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Gourd Shekeres

Materials needed:

To dry the gourd, tie a string around its neck and hang it from the ceiling in a well-ventilated place. (I tied mine next to a window in my classroom. They dried in about 5 months.)

To create the beaded net, you will make loops with beads on them, around and around the neck of the gourd. You can work either with the net on the gourd or off at first (later you will have to work on the gourd); I found it easier to work off the gourd at first. I will refer to the color or beads that I used so that the illustrations are clear; you may actually use whatever color beads you wish.

1. To create the starting loop, make a double circle of string measuring about a 4-5 inches in diameter. Tie the end of the first loop to the end of the second. Then tie another knot encircling both loops. (Do not cut the end of the string from the ball.)

2. Measure about three feet of string from the knot you just tied. Cut the string at that point.



3. Thread two blue beads on the string. Push the beads up to the knot. Let the string sag below the double circle of cord by about 1/2 inch, then tie a knot around the double circle, illustrated on the left. Move the knot to the right or left until it is about 1/2 inch from the first knot, and the loop sags about a 1/2 to 3/4 inch below the double circle.

4. Repeat step three, making loops with two beads on them, until you get all the way around to the original knot. Make your very last loop end right on top of the original knot.

5. To move on to the second row, add two more blue beads as before, but make a larger loop, so that it sags a half an inch below the first loop of the first row. This time tie the knot to the first loop, BETWEEN the two beads.

6. Continue making loops as for the first row, tieing each loop to the bottom sag of the loop above it, always between the two beads.

7. When you get to the end of the second circle, change to red beads and continue around. (There is no need to make an extra big loop this time.)



8. The loops on the fourth and fifth row have a green bead first, then a yellow bead. The sixth row is 2 blues; this is the row that you see in progress in this picture on the left.

9. The following row colors are: seventh row - 2 reds; eighth row - 2 blues; ninth and tenth rows - green, then yellow; eleventh row - 2 reds, twelfth row - two blues. (By the eleventh row you should be working with the net on the gourd.)

10. When you get to where the net hangs lower than the widest part of the gourd, it's time to pull the loops successively tighter and smaller, row by row, to rein in the girth of the net. My gourds took thirteen rows total, and I started getting tighter at the tenth row; different sized gourds will be different.

11. When you get to the last row, the tying procedure is different. Instead of making more loops, create another double circle to hold the bottom of the net. (See the picture to the right.) Then alternate your knots between the loop row and the double circle, like so: tie a knot on the loop, add one bead, knot on the double circle, add one bead. Repeat these four steps until every loop is secured to the double circle.

12. When you get to where you started on the last row, tie off your cord in an inconspicuous spot, and cut the string. You're done!


Click to hear a sound clip of the gourd shekeres

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