A handfasting is a wedding or betrothal ceremony (read more about handfastings over here). But if you want to get handfasted you need cords. Here's how you can make your own…
I made our own tassled, loop-braided handfasting cords. For anyone else interested in making some like this, here’s my documented process, as well as some helpful tips I learned along the way.
To make the cords, I used six yards of 5mm satin ribbon and one skein of embroidery floss for each cord. Here you can see the piles of ribbon matched with their coordinating floss. I made six cords for our ceremony. You may use a different number according to yours. My cords only came out to be about 18″ long (not including tassels) and so if I were doing it again I would start with 7 or 8 yards of ribbon. That seems like a huge amount and a lot of work, but it really isn’t — each of these took less than an hour to make start to finish, and I enjoyed working on them in the evenings before going to bed at night — it was a meditative project.
Cut off about 24″ of floss from each skein, being careful to leave the rest of the skein looped. You'll use two, 12″ pieces of floss to tie your tassels when you are done.
Cut your skein of floss roughly in half. It doesn't have to be perfect, you'll neaten the edges later. But do try to keep the two halves mostly even.
You'll be left with one, 2′ length of floss (24″) and two halves of the remainder of the skein, like so.
Take the length of your ribbon and fold it neatly in half — this will be tricky because the ribbon is so long, just remember that “neat” is relative. Then make a loop with the folded end of the ribbon, like so. You'll thread one of your tassel pieces through the loop, as shown below:
Now you'll take one of the free edges of the ribbon and insert it into the loop that you've made with your tassel. Use the ribbon half that is behind the half closest to the loop, and try to make sure that the ribbon isn't twisted. Pull gently, tightening as you go, until all that's left is a small loop about ½” big (you can totally make it a bit bigger if that's easier for you).
Then make a loop in the other ribbon half, and poke the edge of that loop through the first loop. Tighten, repeat.
It begins to take shape very quickly.
Sooner than you realize, you'll have a nice length.
When you have about this much ribbon left (maybe a little more, if finicky detail stuff isn't your forte, but I promise, this is easy!), you're ready to finish and attach the other tassel.
Catch the remaining half of your embroidery floss in your ribbon and loop as usual. Then take the remaining two lengths of ribbon and thread them through the last remaining loop — don't loop, just feed the edges through. Pull gently to tighten, and make sure everything's secure. Tie your ribbon ends in a double knot. You could also seal it with clean nail polish if you're concerned about fraying — I didn't, it's up to you.
Cut your reserved length of embroidery floss in half.
Tie the reserved floss around your tassel. For the end bit, make sure to conceal the knotted ribbon inside the tassel. Just play with it until it looks right.
Do this with both edges and ta-da! You're finished! Now you may, or may not, chose to do another cord.