How To Make A 4-String Lanyard
If you've never made a lanyard before, this is the place to start.
4-string lanyards are the simplest- the basic stitch the others are built off of.
If you learn best by reading, there's plenty of text instructions here.
If you learn better by looking at pictures, the pictures here are step-by-step- there isn't much of anything in the instructions that isn't also in the pictures.
Click on any of the pictures to see a bigger version.
I've never been especially stingy about much string I use.
At camp they always gave us 1 yard of each color.
Since then, i've always used the spools of string, measuring off one arm breadth- hand to hand with arms spread out like a cross.
In my case, I end up with about 5 - 5 1/2 feet.
4-String Lanyard, Straight Stitch
First thing to do is find the middle of each string.
Fold the strings in half.
Then pinch real hard at the center.
This will make a slight crease to mark where the middle is.
Cross the strings at the middles.
No, every particle in your body will not instantaneously explode at the speed of light.
But lanyards are know to be good at warding off Yugoslavian fashion models.
Pinch the strings where they cross like this.
Remember that, in this case, the red string is on top.
Bring one of the bottom strings across.
In this and the following steps, the only important thing as far as how you hold it is to not let go of the middles you're pinching together.
Bring the other other bottom string across the other way.
Take one of the upper strings (in this case, red), send it over then under the green strings.
Pull the red string through, just far enough to take up the slack.
Bring the other red string through, over the first green and under the second.
Look at the picture here.
See, where the red string is coming out, how the green loop will stop it from falling out to the right?
It has to go through the green loop like this or the stitch won't work.
Pull this red string through, just far enough to take up the slack.
This 'over and under' aspect is the big thing to learn- once you have the idea down, everything else follows from this.
Get ahold of all 4 strings.
While you can, of course, hold it however you like, i've found this the best way because it allows me to pull each string at roughly 90 degree angles- the natural directions the strings are coming out of the lanyard from.
Pull the strings taut, but not so hard that you start to stretch any of the strings.
This is what the lanyard should look like after 4 stitches.
Once you've got a few stitches done the body of the lanyard will give you something to hold the first 2 strings of each stitch against.
4-String Lanyard, Circle Stitch
This is how the first 2 strings cross over in a straight stitch.
See how they go straight across?- Each string goes back and forth over itself.
To do a circle stitch, send the red strings across diagonally.
This is the big difference between straight and circle stitches.
Everything else- even the most complex circle stitches, are based on this.
When you send the first green string across, it goes diagonally too.
Pull the green string through, taking up the slack.
See how that holds down the red string on the right?
Send the other green string across, over then under.
Pull the green string through, taking up the slack.
See how it holds down the red string on the left?
Pull all 4 strings taut, tightening and closing the stitch.
Several circle stitches in a row will look like this.
Circle stitches travel around in one direction.
Straight stitches switch directions.
So if you're doing circle stitches, then do a single straight stitch, then go back to doing circle stitches, the circle will change directions like this.
Twisties And Clips
Twisties happen when one of the strings gets twisted and that twist gets held in place by a stitch.
What typically happens is that you'll notice it only several stitches after when the twistie happened.
It will look bad and you will be annoyed because whenever you look at your finished lanyard, you will see a glaring mistake.
The problem is that if you undo several of the subsequent stitches in order to go back and correct this, you'll find the strings want to stay bent wrong and are more likely to stretch.
As for when a string stretches, you have to be very careful if you don't want it to break.
When you buy your lanyard string, look at the different types and colors- you'll see some thinner strings (usually in very bright colors).
Avoid these, as they have a much greater chance of stretching.
This is the clip I encountered most often at summer camp.
Clips are nice because you can attach your lanyard to something like a keyring or you can attach several lanyards together so they're not just floating around loose.
If you want to use a clip, be certain to start with it on the first stitch, like in the picture here.
It is possible, but difficult and damaging to the lanyard to add the clip after you've finished the lanyard.
The problem with clips is that they cause wear to the strings where the 2 come in contact.
Over time the clip will break through the bottom 2 strings of your lanyard.
Then your lanyard will start to unravel or, at least, will have an annoying imperfection (like a twistie) that will bug you whenever you look at it.
If you still want to attach your lanyard to something (again, like a keyring), the best way i've found to minimize wear is to use the smallest keyring circle you can find in place of a clip.