Macrame Through Time

When talking about macramé crafts, people tend to think about bohemian styles. Macramé is a crafting technique that uses basic knots to develop artistic designs and create textiles used by early Arabs in 13th century. However, some historians believe that artifacts made from knotting techniques were originated as early as BC centuries and used by ancient Arabs, Babylonians and Persians. In 17th century, macramé was introduced to England where the craft reached its peak popularity and women started to patronize the same. According to history, it is believed that macramé crafting was spread across borders through the sailors and seafaring men. Eventually, this knotting technique had reached almost the whole world and being used to different kinds of art and expressions.

Macrame as a Craft

Macramé technique is revived by people who love handcrafting. It has made its comeback as a decoration and fashion trends. Materials used in macramé also developed over time. From bare hand-loomed fabrics, simple materials such as cotton twine, jute string and hemp fiber are now being used by weavers. Also, from towels and scarves, this knotting technique is being used to make plant hangers, fabric belts, fashion jewelries and even in a pair of slippers.

Before successfully making a beautiful handmade piece, here are the commonly used materials and tools used in macramé:

Essential materials in making macramé:

  1. Cotton Twine – This is sometimes called cotton ball and is available in ball and in cone.
  2. Abaca Twine – This material is popular in making scrapbooks and card making.
  3. Nylon or Rayon – This is a synthetic polymer with silky finish braid.
  4. Waxed Linen – This is use to make popular and beautiful homemade bracelets and necklaces.
  5. Waxed Cotton Cord – This is made of biodegradable material extensively used for jewelry creation.
  6. Waxed Nylon –This is a trendy material popularly used in making square knot bracelets.

The following are the must-have tools in making macramé:

  1. Macramé working board – a well patterned board used to hold cords in place
  2. Crochet Hook – used to tuck loose cords at the back of the macramé design
  3. Cord Dispenser – this simply holds the cord to avoid tangled cord
  4. Scissors – a popular tool to cut cords.

Macrame Knots

There are several types of knots that are used to make macramé artifacts. But here are the two (2) popular basic knots:

  1. Square Knot – A square knot requires at least four (4) cords to tie this type of knot or two (2) flat knots. In making a square knot, put the two (2) cords in the center to serve as base cords and work on the remaining two cords on the left and right. To start with the knot, put the left cord above the base cords and right cord.  A loop is formed by the left cord due this step. After that, place the end of the right cord under the left cord over it and put the edge of the right cord through the loop created by the left cord. Repeat this process and to make several square knots. This may be used to make a bracelet.
  2. Hitches – This knot is also known as the Clove Knot or the Clove Hitch Knot. This knot uses one (1) cord to serve as a filler cord to go across the remaining cords which will be the working cords. To make this knot, put the left cord or the filler cord above and across the other cords. Take the first working cord forward and around the filler cord to form a loop facing the filler cord. Then continue with the second working cord and so on.

There are other basic knots that can be used in making a beautiful macramé artifacts. These are the following:

  1. Vertical Hitch;
  2. Long Barrel Knot;
  3. Wind Knot;
  4. Lark’s Head Knot;
  5. Capuchin / Barrel Knot;
  6. Clear Edge Method; and
  7. The Connecting Knot.

The Value of Macrame Crafting 

Macramé has travelled through time and existed as an integral part of traditional culture. Since macramé uses materials that are natural and completely biodegradable, artifacts made out of this technique can be a great eco-friendly handmade pieces. These materials help conserve resources and are not harmful to the environment. Part of these materials are the handmade elements that add beauty and value to this art form. It’s a great hobby for all type of people including busy moms, people who love crafts and decorators.  Handmade artifacts was proven to help those people undergoing medication or those who are in the process of rehabilitation. This induces positive energy and knotting the cords provides a relaxing activity which helps reduce stress and occurrence of anxiety. This activity also implies the benefit of self-expression through the creation of a beautiful self-made artifact.