is it a fish? is it a bird?

posted in: Blog | 4

No, it’s a protoype.

I have been continuing to practice my ply-splitting; in fact, the coffee table is littered with split plies. This has become my sit-down-with-a-cup-of-tea-and-watch-the-telly craft of choice. I have already mentioned that I bought myself a little headlamp to work with and now I am learning Swedish. Well, not really learning it, but as the only programme on telly that I manage to watch regularly is Wallander (which is in Swedish) and ply-splitting requires a fair bit of attention, I am having to try and follow the plot without reading all the subtitles.

As I also mentioned, I am using Peter Collingwood’s suggested method for making cords half as long as my armspan. In fact, with all the twist that goes into them, they end up quite a bit shorter than the 2’9″ that would imply. My cords are typically about two feet long and once you start splitting and bending a 2′ cord, you rapidly end up with an object that is shorter still.

Thinking about what I could make that needs only 2′ lengths of cord has ended up with my cutting them even shorter. By cutting the cords in half and starting to ply-split from the middle, I have found I have just the right amount to make little key fobs. I begin with four 12″ cords and make a small narrow braid in the centre. (I should mention that these are quite chunky cords, but you can probably see that from the picture with the ruler.)  Then I fold the narrow braid in half, join the fells together and continue to make a wider braid with all eight ends. From the side it looks like this:

I bent it a little to make it stand on its edge for the camera — and also because bending these little guys is so satisfying! They may be small but they are very structural. It is such a nifty project that I have started to take my ply-splitting kit on the train where I have been trying out different designs.

I am not happy with the tail on the first little guy* so I need to work on how to finish them off. I am aiming for a more tapered end which will make the wrapping sit more neatly.

Who knows, once I am happy with them, I may even start attaching them to key rings: the Bright Idea is that would incorporate the ring as I go rather than try to squeeze them on afterwards — although this is possible and Has Been Done to first-little-guy as a test.

*Actually, he’s not the first little guy, he is just the first I am prepared to photograph and share. Poor zeroth little guy was not even slightly successful.

is it a fish? is it a bird?” was posted by Cally on 20 Oct 2010 at

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4 Responses

  1. Desirée
    | Reply

    I liked that first little fish guy, even though he seems to have disappeared now. Eller ska jag skriva fiskpojken?

  2. Cally
    | Reply

    OK, to be honest, the only word I really know without looking is “hej”. But they say that a lot in Wallander… I think fiskpojken should definitely be my second word. He does seem to vanish when the comment box is activated which is A Bit Strange. I’ll see whether I can fix that.

  3. Janet
    | Reply

    Cally – are the Wallander films being shown in Swedish on Scottish television or are you able to get cable or something from Sweden?
    Hope that torn ligament is on the mend.

    • Cally
      | Reply

      Hi Janet
      We get them on BBC4, which is freeview, although the series has just finished and we are suddenly getting Kenneth Branagh’s English Wallander instead!

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