How the Ancient Hawaiians kept their Car Keys (Square Knot Sinnet)

I don’t know about you, but I’m always in a quandary about where to keep my car key. Luckily, I live in a place where I can leave my stuff on the beach without much worry, except for the occasional morning drunk or metal detector fanatic, both with pirate mentalities that cause them not to bother to look around for owners, of course.
I’m not one to trust the pathetic elastic cord loop that comes stashed away in a nether region pocket of my boardshort or wetsuit (which I frequently forget to Velcro or zip closed on top of it), and since I’m a woman, in the Summer, I may wish to forgo the boardshorts to ensure a comfortable, wide empty radius around me for surfing. So where does that leave me? I could put it on a plastic coil key chain around my wrist banging the rail with every paddle, or I could wear it as a necklace, much like I see so frequently among the surfer crowd.
I decided on the latter, making the keys into a makeshift Hawaiian or Maori “hook” like on lots of popular jewelry.
First, made I copy of my original car key at the hardware store without the rubber top, only the flat metal blank. Next, I picked up some cording, this time in bamboo, that was pretty substantial, not the thin beading cord that’s sold some places:

Bamboo Cording and the Metal Key I’ll use

I’m planning on making an approximate 16″ choker that can expand enough to take off over my big fat head. Keeping those measurements in mind, you may wish to add some more length for a guy’s necklace to be on the safe side- there’s always plenty of cord provided on a standard card of cord.
Next, I took some of the cord and cut a little over 3 yards of it, folding into three lengths to make three strands. At about 9 inches from one bitter end, I made an overhand knot.

Making one end of the necklace

Now I’m ready to start the meat of the necklace. I’m going to measure out around 5 yards of a different color, fold it half UNDER the over hand knot I made on the 3 cord bundle that is taped down to a surface, and start making a simple square knot sinnet chain. For help with this, look at a previous project I did.

Beginning of the sinnet chain

I ended up doing this for a length of around 5 inches until I decided to add a bit of embellishment. I took a large hole metal bead, strung it onto the 3 cord (burgundy) core, and continued to do two square knots after the bead. I did this two more times:

Three metal beads within the sinnet

Now I’m ready to incorporate the key. In this case, I have a top bar to use, but of course, this can be done with any key that has a significant hole a the top of the hey, as most do. I’m going to continue doing a square knot sinnet, but I’m including the key on the left side of each wrap:

Note how the left working cord goes UNDER the key and the right working cord goes OVER the key and UNDER the right working cord. The core ALWAYS stays to the right of the key when working
A sinnet worked over the key

For a key like this, I’m not going to work a sinnet completely across the top bar, but I am going to get in several passes to ensure it has a good hold of the key. After that, I’m going to do two square knots not including the key, then slide a bead on, do two more knots, etc. to match the other side, and continue until the length is the same on the other side.
Once I do my final square knot of the sinnet, I’m going to dab a bit of E6000 (waterproof glue) on the knot to ensure it stays in place.
Next, I’m going to cut the remaining tripled cord thread to match the length of the other side. Then, I’m going to tightly braid each end and finish with a double overhand knot as close to the end as possible, securing that with some E6000.

Braided core

To make the closure, I am going to take each side and overlap them, one going upwards, one going downwards, and take a little bit of the cord I used for the sinnet and start making a short sinnet of no more than 6-8 knots. This will serve as a slide that will allow you to take the necklace off of your head then tighten it back up by pulling the cords in opposite directions.

Starting to make a short sinnet over the two cord ends

Trim the ends of the sinnet ends, but put a tiny amount of E6000 ON TOP of the last knot you made. You don’t want to glue the knot to the cords.
Here’s the finished necklace:

As a key chain

Word of advice: as nasty as this sounds, pop the key in your mouth after getting out of the water to dissolve any salt lingering on the key so it doesn’t completely hose the lock cylinders in your car. RINSE it off after every use too just like you do with your baggies, right? RIGHT!?!?
I’ll proudly wear my new necklace as a descendant of the ancient and little known Toyota tribe. You can steal my roof racks, but a curse will come upon you when you find that they will not fit properly.

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