THE PERFECTLY UNPECUNIARY PECULIAR
POCKET PACKET PROMOTING PIZZO
(The Pocket Guide To Macrame)
Creativity is a drug I cannot live without.... (C B Demille)
"With new crafts, like all skills, remember!: We all, ...usually, start with fairly "rough-looking" pieces..."
(your talent may make you an exception to this rule...
...in which case you'll probably end up having to work far harder than the rest of us...), (PTK)
"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it will become a butterfly..." (Buckminster Fuller)
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION TO MACRAME
MACRAME DIVERSITY CONTEST
THE ORIGINS AND HISTORY OF MACRAME
TOOLS AND WORKING
TYPES OF MACRAME
BASIC MACRAME TECHNIQUES
AFTERWORD: WHAT NEXT...
PART TWO: APPENDICES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
APPENDIX 1: SELLING
APPENDIX 2: RECOMMENDED READING
APPENDIX 3: FURTHER ONFORMATION: MACRAME ON THE NET
APPENDIX 4: GALLERY OF MACRAME ON DEVIANTART
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION TO MACRAME
My definition: Macrame is the craft of tying knots to produce practical and ornamental objects...
Wiki's Definition: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macrame
I have written this article, ...to be sure!, as my contribution to Project Educate's "Artisan Craft Week", but also because there is an awful lot of misconceptions and assumptions made about macrame. People have often, for example, indiscriminately called various knots by new names when they already have perfectly good ones! (using arbitrary names simply serves to confuse... and often indicates a lack of research into the subject...). Many statements are also made about the craft by those who have not done any research on the subject - and often base all their knowledge on what they think macrame is based upon a couple of 1970's pothangers or macrame owls.... This craft is as old or older than many other crafts that have more prestige than macrame has, and it's often relegated to some forgotten cobwebbed corner of the craft library / section / pantheon..., (just like it is here on DeviantART, (Hint to deviant art: Surely this craft: "Knotting & Macramé" merits a sub-category somewhere?! A group of people are not measured by numbers.. but by their quality...), where no mention is made of it in any category or sub-category..."
Macrame is, in fact, as I hope to show you, one of the most versatile and amazing crafts on the planet! Almost anything may be made using it's techniques, be that sculpture, all sorts of jewellery, practical items like bags, belts etc, abstract art, carpets, table runners, clothes, textile art, bookbinding, covers for various items, theatre props and costumes / accessories, curtains, toys for children, strategy games, (yes! really! see further down....), in fact the list is only limited by your imagination! This introduction to the craft is nowhere near exhaustive - but does, I hope, serve to give an overall idea of the scope and methodology of a craft which I feel is only now beginning to be explored imaginatively, ...and in any depth, by the craft community in a vaguely serious way...
Useful Onformation* (On this article's protocols, methodology, indexing system etc.)
In general, unless otherwise stated in the text, all notes, indicated by a increasing number of " * " 's , will be found at the bottom of that same section.
Sustainability and other eco-issues are looked at with "Materials"
All links within the main body of the article are to DA URLs.
All links that are not on the DeviantART site are gathered together at the end of the article... Please see: "Further Information"......"On The Net"
Most sections are illustrated and have their own discrete set of : "Figure " numbers and/or letter reference codes. There should be no confusion here as each set of illustrations is usually found either directly below the reference made to it in the text or gathered together in a set at the end of the relevant section. Any references made to other sections, therefore, have the section title and the actual figure reference... to direct you as efficiently as possible to the appropriate image....
There is no index to the images in the "Gallery" at the end of this present article for the same reason that each illustration accompanying the text isn't direcly credited to it's author... for my rationale..., please read the acknowledgements found just before "The Last Word", almost at the end of this essay... Thank you.
* "Online-Information"... I use this in the text so.....please be aware: it's not a "typo"...
MACRAME DIVERSITY CONTESTI started a macrame project, to be used in exactly this way, but initially just for my +watchers and, when I pop it in my group blog shortly..., for other knotters; however, when I heard the call from projecteducate for Artisans to write something as part of it's Artisan Craft Week ..and in this spirit of exploration into various crafts by the wonderful Project Educate:, I though it was entirely appropriate to "host" the contest from here...(already started btw) It's a simple: "Can you guess what it is?" Contest...
How to win: The aim is to discover the object / project I am currently making... Please: Note the small gallery of my work immediately above this section... And note that as well as framing the bottom of the "Introduction" section of this article,(to balance the top/heading pictures), ...it's there to indicate that my project, (and by inference: Macramé...), could be absolutely anything...!
Deadline: Until the 1st person gets it!... and wins the prize! or: ..."All Hallows Eve"..., whichever comes first! btw: thats a bonus clue...("ish")
There is a prize of 250 points and a journal feature...*
*(more if anyone else feels like contributing a feature or something else towards the prize fund?)
Every 6-7 days I shall insert another "picture clue" and "verbal" clue to accompany the evolving WIP deviation which can be found in my gallery, here: fav.me/d6gugz8
The artists comments under the deviation contain the contest rules and all the info required to enter
Who can enter? Anyone! as it's not limited, on this occasion, to either artisans or, members of my knotting group Bracelets-and-Knots
OK, enough with the preamble! ..let's start by scanning the origins and history, very briefly, of Macrame....
Oh yeah!... Sorry! one more thing before we begin: I had originally intended to write an article about: " "Knotting" & Macrame", but the joint subject, even on a cursory level is so vast that I've decided to limit this article to macrame... At some point I shall write a similar article focussing on the origins and forms of "Knotting" including Sailor's Knots (example: ship's bell-rope: fav.me/d25cfq7), Chinese Knotting (fav.me/d25cgyr), Korean "Maedup" (:fav.me/d35268x), and the decorative art and uses of knots including subjects like celtic knots (fav.me/d4am37t ), knots in magic and folklore.. not to mention: Musical instruments, parachutes and tennis raquets; bridge building, necktie knotting, (there are 85 distinct knots for that alone!... and you thought the "Windsor" or "Four-in-hand" were the only ones...0h! 0h! no crate of beer for that one!), climbing,and other cord-related sports, sailing and gastronomy... ("gastronomy" , btw, is not eating out with some Hollywood Boulevard "Star"! .) ...enough already! ...Phew!... he does ramble on doesn't he?... okay!, back to the matter in hand... really, I mean it!... honest!... so, with no further ado....
Except: I hope you all enjoy discovering, (or re-discovering!), this ancient and noble craft! Peter....
THE ORIGINS AND HISTORY OF MACRAME
Preamble on MacrameNobody really knows, (like so much!), where or when, exactly, this ancient craft began. I have therefore limited my exposition to the relatively recent, historical area of "The Story of Macrame" It should be said, however, that wherever humans have had an idle moment, the more curious amongst us have explored, fiddled around with, and generally stuck our noses into every nook and cranny we have come across.... (...no wonder the stellar neighbours, to us, are remaining invisible?...) This human quality has, nonetheless, been responsible for our progress..(? ... ). and I'm pretty sure that a form of macrame was practised a lot longer ago than we think it was: with, in all probability, almost all the evidence to prove the fact having vanished like so many textile, and other biodegradable examples of homo sapiens' existence on Earth.... The few bits that do remain are likely enough still hidden in some peat bog or piece of amber in a dark cave... (the 2 commonest repositories of partially or fully intact ancient archaeological textiles...)
The Etymology of MacrameThere are 2 schools of thought on the origin of the word: "Macrame"
1: A 13th Century weavers’ word, “migrammah”, meaning “Fringe” This refers to items like the decorative fringes on camels and horses which help, amongst other things, to keep the flies off them in the hot desert regions of northern Africa... these are still made nowadays and knotted versions can be found at most good saddlers...
2: “makrama(h?)”: "napkin," or "towel", a Turkish word colloquially used / distorted to describe methods of securing the ends of pieces of weaving by using the excess thread and yarn (warp) along the top and bottom edges of loomed fabrics. This finishing-off process in weaving is also, like "fringes", still very much in evidence... especially with the upsurge in artisanal hand-woven spinning and weaving... ... the two aren’t, in fact, mutually exclusive....
The Spread of MacrameOne of the earliest recorded uses of "macrame style" knotting is that used as decoration appearing in the carvings of the ancient Babylonians and Assyrians, ( thus pre-dating many other crafts.... perhaps, I say "perhaps...." only being younger than spinning and weaving.... maybe..., Macrame travelled from North Africa, with the Moors during their conquests, to Spain , and as a result of their conquests to as far north, in Europe, as Tours, it spread, firstly to the rest of France, and then throughout Europe. Sailors, in the golden age of sail from the 15th to the 19th century, helped spread the art to other places by using the long months at sea to make macramé objects for their sweethearts, or to sell or barter when stopping at various ports. They even used macramé (calling the craft "square knotting" see also"techniques" later on...) to make their own gear, like hammocks, belts, “Ditty” bags, though most of these were made of canvas, and decorative fringes. Most of you will be familiar with the late 60's to the very early 80’s "vogue" in pot-hangers or macrame owls...! There have, therefore, been a couple of revivals in the 20th century and we are experiencing a contemporary one in the 21st... which, similarly to the late 1960's/70's/early 80's two-decade resurgence, is now spreading very rapidly as an art form, as fashion accessory products at the "highest" levels - and as complete ensembles worn by people like me... oh yeah, and Ms Beyonce Knowles... at Glastonbury Festival in 2012... (see also: link to video of her in a Macramé dress further down in "Further information"....)
The History of Macrame:I haven't included a formal history of the craft here due to space constraints, but here is a link to a concise, but relatively comprehensive, illustrated article on the subject: fav.me/d4rgtaf
MATERIALS AND MEASURING
Principal materials used in macramé:Flax: This is the cord I use most because it has a crisp polished finish, is an eminently sustainable material, and is one of the very strongest natural fibres... close to hemp in that respect. It is known as "linen" in the textile industry.
Hemp: (Fig 1)Very strong natural fibre which is not the same as that used for..ahem... other purposes....more on this fibre in the next section....
Cotton: Soft, versatile, reasonably strong fibre that is smooth and creates very crisp macrame projects
Jute: The material of choice for the traditinal macrameist of the 70's era.... although, the braided variety, sold for use mostly as sash-window rope etc, has a pleasing softness and crispness for use in traditional sailor's knotwork see my "Sample Bell-Rope" here:
C-Lon: A 3ply, twisted nylon thread usually sold in 77yd reels of 0.5 & 0.7mm & .9mm. Extremely crisp cord much favoured by micro-macrame artists particularly. It is often used by Beading or Jewellry designers also...
Rayon: This is often found as an embroiderers thread as it is lustrous, regular, and available in a vast array of shades and combinations of colours, weights an styles. Originally called "Artificial Silk" it's most often used for making "cavandoli technique" "Friendship Bracelets" ( see: "Types of Macrame", lower down) It is also the material from which "Rattail" is made which is the material of choice for Chinese Knotting and some special macramé projects like being used as the "chain" for heirloom quality micro-macramé necklaces etc.
Waxed ThreadsUsed extensively for helping offset the corrosive/eroding effects of water and other liquid spills like ketchup, coffee, and that embarrassing moment when you had such an explosive belly laugh at what someone just said, that "something" escaped from your nasal cavity approaching the speed of sound and flew across the room... ending up on Great Aunt Agatha's prized Lace anti-macassars, ....that she made by hand whilst accompanying her great love as they fled the riotous Nehru vs Jinna prelude to the Indian Moslems' hunt for "A Place of Purity", [ the meaning of the words "pak-i-stan"], across the Himalayas in 1945 on the 3:30 from Jalpaiguri... and are the only mementii left of her adventures, especially put out on the tops of the armchairs in honour of you having just got your college degree/ passed your driving test / won the Downhill Cheese Race* or carried a barrel of burning tar through the village**. and surviving... we all know that one! OK..., back to our waxed threads: several types of waxed cords are available including hemp, linen and polyester.... they are usually available at good macrame stockists, mostly online, but if you have trouble finding them... there are at least two on my list of online shops, in the "further onformation" section below, that sell it.. I've marked them thusly: (WT)
Measuring cords and threadsThere is no real problem with measuring cords that can't be solved with a little though in most homes when needong to measure out a number of cords to the same size. Many solutions present themselves just by casting your eyes around the house and really seeing what's there... The reason I say this is because I've moved around a bit and have had to make do with very small or awkward in size or shape rooms with landlords who don't allow cup-hooks in the woodwork etc. there are many "non-invasive" methods of winding your cords some of which are contained within my tutorial on the subject below... (fig b)
Sustainability and Ecological IssuesIn the past, with a flourishing empire, our little island, not to mention the USA's need for agricultural twine and other stuff, could count on Jute (mostly from India etc), those "far-flung" colonies where labour was cheap, (and out of mind...) if not to say even worse... Macrame used a lot of this fibre as well as sisal frome the agave plant genus (the same one that produces "Tequila" by the way...), grown in places like Mexico... As time passed, and many countries won their independance and workers desired higher living standards, there was a search for cheaper materials to offset the rising cost of natural fibres..... thus, like many other modern areas of production, macrame developed, and now has, it's own issues of ecological impact and sustainability.
One main cause of concern, yet another legacy from the past, was / is, the exponential increase in many man-made fibres after the first synthetic ones were invented as early as the late 19th century, like rayon. Many semi-synthetic plant/man-made mixes, as well as artificially extracted and processed "pure" man-made fibres extracted from oil, for example were also then, developed. Afterwards in the 30's and 40's, polyamides like nylon appeared followed by, polyesters : known for their "wash & wear" properties... not to mention a certain Tony Manero's outfits that gyrated around disco's in the late 70's. Acrylics... famous for imitating mohair & wool in general as many knotters are very well aware, as well as in the production of artist quality paints... brings us into the later part of the 20th century with the ones we are much more familiar with in the "High-Tech-digital-21st-century-world" we inhabit like: spandex,Ingeo / Olefins ...used in fabrics where soaking away sweat is desirable... pvc, teflon, and so on bring us up to date.,... almost....
The newer, (1980's onwards), fibres and materials, many made from oil and other raw materials that aren't as sustainable as many others, are extremely good at imitating natural fibres as well as having a soft, lustrous "feel" like "rattail" (see "Rayon" in "Materials", above.), so they are very seductive, especially with the abundance of colours available in ever increasing shades of subtlety and mixtures.. we all know the rainbow and graduated colours now available in threads and yarns for crochet, knotting, macrame with products like c-lon, , becoming ever more popular for the rising Micro-macrame and fibre Art markets...
Nowadays, many synthetics, made from pulped vegetable fibres like beech trees, seaweed and bamboo which are eminently sustainable, are coming to the forefront of our search for materials with less of a carbon footprint on our little planet. Other innovations in the sphere of fibre manufacture include Spider Silk which is, as you can imagine, isn't the easiest of products to harvest... Methods of obtaining their produce has worked even if only on a small scale at present, particularly with the Golden Orb Spider, that, in spite of the fact that most of them don't speak latin so don't even know their own species name, (Genus: Nephila.), obligingly produce one of the most fabulous and breathtaking fibres I have seen in my lifetime...!! and I have seen , and worn<'i>, some pretty amazing ones... (the touch of vicuna and sharkskin have to be felt to be believed...) Do follow this link to view an article at The V & A Museum in London: www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles…; there are also 2 excellent video's on the subject, at this same url., of the amazing cape made from this fibre by Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley who masterminded the project.... (bear in mind not all who view this article can access the viids due to copyright restrictions... here is a
In any event, we must all make our own decisions as humans ...and macrame-ists as to how we progress with our beloved craft bearing mind our personal responsibility towards the planet, ourselves and the production process... not an easy task for any one....
*Not my fault!... I just, by way of light relief, watched LOTR... again! (I read it's 3 volumes originally, when I was 8-9 years old, at the rate of 1 per 1.2 days... I think I imprinted on it... we're strange birds, us cloistered crafty peeps...with our prrrrecious... I mean precocious! ways...
** Which takes place at "Coopers Hill" which is not very far from where I went to school nr Upton-upon-Severn for a while: youtu.be/bcxsYqvgv4o
***No not "Krayzie's rap! the actual tar barrel race that takes place a few miles down the road from my home...: youtu.be/aFsiCl7jI8I
Fig A: Fibres: Fig B: Materials: Measuring: ;Fig C: Workspace And Tools:
TOOLS AND WORKING
There are very few Tools required for 99% of macramé projects and very little other than a seat to serve as a workshop.... There are however, some items that do regularly prove to be most useful for the regular macrame-ist:
CuttingA sturdy pair of sharp scissors, a knife for thicker cord and occasionally a pair of electricians pliers for occasionaly cutting wire. Wire is sometimes used to perhaps re-inforce the work or allow the positioning / re positioning of some projects like 3zolushka 's amazing "Sakura" see: Fig 2B in "Types of Macrame" ... Micro-Macrame" below.
HoldingSome form of tape like masking tape/ sellotape etc... (Duct tape: too heavy and leaves a residue on the fibres, especially organic ones like hemp, which is a real pain to clean off... if you ever can...);
SealingSome method of applying a small flame or heat to "melt" / "weld" the ends of man-made fibres* when finishing-off projects: matches, lighter etc
Tip: for more delicate operations: a needle with a wrapping of tape at one end, to hold it whilst working, being heated at the other end by a flame will serve you well
WorkingSimilarly to "Tools", above, most items needed to help you carry out your macrame project can be found somewhere around the house...., (you do remember where you left the....?), including but not limited to: Chairs, tables, cushions, trees, wire coat-hangers, pins, string....huh?! (more on this later...), books... well maybe not so many of those, these days..., A garden fence etc etc... Depending on what you're making a cushion on your lap using pins to anchor the work... to a cord slung between two trees with a large wall-hanging draped on it will be required... In any event there a myriad of ways to accomplish your task. Some of the commoner ones are laid out in this Tutorial: fav.me/d5lhzlq
TYPES OF MACRAME*
Traditional MacraméThis is what I term “standard”, or: "old school", macramé... often using some of the 1970’s style, and often using sustainable fibres nowadays like hemp, rather than jute which was a favourite of the 70's, usually there is improved design and a vastly greater variety of materials. Some examples are shown below.
Micro-MacraméThis form of knotted work is where fine cords, or threads, (usually 1mm thick / dia. or less....), are used to create very precise and well-designed pieces of jewellery, as well as small, but exquisite, pieces of fibre / textile art see Fig 2b... It is a very labour-intensive form of macramé, requiring as it does, very fine knots (100 or more to a 1 inch/2.5cm square is not that rare now...), and requires more than average patience to produce the most complex examples... eg: figs 2b & 2c. It must be said that the predominant use of micro-macrame is in jewellery, ie: bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings, anklets and the like as may be seen in figs 2-2e, below.
Cavandoli-MacraméThis is probably the single most rapidly spreading form of Macrame.... Which is why there are two rows of Cavandoli examples due to its omnipresence and variety of application... It pervades every "Type" of Macrame to a greater or lesser extent..... usually greater! FIGS 3-3M) ...which owes it’s existence partly to weaving and basket-making, both of which use this technique of using half-hitches, (2 half-hitches= 1 Clove Hitch btw...), to create flat "tapestries" and many other different types of objects. The Kenyans, Ghanaians and the Navajo Tribe in North America are extremely well-known for their cavandoli-style basketwares. It's expression is most often encountered on da & in the "West" in general, in the form of "Friendship Bracelets", (FIG 3A-C), Other items like Belts, Bracelets, Earrings & Necklaces are made in a very big way in Northern & Southern America, Mexico, Africa & Mediterranean Europe... Although by now this technique of macramé-work is pretty much all over the planet, although Mexico & Africa, particularly, make a lot for trade purposes... Most of the header strip of macramé samples above and below the "Introduction" section at the beginning of this article are heavily Cavandoli-technique dependant.... ...And yes!, 3d & 3e are reminiscent also of "Traditional-Macramé" What can I say! - This craft is a wonderful melting pot of colourful types and styles!
NB: Having looked at the example illustrations of Cavandoli work below (figs 3-3f), and having seen the examples of "Micro-Macramé" above, you may be asking yourself:
"What's the difference between "Micro-Macramé" & "Cavandoli" work?"
The answer is this:
"Cavandoli work almost exclusively uses Half-hitches / Clove Hitches and is made using material from approx.: 0.6mm to 5mm dia... or greater; Whereas Micro macramé is any type of macramé which uses, exclusively in its production,very thin material, usually equal to or smaller than 1mm in diameter, to fabricate items which may use many different types of knots... "
Friendship Bracelets(FB):I have inserted a special section here on FB's because:
A: they deserve one..! accounting, as they do, for a very significant share of the macramé "market"...I am not inserting any further illustrations to support the text on this subject as there four fine examples with about a total of approx a good 15 or more bracelets between them... that figure amongst the Cavandoli work exampleses** below ...
B: As mentioned, above, they, (the 3 pics of FB's), are placed amongst the Cavandoli examples below because that is the style of macramé used to make them, and why the brief description on them is very deliberately placed here...
FB's were usually, and often still are, fairly slim Cavandoli-style knotted bracelets usually made from cotton, or scraps of sewing and embroidery threads that were lying around, although now they're often made from as carefully purchased materials as any other craft requires... it should be mentioned that contemporary FB's are often much much wider than their earlier cousins...FB's were traditionally made in pairs and were identical, as they still sometimes are, particularly in Africa, and were given by friends to each other as a memento and pledge of friendship... Though often still given to dear friends in the same spirit of amity, they are made in a bewildering array of styles, colours and shapes now. FB's are customarily into two main types:
1: "Normal": With regular or irregular, geometric or other repeating patterns in single or multi-coloured examples.For more information on FB's you can visit nimuae's Bracelets-and-Knots speciality: group, and comment or strike up a chat with one of the FB-making members...and whilst there check out the hundreds and hundreds of FB's in the Galleries...
2: "Alpha" which have graphic designs depicting anything from the keys on a piano for those seeking a musical theme, to a favourite Chibi, Pokémon character or other abstract or natural image like diamonds, watermelon segments, flowers, sailor moon, the evil dead and Charlie Chaplin...
Pizzo Macramé (Ita)Macramé Lace"(Eng)Punto A Groppo(Early Ita)This is one of the principal precursors to "macramé" as we know it, but does retain the basic elements of macramé This is similar to the types of finish/uses outlined in the explanations of "Migrammah" & "Makrama", above...This is a type of "Cavandoli" / "wrapped" hybrid macramé technique that is, sadly, other than in Italy and amongst the cognoscenti of theatrical "wardrobe" design, a very rare form of Macramé to come across. The fact that I have included only 3 illustrations with this sub-section gives the game away... (it's possible that I may have been a bit too rapid in my scanning od the DA archives and have made some glaring omission?, but it's not for lack of intent or care... (if you know of some appropriate other examples: please let me know thanks!) This technique allows the maker to create a fine lace-like structure to their pieces. See: Figs 4 - 4B Nowadays, most of this type of macramé is machine-made using similar methods to lace curtain production...
Macramé-SculptureQuite often using Cavandoli techniques, but using many dfferent thicknesses and colours of thread / cord / rope, this is yet another facet of macrame’s capacity for diversity and flexibility that is becoming more and more common. There have been exhibitions all over the world of macrame as “pure” Art. There was Japanese guy who had an exhibition of enormous masks, a lady in England, (see: Margaret's entry in the "Further Info"/"Makers" section, below), using her macrame in avant-garde sculpture, and so on... A wryly loveable, amusing, look back at the seventies was exhibited in one artists 30 foot high macrame owl...Free-standing figurative and abstract sculptures of all sorts abound, Norman Sherfields sculptures and "clothed-in-macrame", found objects, See Fig 5, (incidentally: there's an interview/bio of Norman on the "Macramé Collective" website... see: "Further Information" links below ), The Chess Set, (5C) and Candelabra,(5D), are other examples... Another expression of Macramé "Art" can be found in imitations of iconic objects like the beefburger and ice-cream sundae, (one of Ed Bing Lee's specialities), and those are merely a tiny, tiny... amount of the choices modern makers are now choosing to produce.
Chinese Knotting and Korean MaedupEach of these is also known in their respective countries as a form of macrame. Korean and Chinese techniques use a very similar palette of knots as each other incuding the Pan Chang Knot, examples of which I have covering a section of the wall in my "workshop"See fig 6 (Below), The Double Coin Knot, (also known as the Carrick Bend, see also "Basic Techniques" further down...), and the Square knot. These knots, particularly the Pan Chang and it's variants, are very often attached to everyday items like brushes, fans, cellphone "charms", like some of maomao 's work, (see figs 6A-C), lanterns, wall hangings and are very prominent in decorations for public holidays, festivals and New year's Wishes of Luck & Prosperity for the new year.... This style of "Macrame" is also often used, like the macrame familiar to us, for making necklaces, hair combs, belts and various other items, as well as finishing off the presentation of presents for loved ones or distinguished friends and co-workers.
*Please remember, having said all the following, that, very often, macramé uses a mixture of styles and techniques...
**Not my fault!... I just, by way of light relief, watched LOTR... again! (I read it's 3 volumes originally, when I was 8-9 years old, at the rate of 1 per 1.2 days... I think I imprinted on it... we're strange birds, us cloistered crafty peeps...with our prrrrecious... I mean precocious! ways...
BASIC MACRAME TECHNIQUES
All the tutorials accompanying each sub-section which follows, are grouped together at the bottom of this entire section...in the same order as they occur from this point onwards. (This saves a lot of space and lengthy scrolling! from one, otherwise small paragraph, to the next...)
This section seems quite small but is probably the biggest in this article if you include the linked accompanying tutorials. The links/thumbnails below give a fair selection of tutorials to start the beginner off or recapitulate for those returning to the subject... I have inserted them in the order I feel is the most useful for beginners / novices to the craft.. There is much to learn... depending on how far you wish to take your macramé, but for the present introduction to the craft I have contented myself with the very basic concepts for those new to this craft...
Primary Knots and Techniques
Starting:There are many ways to start projects and I have included 2 tutorials on this subject.
The first one is for general macramé projects including: bags, belts, table-runners, bottle covers, pot-hangers, wall-hangers and so on... the second is targeted at necklace projects and other micro-macramé jewellery projects like rings, bracelets, chokers etc.
Knotting:Firstly, we shall look at the two (main) indispensable knots which form the bedrock upon which all macramé down the ages...to the present has depended:
Square Knot (or "Reef Knot Tied Over a Core")This is the eponymous and ubiquitous macramé knot par excellence.... used to create the familiar "macramé" textile so often seen in projects. It is essentially a reef knot tied over a core (usually the same material) and owes it's existence to the well-known reef knot used in so many ways by many groups including: Sailors( for "Reefing" sails) First Aiders (for slings etc.), Scouts / Girl Guides etc. BUT! not by Mountaineers, Climbers, rescuers & the like because:
THIS KNOT IS NOT VERY SECURE AND MUST NOT, IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCE WHATSOEVER, BE USED WHERE A LIFE WOULD DEPEND UPON IT!
...you have been warned.....
The "Clove Hitch" (or "2 Round Turns" )This is the knot used to form friendship bracelets and the other main type of textile section in macramé projects. It is a very good knot for creating details, shapes & designs since it can be used to "draw" a bit like a line of ink...or charcoal. Another major use in macramé is it's ability to conceal the ends of cords or threads after they have been snipped off...
Secondary Knots and TechniquesSecondly, here is a small sampling of other knots / "weaves" also now commonly used in macramé:
Plaiting:This word comes from the French word "Plat" meaning "Flat". Thus, it is an interweaving of cords / threads to create a tress that is "Flat" in cross-section.. Adding more cords to this type of weave makes it wider and wider.. but not thicker, (unless the cords are "bunched together" instead of being laid side-by-side as is more normally the case...)
Braiding:his a technique where several cords are interwoven to create a patterned 3 -dimensional tress with a specific cross-section: eg: circular, triangular, rectangular, "C-shaped", etc... A well-known braiding technique is called "Kumihimo" (Japanese(loosely) for "Art of Braiding"
The Carrick Bend:("Josephine Knot" in embroidery; "Double Coin Knot" in Chinese Knotting), is an ornamental knot that is often used as a feature in macramé projects. It's a flat knot that can be tied with one or more cords and can create colourful projects even used on it's own...
The Turk's Head:Named, originally, for it's resemblance to turbans, this decorative knot may be used in very many ways: In traditional sailors knot-work like ship's bell ropes, in macramé as a "feature" knot, as a "woggle" for Scouts & Guides etc., and as a flat knot, it has a "Celtic" feel to it and may be used to create rugs and other objects not to mention being used as the pieces in a strategy game... yes really! see the tutorial below.....
THE BASIC TECHNIQUES TUTORIALS
A:STARTING 1 B:STARTING 2 C:SQUARE KNOTTING D:CLOVE HITCHING
E: PLAITING F: BRAIDING G: THE CARRICK BEND H:THE TURKS HEAD /STRATEGY GAME
If you have found that these tutorials have been of some usefulness to you, there are, as I'm sure you're aware, others available here: peter-the-knotter.deviantart.c… , as part of an evolving set of knotting and macrame resources on DA.
AFTERWORD: WHAT NEXT?I hope that you have all found this little introduction to Macrame, fun, useful and interesting..., (in fact, any one from three will make me a very happpy bunny!), and please let me know if there is something I shouldn't have left out, or any errors or mistakes on my part, that you feel would help this article to be better at it's task. Also, if you know of any links that you feel are particularly important and should be included, let me know and I'll pop them into the Info section. Thank You.
OK..., you've read the article ...and you're interested in taking up macrame... so what next? ...perhaps: Google? www.google.co.uk/.....or:
Firstly, as well as the many tutorials on DA and the net, there are many links in the "Further Information " section, below, to inspire assist and perhaps point you in a useful direction...
Secondly: Or you could simply continue enjoying your day as you wish.... and keep in mind that if you ever need any help with macrame, especially beginners, (although, any level is fine... and just as important really... ) anyone that practises macramé on DA, who are all friendly, generous people..., (but please, do bear in mind that we all have busy lives and concerns... so be sensitive and sensible when doing so...), If you want my help please note me*
Thirdly Join a group... A group is a good idea, especially if you wish to contact others with the same interests and access tutorials, ideas, contests and chat etc.... oh, and: don't forget "General" artisan-based groups; They are often very good which is why I've included some in the links section in this article.
Otherwise, as I'm sure you realise, you can use any of the links to tutorials, makers, groups etc, to embark on your exploration of this craft in your own, personal way.... and I wish you much fun in your travels.. it's gonna be fabulous! and annoying sometimes and exhilarating at others but is also very satisfying.... remember: it takes time and practice to get the results you want from your efforts and no amount of natural talent at something is a free pass to success, there are no short cuts... you become an overnight success at something simply because someone has discovered you after you have been practising your art for heaven knows how many years... could be few could be a lot... My interest in knotting and macrame has taken me to the most unlikely and extraordinary places... and meetings with wonderful people and characters who have shared their knowledge and piqued my curiosity even further in ways I could never have imagined on my own....!
Whatever way you choose: Bon Voyage!!** ......Peter.
*since most people are different from each other and everyone has their own particular strengths and depths of knowledge / rate of learning; should you come to me for help, I prefer to give advice / signpost people to appropriate resources on macramé in an individual way...
**...maybe send us a postcard here on da to show us your progress...?
PART TWO: APPENDICES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
APPENDIX 1: SELLING
Firstly: What type of seller do you intend to be? The vast majority of Artist-Artisans* start off with a "Day Job" even if they later become famous... and /or reasonably well-off from their endevours... eg: Kaffe Fassett, Laura Ashley, Luis Cienfuegos, William Morris (was a notable exception...),
Selling as "an extra income" and selling "professionally" are two extremely different things! Both of them will cost money initially whilst you learn your metier/build up a reserve of stock, and both will be accountable to your local "Customs & Excise", "IRS" or whatever govenment body is responsible for taxes and income in your country....;
Selling as "an extra income"
Selling "professionally" will bring an absolute avalanche of legal regulations, laws of accountability and accountancy etc, which you must be ready to assimilate and know as well as possible, if, as most modern craftspeople / Artisans do, you decide to operate as a simple "Sole Trader"*
What is a sole trader? It is a type of business "Model" where you are personally responsible for all aspects of your own business. Do remember that "Sole Trading" doesn't necessarily mean that if your business fails, your personal property will or can be seized by your creditors. Information on this aspect of trading will be available in your country, usually via a government website.
Craft materials aren't cheap, it will take time, money and and a total love and dedication/talent to become really good at anything... including macrame. It will also be very useful also to establish a reputation for your work by having exhibitions, teaching, and promoting your work in many ways on and offline (remember there is a vast market of people with funds available that don't spend much time on the net... or even may not have access to it, (although this, as we all know, is rapidly changing even in the poorest economies....), which, at first, bring nothing to you financially... so a "Day Job" is heartily reccommended whilst your skillsare being honed and you are assimilating all the knowledge you will need and the financial means to start and operate your business until the returns start rolling in...
Before you even contemplate setting an "opening date" You will need to be preparing your presentation materials, and you're learning how to run a business, (Packaging, Website, Labels and logo, House style, Business Plan/Cashflow Analysis,
APPENDIX 2: RECOMMENDED READING"Recommended Reading" is simply a few of the books in my library that will, together, cater for every level of competence in macramé... There are many, many more out there... and on the shelves behind me as I write this little essay, but I offer these as a starting point if you will, for those who are not necessarily sure of the quality of a volume they may have come across. If there is a particular area to do with knotting / macramé in which you wish for further advice on the usefulness/availability of other books, drop me a note or comment...
Macramé:Vogue Guide To Macrame: www.amazon.co.uk/gp/customer-m…
Instant Macrame by The Needlecraft Institute www.amazon.co.uk/Instant-Macra…
Macrame: A Comprehensive Guide by Heidi Willsmore: www.amazon.co.uk/Macrame-Compr…
Introducing Macrame by Eirian Short: www.amazon.co.uk/Introducing-M…
Knots & Knotting:Fusion Knots by J D Lenzen: www.fusionknots.com/ This guy has written at least 2 books on the subject... (I have one of them..2nd?. will arrive shortly...)
The Ashley Book of Knots by Clifford W Ashley: www.amazon.co.uk/The-Ashley-Bo…
The Encyclopedia of Fancy Knotwork by Jon Hensel & Raoul Graumont:
Chinese Knotting by Lydia Chen: www.amazon.co.uk/Chinese-Knott…
Braiding:200 Braids (To loop knot and twist) by Jacqui Carey: www.amazon.co.uk/Braids-Loop-K…
The Big Book of Sling and Rope Braids by Rodrick Owen: www.amazon.co.uk/The-Book-Slin…
Suppliers of Macrame (& general knotting) Materials(Just a few good ones to get people started)
APPENDIX 3: FURTHER INFORMATION: MACRAME ON THE NET
Firstly, there is, as I'm positive alI who read this know, a staggering amount of information out there to look at... I have therefore kept my inclusions to a minimum since this is an "Introduction" after all.. Having said that, don't think I have been miserly in my inclusions... or just included the "best"... or my preferred makers and sites etc... It's not about a judgement call or a bias... but about a balanced overview of the craft to enable you to find a wide variety of types, ideas, and technical levels etc etc in what is listed here... All the sites below are well worth a visit... Naturally enough, some sites will appeal to certain people more than others.. but that's precisely what makes our planet in general..., and this craft in particular..., so interesting! I have included some sites that use the same techniques as in macramé..., but applied in a different milieu eg: hair-"braiding"... Some sites/makers are really quite extraordinary in their imaginative and colourful expositions of macramé... and related / associated textile arts.... I would recommend looking at all of them, ...however briefly..., especially if you are new to this craft; they will serve you well and give you a pretty good overview of Macramé and it's near cousins...
Secondly: I have split the information into that found on DA, and everything else which is found outside of DA, on the net. This will, hopefully, save you time... particularly if you wish to confine yourself /prefer to start with: stuff accessible on DA... (not to mention helping those parents of our very much younger craft colleagues who prefer their loved ones to stay on good sites...) I hope this resource is of use to you...and helps show how amazing this craft is! All the following sites are "child-friendly" though not necessarily secure.
General Artisan Groups
On The Net:
Generalised Search ShortcutsMacrame in Pictures: (via Google)
Macrame & Knotting Videos (Utube )(various): www.youtube.com/results?search…
Hair-Braiding tutorials: www.youtube.com/results?search…
Abbreviations used: Static pictures and text: (s); Video: (v); Languages: (Fre) (Eng), (Spa), (Ger)etc Multi-lingual: (ml)
Tutorials:MacrameMacrame School (v)(eng): Few, but good, tubes dealing with basic concepts...
FB Tutorials(s)(various)friendship-bracelets.net/tutor… Solid set of tutorials from "the" FB Site...
Craftingeek(v)( spa): www.youtube.com/user/craftinge… Very good, and well presented FB vids...
Laura Pifer (v) (eng): youtu.be/QG21cLomaUc
How to "Wrap a Stone" & "Make a Ring" by Lubcho Macrame(v) (music only) www.youtube.com/channel/UCrq6r… Only 2 vids but! sooooo useful!; doesn't need words!
Demure Design(s): www.demure-designs.com/ Micro-Macrame Tutorials
Macrame Patterns: encyclopediaofneedlework.com/c…
(For more macrame vids see: "Generalised Search Shortcuts", above....)
Tutorials:Knots & Braids(Tying It All Together (v)(eng) (J D Lenzen): www.youtube.com/user/TyingItAl… Excellent resource... see also: "Recommended Reading" further down...
Grog's Animated Knots Channel (v)(eng): www.youtube.com/user/AnimatedK… The best video resource for learning to tie knots.. Plus! the Set of tut's is available on DVD.. (...in my library of course...)
Dreamweaver Hair Braids(s): www.dreamweaverbraiding.com/in… Probably all the hair raids you'll ever use...
Tutorials:Gastronomy NB: (nfv): Not For Vegetarians(Plaiting Challah (6 strand) Bread((v) youtu.be/iEabr6YUsFc A delightfully competent and yet loveably quirky vid... I loved it!
How to plait Onions: (etsyireland.blogspot.co.uk/201… good simple but fun.. NB: "French Plait" is simply your normal 3 strand hair plait.. see my tut on "plaits" in "Techniques", above, if in doubt....
Joint prep: (v) (nfv): youtu.be/hz-AWLdvjMg
Plaiting Round Bread 1: (round)(v) youtu.be/mQ_UThX-_dU
Top Plaiting Stuffed Rectangular Bread 2 (v): youtu.be/CmHQUmDRpLY Delicious! includes lengthy recipe & Method before plaiting part...
Garlic Bread Knots(v): youtu.be/CmHQUmDRpLY Simple and fast... blink and you'll miss it! lovely way to accompany pizza etc.
Macramé & Fibre Art GalleriesThe Macrame Collective: macramecollective.com/
Friendship Bracelets.Net: friendship-bracelets.net/
Fiber Arts && Mixed Media: www.fibermixedmedia.com/
Macramé ShopsJust a few shops to get you started... Remember that many deviants are available to do commissioned pieces so, if you see something here that you like, try contacting them via their page or a link on their profile....
Marion.Jewels in Fiber: www.store.jewelsinfiber.com/in… The shop I would probably use if I were living in he USA... (Chinese Knotting, Macrame & Kumihimo materials, tools, findings, accessories etc)
Kuha Kreations: www.etsy.com/shop/KuhaKreation…
Knot Just Macrame: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/KnotJustM…
LaceGiraffe: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LaceGiraf… (Knitting, Crochet & Macrame: excellent quality in all 3...)
ARUMIdesign: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ARUMIdesi… (Micro-macrame Mastery)
naynaymacrame: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/naynaymac… (Macrame: Mostly Jewellry,Fun ideas! Excellent quality)
Marta Jewelry: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MartaJewe… (Macrame & Beading: Strong bead influence, Excellent quality)
Beckinka: beckinka.com/ Products (necklaces etc.) & materials: linen cord, cabochons, etc.(WT)
knotmore.com: knotmore.com/ Principally sellers of good q2uality waxed thread in a vast array of colours... the shop is run by the person who founded and runs "The Macrame Collective" one of the best contemporay macrame design online galleries... (WT)
You can also try using search functions on sites designed for small-scale sellers like:
Storenvy: (USA) www.storenvy.com/ (UK) www.storenvy.co.uk
Artfire: Handmade (ml)www.artfire.com/browse/handmad…
As well as the obvious: Ebay: (ml) (UK) www.ebay.co.uk/ (US) www.ebay.com
Makers:Vesely Supinky: www.fler.cz/zbozi?ucat=186606 Talented Czech FB Maker
Joan Babcock: www.joanbabcock.com/ A riot of colour that explodes into a storm of originality in micro-macrame... (yeah.. I like her stuff... )
Sandy Swirnoff: www.swirnoff.com/index.php?id=… Like Ms Babcock..(above) ...but totally different! (yeah....etc...)
Marion Hunziker Larson: www.jewelsinfiber.com/ Like.... Beginning to get repetitive now.... (yeah!.....already!)
Kate Anderson: kateandersonarts.com/gallery.h… The mad knotter's tea party... you'll understand when you land on the site... in a good way!
Ed Bing Lee: Website on Hiatus: will insert as soon as I can... so worth it meanwhile here's a sample from an article:
Gerri Johnson-McMillin: www.gerrijohnsonmcmillin.com/g… Very "Organically" based forms in fibre... you need to see them! go!...now! ...
Adriana Lazzari: www.ilmiomacrame.com/
Irina Serbinas: www.macrameboutique.com/
Wendy Elizabeth: www.wendyelizabeth.co.uk/macra…
Blogs & Some one-off articles on the subject that I deem worth inclusion... ):Teszugi: :teszugi.blogspot.de/
Phat Hemp Jewelry: www.phathemp.com/
chabakocrazy:: chabakocrazy.blogspot.co.uk/ch… out September 2012... What is a "chabako?"... It's the bag used to carry items required to perform "chanoyu". ( The "Japanese Tea Ceremony" www.shibuiswords.com/japantea.…)
Turks Heads & Contemporary Fiber Bracelets: www.whatknotnow.blogspot.co.uk…
Beyond Bracelets: beyondbracelets.blogspot.co.uk…
Dreamweaver: prismofthreads.blogspot.co.uk/… Stunning examples of weaving...
Creative Jewish Mum: www.creativejewishmom.com/2011… How to Plait Bread! (A "Challah" for Rosh-Hashana.. )
Hotflash Designs: www.hotflash-designs.com/fiber… Bernadette's exquisite knotted jewellry!
Decades: decadesinc.blogspot.co.uk/2011… Quirky but very accomplished site!
Galit Mastai: galitmastai.blogspot.co.uk/201… Just go see.. I refuse to spoil the surprise..
Smitten by a Knot: smittenbyaknot.com/tag/macrame…
Fashion and Clothing
General SearchesClick a topic and be amazed at the variety and applications....
Facebook Knotting Presences:
Made by Martin & Ugne: www.facebook.com/ARUMIdesign
Leah Danberg: www.facebook.com/permalink.php…
Macramania Jewelry: sugarcube.us/women/accessories…
General Craft SitesCraft In America: www.craftinamerica.org/
Groups and ForumsInternational Guild of Knot Tyers: www.igkt.net/
Magazines & Periodicals (Online & Hard Copy Publications)Fiber Arts: www.fiberarts.com/default.asp General Textile Arts mag, competent & informative...
Fiberart International: fiberartinternational.org/ As above, just more internationally focussed...
Fiber Art Now: fiberartnow.net/
APPENDIX 4: GALLERY OF MACRAME ON DEVIANTART
Again... this is by no means exhaustive and is only a representation of those that are members of DA, the DA presence isn't quite so indicative, proportionally, of macrame generally, as more of the non-artisan categories like digital art etc... In any event: these are simply various, for the most part, random, deviations... ( including those used for illustrative or feature purposes above), for the "big finish" where the moderately well-proportioned person gets their chance to enthrall us all... (that would be me... btw... yeah! I know what all you pc people were thinking...! chill...) ;....besides, there's nothing so warming as seeing the whole cast together taking a bow... simply as themselves....enjoy!
:thumb246701819::thumb256866759:7 Earring Designs by Peter-The-Knotter
"..."words" make "experience" last .... " (William Morris)
"It always takes a whole village,
at least..., and some time, for some, longer for others...
to raise a well balanced, well-educated human
...or a halfway-decent literary piece...." (PTK)
Firstly: I would like to thank projecteducate for the opportunity to be part of something so special!, Secondly I would like to explain that I haven't "cited" which person has created which deviation* in this section**, as I normally would in my "Deviant" or "Group" Features in journals etc, because I feel that Project Educate's articles & features are principally about the subject, and secondly, about A: Teamwork... and B: Sharing / Helping Altruistically...
...Following the traditions of the highest ideals within humans, in general, and DA, in particular....
Finally..., Without the deviants above, this article would have been
a sadder, far poorer affair... not just because of
their actual deviation contributions, but
for that which is priceless:
their friendship and...
...so much inspiration.
* ...or whatever other item of information, critique, proofreading, or other contribution to this articles completion...
** There is a reason that this section is called "Acknowledgements" rather than: "Credits"... If you wish to discover more about the artist behind a particular deviation: click on it, then use their name on the deviation page to access their profile...
I would ask you all to please note that:
This exposition has penetrated the depth, breadth and possibilities within knotted work...
..in the same way that a single baby duck's feather
...has penetrated to the vertical centre of the pacific ocean....
...when dropped from a distance of one inch in height...
The various illustrations included are the copyright of their respective authors.
This article is for reference purposes only. It is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without the permission of the author. No commercial exploitation of this article is envisaged or desired... © Copyright P. L. Crossley August 2013