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Melissa Cordstone : Getting Started With Macrame

Getting Started With Macrame

By Melissa Cordstone

Macrame is the art of tying knots. It's a simple craft to take up, and you don't need many supplies or expensive tools. All you really need to get started is some cord of some type, a clipboard and your lap. It's that easy!

There are many different styles of knots you can learn and use in macrame, however there are a few key knots, and once you learn those, you will have learned the basics of how to macrame.

Macrame can be used to create almost anything you can think of — bracelets, earrings, necklaces, purses, belts, wall hangings, frames, curtains, dresses, shorts. It's extremely versatile as an art form.

Supplies to Get Started:

Cord — This can be jute, twine, hemp, synthetic macrame cord, satin cord, leather, strips of fabric even. I recommend starting with jute or twine to learn the basic knots. If you plan to purchase macrame cord from a craft store, you will find that it comes in varying sizes of .5 to 8mm with 8mm being the thickest.

Project Board — You can purchase a macrame project board for about $10 online, but you can also use a clipboard or even a throw pillow and some pins (to hold the cords in place).

Other Supplies — You'll also need a pair of scissors to cut the cord as well as a dowel, a ring or even a wooden spoon to anchor the cords to while you work. If you want to add beads to your project, just make sure the beads will fit through the cording.

Anchoring Your Work

When you begin a macrame project, you'll want to ensure that your project is firmly anchored in place. It's important to remember to keep your cords tight and secure. The reason for this is that by keeping your work secure, your knots are more lightly to come out uniform. Making sure your knots are even and uniform is the key to creating a nice piece. If your knots are all different shapes and sizes, the finished piece will appear misshapen.

Basic Macrame Terms to Know

When following a pattern, you may come across these terms that refer to which cords do what steps in the pattern. During a project, you will be working with various cords. Some cords are doing the knot tying, while other cords are tied around. Here are the definitions you'll need to know to get started:

Knotting Cords — these are the right and left cords used to tie the knots over the filler (middle cords). These are also referred to as the "working cords."

Filler Cords — these are the middle cords, in the center of the knotting cords. These cords stay put while the knotting cords "do the work." Also known as anchor cords.

Sinnet — A vertical row of the same type of knots tied continuously, made with the same working cords.

Exchanging Cords — changing the position of knotting and filler cords so the last knotting cords becomes the filler cords and the last filler cords becomes the knotting cords.

Alternating Cords — forming a new group of cords by taking half the cords from adjacent knots previous tied, and tying a new knot the lays below and between where the cords are from.

Basic Knot Instruction — The Square Knot

Square Knot (Left Hand)The Square Knot is the most important knot to learn in macrame. Its most likely the knot you will use most often. Once you learn this knot you can build upon that knowledge. You will find many patterns that feature the square knot exclusively.

  1. Start with four cords.
  2. Bring the right cord over and to the left of the two anchor cords.
  3. Place the left cord over the right cord.
  4. Bring the left cord under the anchors and through the loop formed by the right cord.
  5. Pull and you have the first half of the Square Knot.
  6. Bring the left cord over and to the right of the two anchor cords and place the right cord over it.
  7. Bring the right cord under the anchors and through the loop formed by the left cord.
  8. Pull the cords and you have the finished square knot.

© Copyright 2011 Melissa Cordstone, Macrame Lovers.

Melissa Cordstone writes a blog dedicated to the art of macrame. The Macrame Lovers Blog is dedicated to providing macrame patterns, how to macrame instructions, tips and tricks, and ideas and inspiration. If you are interested in learning the craft, please join us at the blog!