Needle Tatting

By No machine-readable author provided. Dmeranda assumed (based on copyright claims). [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Although both crafts make use of knotting and stitches, tatting differs from macrame largely because it is purely decorative. It was developed mainly to imitate point lace, which was popular during the 19th century when dresses and curtains were often decorated with lace edgings.

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The Solomon BarFor this week, we learn to make a basic knot called the half-knot. It is often used to create the cobra stitch, which is also called the Solomon Bar or the Portuguese sinnet. It is recognizable by the zigzagging cords in the middle (cobra stitch) and the curved cords jutting out on the side of what looks like a bar of knots (Solomon Bar).

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macrame[EDITOR’S NOTE – This article had links to several other free patterns on other sites that are no longer available. We will be adding more free patterns of our own in the future. If you have any patterns you’d like to donate, please contact me at submissions@macramelovers.com. ]

For macrame beginners who may have stumbled upon this blog by chance, welcome! I am writing this post in honor of your courage to delve into the world of knotting despite its lack of popularity. Only a small population around the world still practice macrame. Most of these people are older and mature, and may have learned macrame during its heyday in the seventies.

Now the art of knotting may be coming back because of the macrame jewelry that has been making the rounds in fashion. The same decorative macrame is seen in fashionable dresses, handbags, hats and belts in 2010 Spring collections.

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Macrame For Men

by Macrame

IMG_0286Don’t let the title deceive you. It does not necessarily mean that paracord knotting is for men only. Women and children can do this stuff, too, because it’s very easy!

Paracords, also called 550 cords or parachute cords, are great materials for making bracelets, necklaces, keychains, lanyards and belts for your outdoors-type of friend. They are made from synthetic materials that can resist most elements, like water, salt and dirt.

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Finally, I have set up codes that will prevent wannabe image thieves. Now, we can safely feature the works of our readers, beginning with this beautiful Macrame Necklace that our friend, Jeanne Wertman, sent in. She also graciously sent instructions on how to make the beautiful leaf patterns.

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I have often encountered this question regarding macrame cords: How do I know the length of cord I needed for a project? It seems there is no exact formula for this until I came across Elaine Lieberman’s craftsite (no longer online). She has been gracious in letting me share the following tips (edited for uniqueness) in estimating the length of macrame cord to use:

  • Unless the pattern was very specific with the cord’s length, measuring a macrame cord’s quantity is mainly a trial-and-error game. The rule of thumb for this guesstimate depends on whether the design uses a lot of open spaces or closed spaces, or both.
  • If the macrame pattern uses a mix of open and closed spaces, then the cord should be estimated to be 4 times the length of the finished piece. The length of the finished piece depends on how much of the cord covers a wrist, neck or ankle.
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Sophine Giam with son and beloved Pomeranians

Sophine Giam with son and beloved Pomeranians

As our first Featured Designer, Sophine Giam is the top choice because of the quality of her works and her range of experience in making and marketing macrame jewelry and fashion accessories. She is an astute businesswoman from Singapore, happily married with children. She began selling macrame jewelry in August 2009 after she left her job of 7 years. Now her Etsy shop sells macrame jewelry as well as crochet jewelry, pet jewelry, and hair accessories.

1. How did you get started with macrame? What led you to it?
I came across a book on macrame and this led me into the interest. This is how I get started.

2. How much time do you devote to your business?
I didn’t realize until I am asked this question. I actually spent 12 hours a day! I spent it on crafting, photo taking, writing up descriptions, packaging and networking.

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I remember, when I was just starting out with macrame, I had difficulties in choosing the right cord to use for my design. I didn’t know how to look for them because I wasn’t familiar with the criteria to base my choices on.
If you are a beginner like I was, then read these seven qualities that you should consider when choosing your macrame cord.

1. Composition – The material from which the macrame cord was made is very important. Fibers, such as hemp and jute, used to be very popular with macrame artists.

However, their availability in the market influenced the rise in popularity of macrame cords made from nylon and satin rayon, which are man-made fibers. I suggest as a beginner, you should use nylon because they are easy to unravel in case you make a mistake in knotting.

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One of the hot trends on the runway this year is macrame. You’ll see it in vests, dresses, accessories and adornments. Diane von Fusterberg has a couple of gorgeous mini dress options available through Bloomingdale’s right now for $595 a piece, as well as a couple available directly through her website for Spring pre-order. There were several macrame accessories featured on Project Runway as well. Up and coming designer Jasper Garvida is also featuring macrame dresses in his Spring Summer 2010 Collection. Read more about it here:

Trend Talk Tuesdays: Macrame, Tongue In Cheek Blog

It is obviously going to be a big trend in fashion this year, so it’s time to get going on those macrame knots!

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If you have ever thought about selling your macrame jewelry, you might want to check out etsy.com. It’s a great community of online artists who are selling their handmade goods. Even if you aren’t thinking about selling your jewelry designs, it’s a great place to go for inspiration and ideas. Check it out!

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