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Macrame Is an Easy Art Form

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How To Do Macrame, the Art of Decorative Knotting

by Penny Swift

Macrame work


We show you how to do macrame with a handy YouTube video. Macrame is known as the art of decorating with knots, macramé has been in and out of favor since the 13th century. While it is not currently wildly popular with crafters, macramé kits and products are marketed on the Internet.

The Origin of Macramé

It is believed that macrame was originally established as a craft by 13th century weavers in Arabia, and that the name came from an Arabic word migramah – an ornamental fringe or embroidered veil. The knots were used to tie off thread-ends in rugs that had been woven by hand, to prevent them from fraying.

As various peoples went about conquering different lands, the art (or craft) of macramé spread to Spain and then to other parts of Europe. It was first seen in England during the reign of Queen Mary (wife of William the Orange) during the late 17th century. By then the craft was being used for less practical purposes.

The Role of Sailors in the Craft of Macrame

Essentially a practical skill, the craft of macramé was used to both make and to mend fishing nets. Having learned the art of knotting, sailors used their time at sea to make more decorative items using the craft. Back on shore, they would sell or barter the items they had made while they were away.

In the 19th century, American and British seamen referred to macrame as “square knotting”, and used the craft to make hammocks, as well as bell fringes and belts.

Macrame Becomes a Decorative Art

macrame book

In Victorian times macramé became immensely popular, largely (it appears) due to a book entitled Sylvia’s Book of Macramé Lace, published in 1882. The author told her readers to “work rich trimmings for black and colored costumes, both for home wear, garden parties, seaside ramblings and balls – fairylike adornments for household and underlines” and more. And they listened and did what she commanded.

Victorian homes were full of all sorts of bits and pieces, and macramé was no exception. Favorite items included wall hangings and plant hangers.

Then the craze began to wane.

What goes up usually comes down … only to be rediscovered. And in the 1970s macramé re-emerged on the handicraft scene.

The short-lived Serendipity Project (a good idea) alludes to a “visual symbolism of the knotted string and woolen construction”, and reminds us of a Hamlyn book (Art of Macrame by Joan Fisher) that was packed full of a myriad of macrame patterns and instructions. There was even a full-on, supposedly African mask that could be made from white wool. If nothing else, it gave us a good idea of all the different uses to which macrame could be put, from (not very practical) bikinis to (rather unsightly) veils.

It became popular again in the 1990s due to innovative new materials and techniques that could be used for the craft. It is not currently in the top ten most popular crafts.>

Learn how to do Macrame Knots with this YouTube video below.

Kittyisnice2525 gives us a little tutorial on how to tie a few Macrame knots.



10 Responses

  1. […] Macrame Is an Easy Art Form […]

  2. Janek

    Your local hardware store will have special ceiling hooks but you should try to find the ceiling timber that the ceiling boards are fixed to and screw into those.

  3. Mackenzie P

    I just purchased net for hanging my plant from ceiling. I am using an s hook, but it keeps falling. What do I use to hang the Macrame?

  4. Ryan Dunn

    What is rule of thumb for knowing how long to cut the cords for a project ? If I want to make a finished 7 1/2 inch bracelet, how long do I cut the cords, and how long should the inner 2 be if I want to finish the ends with barrel clasps ?

  5. Paul M

    I used to Macramé – but only simple basic knots (for belts and chokers) and I have forgotten most of what I knew…it was only about 20 years or so ago 🙂 so, I’d love to find a place in San Diego that is teaching Macramé – if anyone knows of a place. Or, if you can offer some good guide books, or web pages with good instructions that would be helpful too. Thanks!

    I’ve tried doing searches on the web for Macramé in San Diego but the results were less than satisfactory. Hoping local hobbiests will tell me where they are teaching this old craft as well as where they purchase supplies.

  6. Scott Bull

    This is my first time doing macrame, i want to learn the first steps to macrame a lawn chair, anyone have a pattern or step by step?

  7. norrin_shadowwolf

    Hi! Going on a boring road-trip, and want to make a Macrame Bracelet. No beads, just a normal string one. A Link would be GREAT! I don’t want one that has a VIDEO! I just want TEXT and PICTURES would be nice 🙂
    Thanks In Advance =D
    (Make sure its a website that doesn’t have a video…)

  8. Janek

    Hi there is a step-by-step how to make a macrame cross on this site here: free-macrame-patterns.com/cross-design

  9. XplicitzZ

    I’ve seen 3″ – 4″ macrame crosses made of twine somewhere, & would like to create a few to give to my friends and others. Where are there any online instructions for creating such crosses?
    Thank a bunch ahead of time.

  10. DuckieM10

    To all art/craft lovers available! I’ve purchased a roll of twine & create jewelry nevertheless I can’t handle the smell which comes with it. Is there a method to do away with it? Thanks!

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