A particularly knotty problem – how to Macramé!


This month we learnt the traditional art of macramé (basically fancy knotting) to make our own 70s style plant holders!

Macramé is a form of textile produced using knotting techniques. It may come from a 13th-century Arabic weavers’ word migramah meaning “fringe”. This refers to the decorative fringes on camels and horses which help, amongst other things, to keep the flies off the animal in the hot desert regions of northern Africa. Another school of thought indicates that it comes from Turkish makrama, “napkin” or “towel”, and was a way to secure the ends of pieces of weaving by using the excess thread and yarn along the top and bottom edges of loomed fabrics.

Wherever it came from, macramé traveled from north Africa to Spain with the Moors and as a result of their conquest it spread, firstly to France, and then throughout Europe. It was introduced into England at the court of Mary II in the late 17th century, the Queen taught the art of macramé to her ladies-in-waiting.  Interestingly, sailors (not people you usually think of as decorative crafters) made macramé objects in off hours while at sea, and sold or bartered them when they landed.

So, after a learning a bit of this history, we were ready to get going!  We were starting simple, and aiming for a plant holder made from 8 threads.  Once you have your threads, knot them all together, divide into four and then start knotting and dividing again. Confused?!  So were we (I totally can’t explain how to do this in writing!)…  For a more comprehensible tutorial the internet is definitely your friend.  Try this one for a simple starting point.

With slightly more understandable instructions, we were all able to make something which not only held a plant pot but also looked cool and professional!