good luck charm japanese knot from a dassai 23 sake cord

I love being able to make things for my friend who lives in Tokyo. She often travels to NYC on business and when she comes its fun to present her with a small gift. Its inspiring for me to think up new ideas each time; something that isn’t too big or expensive – just a little trinket. Crafter challenge accepted!

For this visit I came up with the idea of recycling the purple cord used to decorate bottles of Dassai sake. The hope was, because she works for Dassai, it would be a more personal gift. I can’t bear to throw the cords out when we open a new bottle and that means I had plenty of them tucked away to play with.

My DIY Materials

asian style knot book and swarovski crystal beads used to diy this strap

Ages ago I bought this book called Asian Knot Style {アジアンノット・スタイル} from the craft section of Kinokuniya. Sadly, every time I attempted one of the knots I failed miserably. I don’t think it has anything to do with the book being in Japanese as the pictures are very clear to follow. Apparently its just some sort of mental malfunction I have when it comes to knots. The gentleman of the house however has no such issue. Bonus prize – he can now officially say that he has “crafted” thanks to this project (*^^*)

My secret weapon for many of my DIYs, especially those with small details, is beading needles. I use them all the time and not just for bead work. They are very thin and long and for me super easy to work with. The only difficulty is threading them. Dang the eye is small!! Well and they can bend easily as another downside so you can’t be as forceful with them like a standard needle. The sharpness and length though is awesome.

japanese success and flower knots with beads on a strap

Its not uncommon to use beads with this style of decorative knots. However the beads are typically ones with large holes and the cord of the knot is slipped through the bead. The book also suggests using a touch of glue to secure the knot. Instead of all that I went for much smaller beads and the thread used to attach them acted as an alternative to the glue.

To make it even more personal I added lettering beads to spell out “Dassai” and her name “Asumi” in pastel colors. This was the big gamble for the project. Most of the other beads were more fancy, like Swarsovski crystals and Japanese glass seed beads. I feared these might look too low brow compared to the others. The use of seed beads between each letter I think helped bridge the gap so that it all harmonized after all.

Color was critical to making it come together as was scale. It took a couple of tries to get the balance right on top to counteract the weight of the beading at the bottom. All-in-all I think it turned out very nice.