Lanyards, Lanyards, Lanyards.
August 3, 2010 6:18 PM   Subscribe

I have to admit. I'm more impressed with the multiplicity of names and options than I am with the actual craft itself.

"Hey man, check out my red and white Twisted Pentagon Lanyard! It's wicked nasty!"
posted by Fizz at 6:20 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

I got seriously made fun of by girls at my middle school for calling it boondoggle, which I learned from a book, when they called it gimp (pronounced more like gemp) which they learned at expensive horse camp.

Uh, this is a neat blog though.
posted by Tesseractive at 6:24 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

I made something like this in cubscouts. I think I just called mine a key-chain. Lanyard was something I associated with nautical terminology.
posted by Fizz at 6:25 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

YMCA summer camp flashback! AAAAAAAAAARGH!
posted by hippybear at 6:32 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Most, if not all of these are derived from old sailors knots. There is no better resource for learning them (excellent hand drawn diagrams!) than the Ashley Book of Knots.
posted by blaneyphoto at 6:35 PM on August 3, 2010 [6 favorites]

The names for the various styles are a riot though. Talk about trying to give more "umph" to what you're doing, dressing it up in names like Brick and Cobra.
posted by Fizz at 6:36 PM on August 3, 2010

I have dozens of lanyards, and no idea I could have been buying funky ones from etsy instead of boring ones that say 'marxism 1994' and 'shrewsbury folk festival 2006'.

I wonder if I could persuade my kids that this would be a useful life skill for them.
posted by shinybaum at 6:39 PM on August 3, 2010

Knots are always useful. Just ask any boyscout: "be prepared."
posted by Fizz at 6:44 PM on August 3, 2010

I'm with hippybear... summer camp flashbacks for sure... I'm gonna cap this off with a hot dog, a glass of KoolAid, and a trip to the waterfront to catch turtles from a canoe...
posted by HuronBob at 6:50 PM on August 3, 2010

HuronBob, what type of summer camp did you go's not KoolAid, it's "Bug Juice."
posted by Fizz at 6:52 PM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]

If it's the wrong summer camp, it's Flavor-aid.
posted by hippybear at 6:58 PM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]

Yeah, I guess we're gonna go to that Twisted Pentagon show down at Tornado. You know they like started out at the open mic at Cobra, and like now I heard they're gonna be opening up Super Cobra in October, at least that's what Butterfly told me. Because I was in this band that I quit, called the Twisted Fluted Columns. Right? We didn't actually get booked, but now they're called Quad and they play in White Plains and they suck, the fucking junkies.
posted by swift at 7:00 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

You know who'd love these? Sally Draper.
posted by box at 7:11 PM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]

(Also, has anyone used that Animated Knots iPhone app? I want to try it out, bu five bucks worth of knots seems like a lot of knots.)
posted by box at 7:16 PM on August 3, 2010

Former Poet Laureate Billy Collins has a poem entitled The Lanyard. It's a bit slow at first (poem starts at 0:50), but there's a great turn around 2:00... stick with it.
posted by avoision at 7:27 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Kumihimo is the grown-up version of lanyard making. Some of the weaves are similar, but they can get gorgeously complex.

Every now and the, even now, I'll bust out the embroidery floss and start braiding. The plastic lacing I never liked, except for the kind that glows in the dark.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:59 PM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

Aw! My girls just went to YMCA daycamp for the first time this week and came home yesterday with the beginnings of their first lanyards. They worked on them on the bus ride to and from camp today.

We called them lanyards when I was a kid, but then I met a bunch of little kids on a train in France when I was in college who were working on them, and they called them scoubidoos, which I of course heard as "Scooby Doos" and it confused and bewildered me.
posted by padraigin at 8:05 PM on August 3, 2010

I had such high hopes for lanyarding. You could make the always useful whistle holder and those really cool barrettes with the flowing ribbons that were like bicycle handbar tassels.. Apparently, I didn't have enough upper body strength to do lanyarding, though. Those plastic laces are really hard to pull tightly so that they keep whatever knot shape they're supposed to have! No, really.

I did make a whole lot of God's Eyes, though. That's what we did in elementary school instead of learning stuff!
posted by Mael Oui at 8:28 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hah! I thought I invented some of these. I was the lanyard savant of church camp, mostly because I'd skive off afternoon sports to spend more time up at the arts and crafts cabin. As a result, by the end of the week I'd have some beast of a lanyard done, 19 plastic laces, some glittery or metallic, a thick as my arm, glowed in the dark, etc plus a good half-dozen smaller ones I'd got bored with. Memories!!
posted by little light-giver at 10:52 PM on August 3, 2010

Likewise, Stormdrane's blog is a treasure trove of paracord knot-work and braiding projects -- the water-bottle holders and watchbands are especially neat. He also has a Youtube channel full of videos which show you how to tie some of the more challenging knots.
posted by vorfeed at 11:27 PM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]

Duuuude, I remember making these at Girl Scout camp. I was really precise when making mine, and my best friend at the time was really not- this meant she'd do half, messily, then I'd offer to undo it and fix it. Soon, other girls ended up asking me to fix theirs too, and then I'd be sitting at a picnic bench with 8 or 9 half-finished lanyards while they all went swimming in the lake.

I learned early on that being good at something and also being helpful often screwed me over in the fun department.
posted by rachaelfaith at 12:53 AM on August 4, 2010

But, but, but... I hate craft lace! It's all sharp and nasty and plastic-y. Does it have to be craft lace?
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:12 AM on August 4, 2010

Boondoggle was originally just something I learned at camp. But I kept doing it. Then I taught my kids how to do it and now both of them have been working at camps and teaching kids how to do it.

No matter where I have lived, I have had at least a couple of spools somewhere in the house.
posted by tommasz at 6:19 AM on August 4, 2010

Stormdrane is a really helpful guy who answers a lot of questions.

My kids use that plastic lace (called gimp in Rhode Island), but I use paracord a.k.a. 550 cord to make things useful and/or decorative. It's a harmless, fun hobby.

And Geoffrey Budworth has written some of the better books for explaining those crazy-complex Turk's Head variants.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:28 AM on August 4, 2010

Bring out the gimp!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:17 AM on August 4, 2010

some more knot and lanyard related links previously on the blue.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:52 AM on August 4, 2010

I learned how to make lanyards at Scout camp years ago. I got fairly good at them, and probably have at least one or two keychains lying around somewhere in a box of keepsakes. The round knot "Turk's Heads" with paracord? Man. I learned those too - we called them "monkey balls" - and was quite happy to spend my time adding them to the end of rope strands.

The rope I used was called "kirsh cord" or something like that (I never saw it spelled out, just heard it spoken). It was pretty similar to paracord, but as far as I know it was not a synthetic fiber - I think it was cotton, or some other natural fiber. When we heard from the quartermaster that they had stopped making it, we started finding reasons to stock up on it. ("Hey QM, we need 30 feet of cord for a project.") At one time I had a huge roll of the stuff. Now all I have left is a single cord, about 3 feet long, with a small monkey ball on both ends. I use it for a cat toy, mostly. But I still know how to make the knot, and I still find myself checking out the rolls of cord when I hit a store, just to see if they have anything approaching "kirsh" cord.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:15 AM on August 4, 2010

At one time I had a huge roll of the stuff. Now all I have left is a single cord, about 3 feet long, with a small monkey ball on both ends. I use it for a cat toy, mostly.

heh, paracord also makes great cat toys. I like to cut a piece off about 12" long, pull on the strands on both ends so they stick out about 1"-2" from the outer sheath, and then tie a good knot in both ends (so the strands can't come out and become kitty-snacks with a vet bill attached). My cats go crazy for the resulting "snake".
posted by vorfeed at 1:19 PM on August 4, 2010

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