Hello and welcome back to the blog. It's crazy to think that we've nearly finished this craft and mental health blog series! Over the course of around six months, we've looked at styles and inspiration and focused in on knitting and crochet, but now, I thought that it was time to take a deeper delve into the lesser known crafts. As part of my Duke of Edinburgh award, I decided to learn macramé, so today I thought I would give an overview of the craft and answer some frequently asked questions.
What is it?
Macramé is a type of craft which originates from traditional Arabic culture but has recently become popular across the world. It involves weaving and knotting cords or ropes to form patterns which can be made into items such as bags, belts, wall hangings, plant pot holders, jewellery and many other garments.
What do you need?
The type of equipment you will need will depend on what you are doing, but you will always need cord (we sell both cotton and thicker macramé cord) and something to hold it on e.g. a wooden dowel or D ring, both of which we have in stock at the moment. Also, you may want a flat clipboard-like surface such as piece of wood to peg it on to and foldback clips to help with tension, which you can get from many places including Avicraft next door to us. Arguably though, the most essential thing for macramé is instructions; whilst it is totally possible to make up your own pattern, it is very useful to have instructions as these can show you how to do a wider range of knots and will also tell you what other specific equipment you need.
Is it difficult?
Personally, I do think that macramé is a little difficult, but not a difficult as some people may think. The only thing about it that is challenging is getting the tension of your knots right, so that they are not too big and loose or tight and small. However, the actual knots themselves are not difficult. Therefore, whilst it may be a while before you end up making perfectly intricate garments, it will be no time at all before you are able to make something.
On the other hand, macramé is a long process. As it is quite small and intricate, it does take a long time to make something and it requires some patience. Therefore, if you are looking for a quick hobby, perhaps this isn't the one for you.
Is it expensive?
Macramé is a little more expensive than some other crafts because along with the yarn (which you need very large amounts of in order to do the knots), you may also need different equipment in order to improve tension and make it look neat as well as to make it a little easier. For example, I also bought cord holders, which allowed me to wind up all the cord at the bottom that I wasn't using so that it didn't get knotted up. Having said that, I didn't make many other extra purchases and whilst I think I may have been able to make it a little neater had I more money and space, I don't think that it would have had that great of an impact.
How did you learn?
Because of the lockdowns and the fact that nobody else in my family does macramé, I decided to teach myself it. I used a combination of YouTube videos, websites with images and books with diagrams in order to learn and once I had found the right ones with the clearest images and explanations, it wasn't too hard.
What did you make?
Over the course of three months, I made two garments: a small belt (which was very messy as I struggled to maintain the right tension at first) and a plant pot wall hanging. Here are photos of them.
Would I recommend macramé?
If you not looking for a new hobby to jump into and focus on at the moment, I perhaps wouldn't recommend starting macramé but apart from that, I really recommend it! I loved having something to focus on and it was really satisfying to teach myself and watch my progress. I also love how macramé looks as well - the texture of it is so intricate and pretty!
Next time, I'm going to look at needle felting, another less well known-craft. Until then, happy crafting!
My name is Sharon the Sheep, the owner of Avicraft Wool Shop in Bromley Kent..