been wrapping with into the loop on the left side. Then, I find the other side of the wrap cord (on the right), and gently pull it so that it pulls the wrapping end inside the coil.  This has to be done gently, coaxing it to pull inside the wraps.  They bunch up a little as it pulls and you just smooth it back down and straighten it.  Yes, this is after I finished that step.  It needed concentration and I wasn't pausing for pictures in the middle.

Squaw Wrap Necklace Closure instructions

When the end is safely inside the coil, I remove the springs holding the necklace threads together and gently pull on them to tighten the necklace.  This is exactly the same way those sliding square knot macrame closures work.  Pull on the cord ends and they slide through the knot wrap.

Squaw Wrap Necklace Closure instructions

Now I still had two cord ends on each side, one from the necklace and one from the wrap.

Squaw Wrap Necklace Closure instructions

I'm pretty sure I could just trim them off (I added some super glue to the end of the wrap just in case), but, I decided to keep them for now.  I added a bead, knotted it in place and trimmed each cord down to about 1.5 inches in length.

I wasn't ready to take the risk of messing it up.

Make a Fetish Necklace with Squaw Wrap Closure

And there you have it!  My semi-traditional Native American (inspired) butterfly fetish necklace.

I love wearing necklaces like this.  It has weight, but isn't too heavy.  The stones make a great noise if they touch and it's interesting to examine closely if I'm bored.  Win, win, win.

Although it looks like you could adjust the length, you can't.  You probably could make the knot so you could, but in my case, I glue the strings where they enter the squaw knot, so they won't be sliding any more.

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1 comment:

  1. Such a sweet necklace Lisa, I love the little butterflies it makes a really feminine necklace.