Sunday, 13 September 2009

The Crafter's Way 108 - Macrame

Another Messenger column.


Pssst! Can you keep a secret? Macrame is making a comeback. Yes, it’s true. There has been increased chatter on craft blogs and forums. A new book has been released and people of all ages are clamouring for information and patterns. Banish your memories of those knotted owls that adorned walls back in the late 70’s. Today’s macramé is refreshingly modern.

Macrame can be traced back to the 13th century when Arabian Weavers started knotting at the edge of loomed fabric. The term macramé is derived from the Arabic “migramah” which means ‘fringe’. The craft travelled to France and Italy during the 14th & 15th centuries. Knotted patterned fabrics were used by the church in vestments and altar cloths. Sailors were also credited with using macramé to make netting, bell covers and screens. The hippie movement of the 60’s and early 70’s revived the craft. Knotted belts, bracelets and wall hangings were all the rage. Macrame does not use expensive tools or equipment and therefore its minimalist nature appealed to the free spirited time.

So what exactly is macramé? Simply put macramé is a textile making process that uses decorative knotting without the use of needle or hooks. Geometric patterns are produced using simple knots such as square knot, full and half hitches. Threads and yarns can vary according to your own preference. Fine threads will produce a textile similar to fine lace while waxed linen will produce crisp stiff knots. Whatever type of thread you choose it is essential that has two characteristics; it must knot easily and it must be able to hold the knot without slippage.

Macrame is a craft that appeals to all ages and skill levels. Young children can begin by making a variety of knotted friendship bracelets, yet more skilled craftspeople can create beautiful and intricate designs. Want to have a go? The title of the newly released book is Mod Knots by Cathi Milligan.

Image of Footstools: Ineke Visser

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Pam said...

Out with the owls in with the footstools.

Terri said...

Did it ever go out of fashion? My mother still has the owl hanging I did in high school. If its back there will be no getting rid of it.

bubbachenille said...

OMG I do not believe this! I will not believe this, I simply cannot believe this.

Trish Goodfield said...

What can't you believe? That Macrame is making a comeback or that I dared write about it. Its funny I planned this article a while ago and just couldn't bring myself to publish it. Once the new book came out there was no stopping me. I feel validated.

bubbachenille said...

That Macrame is making a comeback, of all the things to be ressurected in this world, why oh why?
Are you going to have a table at The Handmade Expo with Macrame? Sorry I should be making a joke of macrame ! I just wasn't ever expecting to see its return ! :-)

Thea said...

I have always wondered why it hadn't made a comeback sooner given the craft revival that seems to be happening globally. I have a few macrame hanging pot holders that I have found here and there plus other accessories. I love it!