What Is Macramé? And The Types of Macramé Knots
Macrame is a crafting technique made by knotting threads or cords in a geometrical pattern to produce various decorative items including textiles. In simple words, it’s the art of tying decorative knots with your hands. The only tool required is a mounting ring to keep the item in place while working. Macramé can be used to make a variety of things ranging from macramé plant holders and macramé wall art to jewellery, purses, and even clothing items. Inexpensive supplies like cotton twine, jute, hemp, or yarn are used to create both functional and aesthetic pieces. This art form has gained popularity in recent years with crafters and artists coming up with innovative and creative ways to take macrame beyond the basic plant holder and wall art.
Origin of This Fascinating Knotting Technique
Macramé, believed to have originated in the 13th century, comes from the Arabic word ‘migramah’, which translates to ‘fringe.’ It was long crafted by sailors, especially to cover anything from knife handles, bottles to parts of ships. The craze for macramé faded, to regain popularity again during the 60s and 70s as a means to make wall hangings, articles of clothing, macramé curtains, bedspreads, small jean shorts, tablecloths, macrame for plants, and other furnishings. This age-old practice has been in and out of popularity for thousands of years. However, macramé is here to stay because of its contemporary patterns that have revitalized the historic knotting techniques.
Basic Tips That You Should Know Before you Get Started
- It’s very important to equip yourself with good supplies. You’ll need a pair of scissors, a macrame cord and a measuring tape to cut cords.
- Popular choices for cords are cotton, Jute, and wax, but for a beginner, a hemp cord is recommended as it’s easy to undo.
- Use double half hitch macrame knots in your patterns as it helps to unknot faster simply by pulling the anchor cord instead of unknotting them one by one.
- To keep the ends from fraying, tie a knot at the end of the cord or use clear nail polish on the ends of the cords to stiffen it.
- Always add a little bit more length to the cord before cutting it to avoid running out. It’s awful to run out of macrame cord when you’re almost done.
- The key to a polished look for your piece is uniform knotting and spacing, hence practice your techniques and you’ll be well on your way.
Different Types of Macramé Knots
Knotting is the key to macramé and there are numerous macramé knots to try from. Let’s take a look at the most commonly used knots in macramé.
Half Hitch Knot:
This is one of the simplest and versatile knots used to create wavy patterns in macramé wall art. The working cord passes in front and then loops around the filler cord, passing it through the loop created by the working cord.
Step 1: Pass the end of the rope up through the ring from below.
Step 2: Bring it down and behind the remaining end or standing part of the rope.
Double Half Hitch Knot:
The double half hitch is the knot that takes your work to the next level by helping in creating different structures and shapes in macrame. Knots can be tied vertically, horizontally, diagonally or in a free form.
Step 1: Form a clockwise loop around the pole, with the working end of the rope on top.
Step 2: Bring the working end through the loop.
Step 3: Get the working end down and to the left and loop it under the standing end.
Step 4: Pull the working end through the loop just formed tightly.
Step 5: Slide the knot along the standing end up to the post.
Larks Head Knot:
The Larks Head Knot also known as the cow hitch is one of the most frequently used decorative knots in Macrame. Using the Larks knot you can make some beautiful macramé earrings and attach cords in macramé beads.
Step 1: Take both ends of the cord and join them together, folding the cord in half.
Step 2: Push the folded loop over and behind your dowel.
Step 3: Pull the ends up and secure a lark’s head knot through the loop.
The Square knot is one of the most common and important decorative knots used in Macrame. Many variations and patterns can be made using this knot alone or in combination with other types of Macrame knots. The square knot is made in two parts.
Step 1: Start with two Lark’s Head Knots.
Step 2: Take the outer left cord and cross it over the two middle cords.
Step 3: Place the outer right cordon on top of the left cord and under the two middle cords.
Step 4: Loop it through the hole on the left side and pull tight.
Step 5: You have now completed one side of a half square knot.
The spiral knot is a square knot used to tie repeatedly to form a spiral that twists down to create a beautiful DNA spiral. This technique is generally used when creating plant hangers.
Step 1: Start out by bending the left working cord and cross it over the filler cords.
Step 2: Then take it under the right working cord.
Step 3: Pass the right working cord behind the filler cords.
Step 4: Then pull it through the loop created by the left working cord.
Step 5: Keep pulling on both cords repeating the above steps until the desired length.
Macramé art began as a necessity in ancient history, but now it has new meanings with positive impacts. From strengthening your hands and arms to therapeutic effect on health, the macramé project can be calming to the mind, body, and spirit. Try these simple knots and you will be surprised with yourself as it makes some gorgeous patterns.