Crafty Ambitions: Macrame skills acquired

I never went to summer camp. I was never in a school program where I was taught crafty things. Nearly every skill I have I taught myself. Its even easier today to learn almost anything in the vastness of the interwebs. I’ve always wanted to learn to macrame, even before I knew that macrame is not the word for macaroni art.

Learning that macrame is a bunch of knots, I kind of got nervous. Because I am a firm believer in refraining from accidentally tying perfectly good supplies into knots that you can’t get aloose.

Trying it anyway, I taught myself the bare basics of macrame.  I spent hours at a time teaching myself macrame. Two days altogether at least. Relying on sheer stubbornness and crafty animal instinct when it all got to be too confusing :-).

This is the first macrame project I completed, with the Alternating Leaves Pattern tutorial by Beyond Bracelets. (A co-worker of my mom said she wanted a bracelet and provided the materials; I wanted to make some nice so I looked into macrame bracelets…only to discover she wanted a single crochet chain bracelet. Floored by the of challenge, I stubbornly made this one anyway.)

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Turns out, I was working with common friendship bracelet knowledge. Referring to knots as forward knots and backward knots when other people call them double half hitchs without differentiating between which way the knot is tied. When I first came across this confusion, I Googled about it incessantly but couldn’t find any clear information on the different names for macrame knots. Finding a beautiful tutorial for rosebud bracelet on YouTube I wanted to do, I emailed the designer, Christina Larsen of CLS Designs and asked her about the various names for macrame knots because she uses terms like double half hitch in her tutorial as opposed to forward or backward knot.

And yes, like you said, the double half hitch and the forward and backward knots are pretty much the same. It’s just because in the friendship bracelet world that’s what the knots are referred to as.

–Christina Larsen

I’m still not sure if she was being quaint and friendly or condescending/patronizing/uppity. I definitely got the sensation of This is what we call these knots in the adult world, sweetie. She’s a professional, I’m a beginner, and I try to keep in mind that I feel that way before I go off thinking she was intentionally being a jerk. For me, the bracelet was better worked using images from the photo tutorial at her website though.  Using the thickest string/cording I own (hemp), I finally finished the rosebud bracelet, leaving the mistakes in the final work since I didn’t feel like taking them apart and also as a testament to my perseverance and determination; I’m still not sure if it was my knotting or the hemp material that made the rosebuds imperfect.

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Macrame doesn’t seem easy to learn online or super accessible but possible. In any event, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished! I’m working on new knots, macrame lettering (a knowledge of cross stitch embroidery is surprising helpful in this), and a new set of bracelets too.

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