A history of macrame
Macrame has been traced back to Arabic weavers of the 13th Century. It is a form of textile making that uses knotting techniques without the use of needles and hooks to create decorative geometric and free form patterns. It is a very versatile craft and all sorts of items can be created by using it, such as, jewellery, decorations, clothing and lampshades.
The art of macrame arrived in Spain after the Moorish Conquest and was then taken to Italy before spreading to Europe. Towards the end of the 17th century macrame was brought to England to the court of Queen Mary 2nd, who taught it to her ladies in waiting.
Macrame was also used by British sailors in the 19th century to make hammocks, bell fringes and belts whilst they were at sea. This helped them to pass the time and gave them items to trade when they arrived at port.
In England, Macrame was very popular with the Victorians and therefore most households contained many items made by this technique.
Over the years macrame became unpopular but in recent times this ancient and decorative craft has risen in popularity again, making a welcomed comeback.
Tools of the trade
Tools Used in Macramé
Macramé is a knotting technique used to create decorative items such as wall hangings, plant hangers, and jewellery. The following are the main tools used in macramé:
Cord or Rope
Cotton cord: This is the most commonly used material in macramé, as it is soft, durable, and easy to knot.
Hemp cord: Hemp cord is a natural fiber and has a rough texture, making it ideal for use in bohemian-style macramé pieces.
Fabric scissors: Scissors with a sharp point are necessary for making precise cuts in the cord or rope.
Clips or Pegs
Clothespins or bulldog clips: These are used to hold the cord or rope in place while working on a project.
Wooden pegs: Wooden pegs can be used as an alternative to clips to hold the cords in place.
Ruler or Measuring Tape
Ruler or measuring tape: A ruler or measuring tape is used to ensure the cords are cut to the correct length.
Tapestry needle: This needle has a large eye and a blunt end, making it ideal for threading the cord or rope through the knots.
By using these tools, you can create a wide range of macramé projects, from simple plant hangers to more complex wall hangings. With practice and patience, you can create beautiful and unique pieces that can be used as decor or given as gifts.
Several materials can be used for macrame. In recent years macrame jewellery has become very popular and many very fine cords 1.0mm thick or less have become available. This produces very detailed pieces of macrame whilst allowing for pieces to be the small size necessary for jewellery. This is usually in the form of waxed cotton cord which is available in several different colours. Another good material for this though usually thicker is rattail made either from natural fibres or a nylon equivalent. It is also available in many colours - Anne Pearson Designs.
Macrame cord like leather, cotton, jute, hemp, flax linen cord, parachute cord or satin.
Macrame is all about knots.
It is possible to create finished items just using cord and a combination of knots.
If you want to learn more about macrame these are a few of the common knots to start with
There are many books and internet tutorials showing how to do each of these knots. Once these basics have been mastered using variations and combinations of these knots gives endless design possibilities - Anne Pearson Designs.
Ideas and inspiration
Here are a few ideas for handmade macramé items that one can make and sell at craft fairs:
1. Wall hangings - These are a popular choice amongst macramé enthusiasts. They can come in a variety of sizes and designs, from minimalist to complex. They can be made using natural or coloured cords, and can involve a range of knotting techniques, such as square knots, spiral knots, and loop knots.
2. Plant hangers - Macramé plant hangers can be created to fit pots of different sizes and can be used to display indoor or outdoor plants. Adding wooden beads or tassels can provide extra decorative flair.
3. Home décor - Macramé can be used to make a variety of home décor items, including cushion covers, curtains, and table runners, adding texture and interest to any room in the house.
4. Jewellery - Macramé jewellerry is a great way to experiment with new knotting techniques on a smaller scale. Necklaces, bracelets, and earrings can be made using a range of cords and colours.
5. Bags and pouches - Thicker cords can be used to create macramé bags and pouches, decorated with tassels, beads, or pom-poms. These can serve as practical and stylish storage solutions, or as gifts for friends and family.
6. Pet accessories - Macramé collars, leashes, and toys can be made for furry friends as well!
Whether a seasoned macramé artist or just starting out, there is a project to suit all levels and interests, allowing one to make and sell a range of handmade macramé items that are both functional and decorative.