How Does Macrame Work?

How Does Macrame Work? image by JesJewelz at Flickr

Materials and Purpose

The textile craft of macramé generally uses such materials as thread, yarn, rope, leather, twine, string, jute or hemp for tying various knots. The most notable items seen today using macramé are hammocks and jewelry. However, back in the 13th century yarn and thread was knotted for decorative edges on clothing, linens and fabrics. Sailors became adept at macramé, using it for their own decorative purposes. Since those times this textile art has been used for pot hangers, belts, friendship bracelets, draperies, clothing, purses and jewelry, often with beads, shells or stones incorporated into the knots. Other materials used, especially in finer detailed work such as jewelry, are T-pins to hold the macramé work down and in place, project boards and masking tape.


Although there are a large selection of knots used in the art of macramé and new ones created all the time, there are a smaller group of four basic knots used predominately. They are the Lark's head knot, the square knot, the half-hitch knot and the basket stitch. A nearly unlimited number of designs can be created from just these four knots in different sequences. The knots can also be used individually for classic designs. The square knot mimics the appearance of a ladder and the half-hitch knot can make curves.


When the last knot of the macramé project is done the end is cut and usually a household clear-drying glue is used to seal it and hold it in place. The glue should be diluted with water (half glue and half water) and then, using a small paint brush, painted on. Another option for sealing the last knot is clear nail polish. Another way to secure the end of your project is to use a wrap knot with which there is no need for gluing. This particular knot also makes a great clasp end for jewelry.

About this Author

Karen Ellis has been a full-time writer since 2006. She is an expert crafter, with more than 30 years of experience in knitting, chrocheting, quilting, sewing, scrapbooking and other arts. She is an expert gardener, with lifelong experience. Ellis has taken many classes in these subjects and taught classes, as well.

Photo by: JesJewelz at Flickr

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How Does Macrame Work?