March 11, 2021
Macrame for BeginnersWhat do I need to start making macrame?You’ve found your way here as you have a desire to create beautiful art, welcome!I will help you demystify macrame.Macrame has seen a grand resurgence in the last decade as homemakers around the world look to include meaningful artworks in their home that are handmade and hold a story. There is nothing quite like the satisfaction felt when creating art with your own hands, whether it is to be showcased within your own home or to gifted to a loved one, you can feel the love woven into each piece and I promise… once to tie your first knot you’ll be hooked... and to be honest, Macrame is easy once you get the hang of it, this is also why it’s so popular!Here I will give you the tools and confidence to transition from ‘googler to do-er’ What macrame supplies do I need to start?A workstation: You will require something sturdy to hang your Macrame artwork from. An adjustable garment rack is perfect for this, they are robust and roll away with ease when finished using for the day. You can pick one up cheaply from your local Kmart or home depot store for around $15. If you cannot get to a store, let’s improvise.The key objective for your workstation is to provide a level support that you can hang two cords from (you will hang your wooden dowel from these cords) Once when on holidays and away from my workstation, I used a curtain rod (yes- with curtains still in use) I simply tied a long string to either side of the rod to support the dowel. I have also placed two dining chairs on my dining table and placed the rod on the back rests of these. When it comes to how you set up your station, there are no rules. The height of your dowel is recommended to hand just above your head height, a comfortable height that your arms and eyes can access with ease. A chair is also advised, as is stretching out every now and again.
What are the best scissors for macrame? To start, any that you have handy. However, once you find yourself dreaming of Macrame its’ best to invest in a razor-sharp pair… ones that you’ll have to hide from your family. I recommend Gingher dressmaking sheers, mine are so sharp I joke that I could cut down a tree with them! Dressmaking shears are great, they are built to cut through thick material which is a similar consistency to cotton. But we must remember to keep them away from paper, this will jeopardise their crisp, clean snip.Do I need a tape measure?In macrame consistency is key so you will definitely need a measuring tool. However, if you are using a garment rack, most of them are 1m wide so you can use this to measure off. I have drawn marks on mine in 10cm increments from 0-100cm. Its fantastic, you will never lose the rack- I cannot say the same for those ‘lil tape measures!
Best fringing brush? Brushes are great in the final stages for separating individual strands of string, creating a soft and desirable fringe. You can manually do this by hand, but it is very time consuming to say the least. So, using a brush is best practice. You can use an old hairbrush but the bristles do not lock in thoroughly and in turn, be careful using it then in your hair as cotton fibre fluff from the bristles may just find their way into your hairstyle! Most Makers have a dedicated fringe brush, they have fine metal teeth that are designed to single out and separate individual strands... they are a dream to use. A wall hanging that once took me an hour now takes me minutes… and I must admit, my macrame brush makes me feel like a ‘fancy’ Macrame Maker.
Other tools that may help when starting. A water spray bottle: This will come in handy when creating macrame feathers, tassels, angels, or anything that needs the perfect trim. It’s a good idea to lay the feathers flat, brush out and then mist spray, leaving them to dry when flat. This helps the fringe ‘lock’ in. Can Macrame get wet? When using 100% cotton, typically no, but a light mist that promptly dries is fine.A Clothes Steamer:A fancier way to do the above, and the only way complete this on a multilevel, advanced wall hanging that will be compromised if laid down to manipulate the layers.Sticky tape:Many Makers choose to secure their ends with tape so the strands do not unravel. Try this trick out and see if it suits your making style.Hairspray:Yep. For spraying your fringed feathers, locking in those fly away strands.
How to care for your macrame:It’s an idea to think about your cotton string much like your hair. Being a porous fibre, it too reacts to humidity and can also hold the very fine dust particles that filter through your home. We must treat our creations with care, however i recommend dusting them with a simple décor duster once every while, re-brushing their strands with a macrame brush also. There is no need to wash your macrame wall hanging and this will damage, if not completely destroy it. Imagine placing a hair wig in the washing machine! If you need to spot clean this is fine. Can macrame get wet or be kept outside? If using cotton, no. We must keep our pieces out of the weather, much like a cotton shirt if left outside, it will retain water, dry disfigured and result in mould if the cotton does not dry through. This sounds icky I know- but now we know what not to do so we can enjoy our work with pleasure.
What is the best cotton cord to use? As the largest macrame cotton supplier in Australia with thousands of products on to choose from, where do I start on this one! (I’ll save my in-depth chat for another blog see here) Primarily I always recommend beginners to start with one of two options. A 5mm Single Strand String OR a 4mm Twisted Rope. Both have their advantages and will ensure that even a novice knotter will achieve a look they love. Macrame rope will create a more structured, firmer look and is preferred for functional pieces including macrame plant hangers. Macrame string will create a softer aesthetic and is preferred for décor items, such as wall hangings
Note* String can be a little trickier to use when starting out as string doesn’t like to be knotted and then unknotted which can be the case when learning. Rope you can knot and un-knot, so this is often the go-to for first timers. Once you taste test each, you will work out what Macrame cord is best to use for your needs. Or like me, you’ll love both for different purposes!
Can macrame be made with yarn? Whilst woollen yarn is the preferred fibre for tapestry weaving and macra’weaves, yarn is not advised to use for Macrame. Typically, it does not hold enough strength or structure to create a successful creation. It can be used to practice with, but you may be dissatisfied with the outcome which may then stunt your excitement and progression. Where can i learn macrame? I have a YouTube channel that will show you the basic macrame knot and patterns, and after a little practice will have the confidence and know how to undertake a fun design. With a bit of patience, Macrame knots will soon become second nature. It’s what to do with them that is often the most difficult.
The best macrame patterns: Often the hardest decision is what to do with the knots you’ve just learnt! Whilst there is only a few macrame knots, there are thousands of ways to use them, which as you can imagine... is where the fun (and sometimes overwhelm begins). I offer beginner patterns on my website that have been tried and tested by tens of thousands of makers from around the globe. I walk you through not only the knots, but why we do what we do and how we can implement the tips and techniques shared in future wall-hangings. I wish patterns and wasted cord! I have had many students say that one of my patterns was better than six months of trial and error… try one for yourself here. In partnership with patterns, the best place to learn is a hands-on workshop. Find one by searching ‘Macrame workshops near me’ and see what comes up locally. You will not only learn in real time, but you will meet new knotters who share an interest for creating handmade art.
Macrame community: Ohh, my favourite part. Our fibre friends. I value this so much I created a Facebook community for us all to hang out! Search 'Macrame Movement' to come and say hello. Here you can ask questions and meet like-minded folk. On the @marymakerstudio Instagram and Facebook page there is always a lot of chat going on, come join in. We are a friendly bunch… I’ve met some of my best friends online through this community, I know you can too!
I know you will love it if you give it a chance. Macrame is back and here to stay! It is a great mindful practice to help bring a little bit of bliss into your world, it’s also a great craft that can be done with kids. It has the ability to inspire and connect... overall that’s a yes from me.Come say hello, we're waiting to cheer you on!
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