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Planning Retirement Online

Handicrafts in later life    June 2006

Introducing our new Handicrafts column

Celtic knots with beaded jewellery

Suzen Millodot writes:

Celtic knots and designs have a magical, mythical quality and when combined with beads, make stunning individual jewellery.

Celtic design has a very distinctive style, which has stood the test of time and is as admired today as it was centuries ago. It is typified by its exuberant curves and fluid, finely balanced asymmetrical patterns, stylised leaf and flower patterns and animal motifs.

Celtic knot designs have always fascinated me by their flowing curves and repetitive patterns. They have an appeal of a puzzle, which one wants to look at again and again to try and visually follow and even unravel the design. They were to be found illustrating manuscripts, carved wood and stone, enamelled and etched on to metal, impressed into clay, embroidered on to cushions, batiked and printed on to fabric and even burned as designs in wood.

However, it was impossible to find a three dimensional Celtic knot actually tied with cord or string. While living in Hong Kong, I was delighted to discover Chinese knots and have been making and exploring the art of knot-making ever since. Now I have moved back to Wales, my fascination with Celtic knots has been revived.

This time my experience with other decorative knots has helped me create real, three dimensional Celtic knots. I have searched them out, simplified the descriptions of how to tie them and use them to re-create Celtic knots in three dimensions which will be perfect for the creation of surprisingly modern, stylish jewellery.

Here is one of my designs for you to create your own fabulous necklace

Celtic square knot necklace


To the monks of early Christianity, the square symbolised the creation of the manifold universe. They used the geometric method of construction to create knots to fill squares in their designs for embellishing manuscripts. This knot fits into a square, although here we have adapted it to make a necklace with a pendant so the shape has become slightly elongated. Knots made with cord (compared to knots constructed geometrically on paper) have a life of their own!  

You will need


3m (118in) silver coloured
2mm satin cord

3m (118in) turquoise 2mm
braided cord

One Celtic silver circular pendant

Two Celtic spangle hexagonal
silver beads

Six  Celtic  oval
silver beads





Diagram 1


Diagram 2


Diagram 3


Diagram 4




1. Find the middle of the silver cord and fold the cord in half at this point.

Tie a larkshead knot around

the Celtic pendant



  2. Make a loop with the cord on the left-hand side (see diagram 1 above).


  3. Take the right-hand side cord and thread it over, under and over the other cord (see diagram 2).


  4. Loop the cord around, taking it up and under, over then under (see diagram 3).


  5. Loop the cord around the top, take it under and then over, following diagram 4. Tidy the knot, making sure it is symmetrical.


  6. Find the middle of the turquoise cord, pin it in place as shown and start to follow the path of the silver cord around again.


  7. Finish following the path of the first knot with the turquoise cord.



Make a button knot with the silver cord around the other three cords. Then make two button knots further down with the turquoise cord.



  9. Continue adding beads and knots as shown.


  10. Finish with two sliding double button knots.

The finished necklace.


Using the basic square knot, experiment to create your own designs.


Laterlife customers can order Chinese Knots for Beaded Jewellery by Suzen Millodot, at the special offer price of ?5.99 (rrp ?6.99) post free in the UK, by calling Search Press on Tel 01892 510850 and quoting Offer closes on 30th of June 2006. To see the complete list of art and craft titles by Search Press, log on to


Previous editions in this series:

Edition 1 Tea Bag Folding


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