Hello and welcome to the world of alpha patterns ! This blog post is a (hopefully) beginner-friendly introduction to how make alpha bracelets. Have you ever made a macrame craft, or a friendship bracelet, in the past? Congrats! You already have half the skills you need to make an alpha bracelet. Is this your first time attempting a weaving craft? Worry not, this post will show you the vast archives of tutorials, advice and patterns built by the friendship-bracelet making community.
As a little background, “alpha” patterns is short for “alphabet patterns” as, unlike in macrame and friendship bracelets, alpha patterns allow you to successfully weave letters into your bracelet. They use pixel-based patterns and are worked from left-to-right rather than diagonals like friendship bracelets. Over the years, many different methods have been shared and exchanged online a few of which I will be sharing here.
For this year’s camp, I have made four troop-themed alpha patterns for you to choose from, found on my Bracelet Book profile.
Apart from Bracelet Book, another resource that will be referenced is Masha Knots’ YouTube Channel. She has made a wide range of tutorials on making alpha bracelets, which are really clear and will come in handy in the instructions.
Cabin Bracelets and Badges Supplies:
Below is a quick reminder of the supplies – these are divided into “base strings” and “knot strings”:
- 1 skein of DMC WHITE floss
- 1 skein of DMC Embroidery Floss of each:
- 3832 Raspberry Med
- 959 Sea Green Med
- 648 Beaver Gray Lt
- Troop Design:
- Vortex: 1 skein* of 553 Violet and 1 skein of BLACK
- 13: 1 skein* of 992 Aquamarine Lt and 1 skein of BLACK
- Memory: 1 skein* of WHITE and 1 skein of BLACK
- Time Travel: 1 skein of 946 Burnt Orange Med and 1 skein of BLACK.
NOTE: 1 skein will do the job, but if you are nervous about running out of thread, two is more than enough.
Cabin Bracelets and Badges Instructions:
0. CHOOSE YOUR PATTERN AND PURCHASE COLOURS ACCORDINGLY. Be mindful that this depends on the troop design you want! 🙂
1. Measure and cut ELEVEN strands of your WHITE DMC thread, each 40 cm long. Count the strands, and then count them again, to make sure you have indeed cut eleven strands.
2. 12 cm below the ends of the strands, tie a sturdy knot. Tape the knot of the bracelet to a sturdy platform before beginning the alpha pattern.
NOTE: If you’re already familiar with the knots used in friendship bracelets, jump right ahead to steps 3 and 4. If this is new to you, here is a brief explanation. There are 4 types of knots in bracelets: forward, backward, forward-backward and backward-forward.
The Knots Chart (courtesy of Pinterest) shows how they are made. You will only be using the forward knot to go right, and the backward knot to go left. You can also check out Masha Knot’s YouTube video on Basic Knots :
3. To start the bracelet, follow through Masha Knot’s Triangle Ends Tutorial (below). Use the the 959 Sea Green Med thread and work through the triangle end.
4. To get started on the body of the bracelet, you can follow through Masha Knot’s tutorial on how to read alpha patterns; she covers how to knot bracelets and how to change colours:
5. Finish your bracelet off with another triangle end (see step 3), knot the ends of the base strands together.
And voila! I hope these patterns were not too hard and that you enjoyed trying your hand at alpha patterns 😀 If you gave the troop patterns a go, don’t forget to share your bracelet with the rest of Camp on Discord!
Contributed by Elio
Elio is a history major and lover of reading, crafting, and birdwatching! If she hadn’t joined Troop Vortex and mapped the time portals that appear around the cabin, Elio would’ve contented herself to digging through camp archives and leading local archaeology digs… she chuckles at the idea now. Between time travel trips and camp activities, Elio may be spotted spending odd hours in the library or the craft room – but you’ll likely find her pestering Phaux, the camp historian, with questions.