What is macramé?

When you’re trying out a new crafting hobby, it’s important to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into. You might find yourself committing to a hobby and buying lots of equipment for something that doesn’t get you what you need. Do your research first, and you’ll be more confident that your new hobby will provide the escape, the artistic expression or the new sense of skill and achievement that you’re looking for!

Macramé is a craft of knotting. You use cords of various kinds of twine, and knot them together, and around themselves, to create textile designs. Many are purely decorative, but macramé can be used to create belts, jewellery and even whole tablecloths and blankets.

What do you use for macramé?

If you’re going to complete a macramé project successfully, you’re going to need the right tools and materials. Starting and having to stop when you realise you’re missing an important component can only lead to frustration!

For macramé, the most important thing you need is the cord that you’ll be knotting. Cotton twine is one of the most regularly used materials, but alternatives include hemp and linen. Leather strips are often used to make clothing and jewellery as it’s harder wearing.

For jewellery and other decorative forms of macrame, you can work with other materials: beads, pendants and found objects like shells and stones can all help you give your macramé projects a personal touch.

Many projects require a wooden dowel – this is what you’ll tie your first knots to, giving the project an anchor as well as something to hang it from for display. You can buy a wooden spoke from a craft or hardware shop, but you can also use a found piece: driftwood, a branch fallen from a tree or even a piece salvaged from some old furniture! It can add to the satisfaction you get from your crafting hobby by finding your own materials or reusing existing ones.

Other projects require a hanging ring to act as that foundation and mounting point – macramé planters for example, which are hung from a central point. Regular, circular objects of the right size are less easy to find so it’s more likely you’ll need to buy one for the purpose.

You’ll also need a tape measure and scissors to cut to measure and cut your cords to size – make sure your scissors are sharp. Blunter blades leave ragged ends to the cord which can make them look untidy when they’re displayed, or even contribute to the whole project unravelling. Some projects also require fine finishing work with an embroidery needle or crochet hook, so check in advance and make sure you have everything you need before you begin.

What to make with macramé

You have lots of options when you’re starting out with macramé projects: wall hangings are a popular option, as you can make some striking looking decorations with very simple knots and techniques. Macramé jewellery and belts also make great gifts – you can incorporate beads and other found objects to help personalise the gift to the person you’re making it for!

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