Today I sat myself down and decided to teach myself to make cowry hair falls for belly dancing. First I took inventory of things I already had in my bead box and in my jewelry box. At first I was going to make a matching pair but I scrapped that idea because I don't have enough cowry shells. With any luck I'll be able to make 2 solos instead of one pair.
I started with a 9 yard strand of black yarn and a 9 yard strand of fuzzy variegated white and blue yarn. I laid them together, evened up the ends, folded them in half and tied a 2" loop in the center. That gave me four working strands. I looped it over a nail so I could keep tension on it while doing the knotwork. Now I'm in the process of stringing and knotting various items. I'm hoping to make a fall 3 feet long. Right now I'm about 1 foot into it. But hope springs eternal. Some of the cowry shells have holes that are too small so I'll have to make the holes bigger...either with my needlenose pliers or the dremel or something. I'll keep you posted.
Update: I ended up using cowry shells, brass bells, pre-made tassels, bone beads, and a bone charm, and a cross section of seashell.
A bead reamer came in very handy for making the pre-drilled cowrie shell holes bigger. I made a needle threader out of wire and used it to pull the yarn through the holes. If you need to know anything else just ask. See the photos in the later post. Basically I used macrame' knots between everything. I didn't use any braiding because I'm working with four strands, not three and I didn't want to relearn four strand braiding when macrame' works perfectly well.