Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Black Friday Mochibrand Deal 20% off sitewide...

The Limited Edition VENOM mochi is still available from Mochibrand and there's a 20% Black Friday deal starting tonight and good through 11:59PM Friday(CST) by using the code 14BLACK20OFF, which is good sitewide.

So, even if the VENOM mochi drawstring backpack with Stormdrane logo isn't quite your style, they might have something else that you may like for yourself or as gifts for friends and family.

I hope everyone has a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mid-November Tyings...

A couple more projects tied this month with pewter and black oxide Vinnie Garoon Cowboy Beads that I received from Schmuckatelli Co., include a paracord bracelet with one of the beads added in, and some ladder-like stitching, and a pocket knife fob with a lanyard/diamond/boatswain's whistle knot and a small gaucho knot tied with 0.9mm cord around the cord ends.

The bracelet was tied first, with the pewter bead added to the black paracord core strands, then looped onto one 1/2" side release buckle end, then the other and adjusted for size, and tied in the Solomon bar/cobra stitch/Portuguese sinnet pattern.

Then I used a strand of 1.18mm olive drab micro cord, started up from the underside to anchor one end, laying the strand down across the top of the bracelet up to the bead, then under the core strands up and laid back across the top again towards the end where I started.

Once there, the cord was stitched under the core strands then back up and across and down again, for a step of the ladder-like pattern, under again to the next knot of the bracelet, going up and over and down over the strand running down the length of the bracelet, under the cord and the same with the other side, and repeated that pattern along the bracelet knots until I reached the bead.  I did a few half hitches side to side underneath the bead to continue the pattern on the other half of the bracelet.

If I had run the micro cord though the bead with the paracord strands before tying the paracord bracelet, I could have avoided working it under the bead, but this was just a random project, so it could probably be done at least a couple of different ways to end up with the same finished look.

I added a black oxide cowboy skull bead to the lanyard knot fob which is still a favorite and I enjoy tying them.  Adding the gaucho knot with 0.9mm cord over the end strands gives the fob a bit of a different look, but West Country or common whipping don't look half bad either...

Lanyard knot video:
Gaucho knot video:
Limited Edition VENOM Mochi drawstring backpacks with Stormdrane logo are still available from!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Whiskey bottle neck knot work...

I used up some leftover strands of cord to tie a few Turk's head knots around a whiskey bottle and the few mini single serve bottles that came in a gift pack with it.

I had to untangle the strands from a growing pile of trimmings, where I tend to keep even pieces just a few inches long, to make zipper pulls and whatnot so they don't go to waste.

There's a 7 lead 6 bight knot, doubled, on the larger bottle, done with some twisted cotton catfish line that came from wallyworld a few years ago, but haven't seen it there in a while.  The 7 lead 6 bight knot is raised from a 5 lead 4 bight Turk's head knot, so if you need to see how to tie that one first, look at the beginning of this gaucho knot video. ;)

The minis all got 6 lead 5 bight knots, since I hadn't tied one in a while, having learned it from Stuart Grainger's 'Creative Ropecraft' several years ago.  Three of them were done with red, brown, and black 1.4mm cord, quadrupled, and the other was tied with tan 1.8mm cord, and just tripled, which came out as less bulky than the gutted paracord pieces I'd tried first...

The Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey was alright.  I haven't tried the other flavors yet, and since I don't drink often, maybe next year, lol.  I had been looking for some 'spiced' whiskey at the local bottle shop, and they only had a couple, Fireball and Jack Daniel's, but I passed those up finally going with the Bird Dog.

And the mini single serve bottles or a flask of your favorite tasty beverage would fit nicely in a VENOM mochibag drawstring backpack. ;)

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Fan Knots on Fire

County Comm sent me a couple of their new stainless steel Peanut XL Lighters last week.  Their larger size allows for more lighter fluid stored in the reservoir, so you get much more usage out of a refill than with the smaller Peanut and Split Pea(copper, brass, titanium) versions and longer burn time if using it in candle mode.

The XL versions come with a spare o-ring and a couple of extra flints that you can tuck in the bottom of the lighter to have handy for replacement when the one in use wears down.  The o-rings also help with keeping the lighter fluid from evaporating when the cap is screwed down.

I followed Mabel Marble's video tutorial for tying  a couple of the 5 lead 9 bight fan knots, with gutted paracord around one of the lighters.  With the smooth surface I needed a strip of extreme tape around the body and cap of the lighter to keep the tightened knots from sliding off.

 Whenever I see someone find a zippo lighter, in a TV show/movie, that hasn't been used in weeks/months/years and it lights right up, I call shenanigans, cause folks with experience know that unless the lighter is sealed in an airtight container, the fluid tends to have long since evaporated.  
Another recent project was tying a pineapple knot with bookend gaucho knots around a black TAC Link carabiner with black and red 1/16" cord, for attachment to my Stormdrane logo Limited Edition VENOM mochi drawstring backpack.

The red aluminum waterbottle with storage compartment on the bottom, shown with my bag in the photo, is the same one I've had for a few years, mentioned in a previous blog post.

I bought the red hand towel to hang on the bag, as demonstrated in the Mochibrand demo, cause fans of 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' know how useful they can be.

Even though I haven't smoked a cigar in over three years now, I still keep lighters handy for melting ends on cord work, lighting candles/incense, and stored in my truck/home/backpack/pouches/bug-out-bags for EDC or zombie apocalypse applications.  One of these XL SS Peanut Lighters is going in my VEMON bag's zippered compartment.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

ABoK #802, A two-strand lanyard knot...

As knot #802 in 'The Ashley Book of Knots', Ashley says it has "...somewhat the character of the diamond knot.", found on page 145 of the book, and is a two-strand version of knot #758, Captain Charles W. Smith's Sinnet Knot.

I added a couple of gaucho knots with 0.9mm cord over the paracord end strands exiting the knot, and would use this one as a zipper pull, keyfob, or knife/flashlight lanyard...


And if you haven't seen it yet, check out my collaboration project with Mochibrand on the Limited Edition VENOM mochi by Stormdrane drawstring backpack.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fall projects...

County Comm sent me a care package this month, including a couple of the Waterproof Stainless Steel Pico Pulls, Grab & Go First Aid Kit, a couple of 100 foot hanks of Para-tape Ultra Compact Cord in black and ACU Digital Camo, and a red/black Waterproof Delrin Pico Pull that I added to my Limited Edition VENOM Mochibag.

I used the red/black Pico Pull on a short loop of gutted red paracord(tucked/sewn together) to replace the adjustable buckle pull tab on the VENOM bag, adding a few gaucho knots, tied with black and red 0.9mm cord.  I put the cool Grab & Go First Aid Kit in the zippered pouch of the bag.

I tied a couple of zipper pull/keyfobs with the stainless Pico Pulls.  First a small gutted loop of paracord was run through the pull lanyard hole, tucked into itself and securely sewn together with needle and thread.  That left a small loop at the other end for a small split ring, then more knot work was done over the paracord, like the example shown with a long 4 bight Turk's head knot, which was done with gutted navy blue paracord, and orange 0.9mm cord added in with the pineapple knot interweave.

And did some West Country Whipping with gutted 425 licorice paracord(red/black) with ends trimmed/melted, over a fixed loop(sewn together) of gutted 550 paracord(4 inch leftover scrap), attached to the other stainless steel pico pull.  This one has a half dozen Benadryl inside.

The Para-tape is the paracord outer sheath, flattened and without any inner strands, and is still fairly strong cord on its own(250lb test).  It's good for utility uses or for knotting projects where you might have planned to gut the cord anyway and toss the remains.

If I don't end up using those hanks for a possible paracord weaving project that would require a very long length of gutted cord(on the planned to-do list), I may keep one compact hank in the truck glove box and the other in a bug-out-bag. Although I have other paracord with the inner strands intact for just-in-case, I like having the extra cord around and that it takes up less storage space.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

In the mail this week...

I received a production version of the VENOM mochi limited edition with my name/logo on it this week.  The logo is a nice size, not too large, running down alongside one side seam.

I think Mochibrand has done a great job on the bag with the stitched paracord handle and the zipper pulls, and there's potential for further modding by the customer, like adding a favorite lanyard bead, as I did with mine, a Kiko Tiki bead from Schmuckatelli Co., or maybe tying a replacement pull for the adjustable buckle latch...

The empty backpack folds up into a nice tight package, for storage or carrying clipped to a belt loop until needed, with an accessory like the Link carabiner.

Mochibrand also offers Sternum Straps, and a couple of paracord items, the New & Key Leashes.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

VENOM mochi by Stormdrane

Last year, Mochibags had a successful Kickstarter campaign on reinventing the drawstring backpack. A few months ago they contacted me about doing a collaboration on a bag, and after a lot of back and forth ideas, there's finally a Stormdrane limited edition of their Adventure series packs.

Meet the VENOM mochi, with black and red accent color scheme, black ultralight utility ropes with red tracer thread, red paracord zipper pull loop tied with an extended two-strand Matthew Walker knot, featuring a red utility cord stitched classic Solomon bar/cobra stitch/Portuguese sinnet paracord handle, and a screen printed 'Stormdrane' logo.

If you're familiar with drawstring type backpacks, these are top of the line in workmanship and materials, assembled in the U.S.A.

Mochibag demo:

Demo from mochibags on Vimeo.

How to fold a Mochibag video demonstration:

Fold from mochibags on Vimeo.

Photos from this blog post credit & © Copyright 2014 Mochibrand 


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Vinnie Garoon Cowboy Beads from Schmuckatelli Co.

Early last week I received some of the new Vinnie Garoon Cowboy Beads, in pewter and black oxide finishes, from Schmuckatelli Co.

I've had the chance to try them out with a variety of paracord knot work, including a standard double button knot, that my friend, Manny had sent me a video tutorial for, that he came across a couple of weeks ago.

Another knot tying friend, Knotty Notions, provided some links to Chinese and French tutorials, in the comments of the above mentioned video tutorial, including a single strand version of the knot, that has the look of an expanded Celtic Button Knot.

See knot #790 in 'The Ashley Book of Knots' for a similar, if not the same knot, as the double button, but tied with a mandrel and pins instead of in hand...

I bought a couple of variations of arrowhead bolo tie tips(may not show up in search results if out of stock), that I found on etsy, to try out with the new beads in place of a slider medallion.  I added a couple of small Gaucho knots to one, tied with 0.9mm cord, just above where the paracord fits into the tips.  These are glue in type tips, where there are other types of tips that crimp onto the cord ends.

I was thinking of braiding some leather for the bolo tie, but it would have to be really thin/flat for a loop of it to fit through the skull bead's hole.  I don't want to order some only to find out that it might not work, so I'll wait until I get a chance to look first hand at what Hobby Lobby or Michael's craft store has available and if there is something suitable.  You can buy braided leather cord in different colors for bolo ties/bracelets/necklaces, but that'd be cheating, lol...

My digital camera's memory card just up and died, so this bolo tie variation happens to be the last photo I managed to get off it that wasn't corrupted.  I still have the old SD card somewheres 'round abouts, so I'll hunt it down and hope it works...

I tied a couple of single strand inline double button knots, in place of some tie tips, for this black paracord bolo tie, with a pewter Vinnie Garoon Cowbead Bead facing forward and a black oxide bead facing back, and I think it kinda makes it look like the skull bead is wearing a shirt/bandana.

I had tried a two-bight Turk's head knot first, but decided I'd probably try that later on with gutting enough of the inner strands to do the ends with firesteels tucked inside each tip, so I could call it a 'Survival Bolo Tie', lol.

Another knot tying friend made a bracelet for me and mailed it to me during their visit to Yellowstone last week.  Here's a couple of quotes of the bracelet description from an email they sent me.

"So when playing around with C├ęsar’s NxN checkered patterns using the tool you made me aware of (Gridmaker) I mixed a 3x3 checker with a 3 pass Gaucho and I don’t know why but it just struck me that you’d like it (or at least I hope you do)."

"A 3x3 Checkered at either end, complete with O2 Gaucho bights, that transitions to a 3Pass Gaucho in the middle. It took great care in the design and start point to ensure that the Gaucho centre section is perfectly centralised on the leather blank.  Built from a base 54Px5B standard TH (green), then all of the pattern transition ‘magic’ is done with the navy interweave, so the final knot is 162Px15B. I get my leather blanks and unassembled press-studs/snaps from Tandy Leather because most pre-made ones are too small once the knot is added. So I also cut and assembled the leather blank & skull snap to provide to fit you – I normally aim for slightly loose because slightly tight is a disaster. "

 Thank you, Phil, much appreciated! :)