Ornamental knot tying has been a part of many cultures for centuries, from Chinese decorative knots to Arabian macrame. Sailors used to pass the time tying knots using macrame techniques to create beautiful objects such as hammocks or belts that they would then sell when they reached land.
With decorative embroidery threads, making friendship bracelets are a great way to pass the time while making something nice for a friend. Traditionally, when a friendship bracelet is given, a wish is made. Once tied to the wrist of a friend, the bracelet is supposed to be worn until it falls off from age and use in order to honor the hard work that went into making it. At the moment the bracelet falls off, the wish is supposed to come true.
The Bracelet Book offers a wide variety of free patterns to create colorful friendship bracelets. The patterns can be a bit complicated to read, but once you figure the out, there are hundreds of designs. For beginners, they even have many of their patterns on how to videos to help you get started. Even more videos can be found in their Videos section.
Adding beading to your friendship bracelet is an easy way to add a little bling, but you need to choose a pattern that lends itself to the addition of beads such as a chevron. Instructables has a great tutorial with detailed instructions for how and where to place your beads.
Chinese Ladder friendship bracelets are so simple even the younger kids can make them and are great for working on around a campfire or other locations where there is low light as they do not take a lot of concentration or finesse. Instructions for a simple Chinese Ladder can be found on Design Dazzle.