How to Macrame
Welcome to the wonderful world of macrame! These are macrame instructions for beginners. More advance macrame knots are available here. Below, we will discuss some of the basic macrame knots and macrame knotting techniques you can use to get started.
Now we can start! Begin by anchoring your cord to a key ring, stick, or other solid object. A larkshead knot will hold securely, and is easily removed when necessary. Fold your rope(s) in half and lay it down on a surface so that it looks like an upside down "U". Place the ring on top of the "U" and fold the "U" over the bottom curve of the ring. Now pull all four strands through the loop formed by your cord and tighten to form a knot.
(OPTIONAL) Before you do any stitching, you may want to keep your cord from getting tangled by looping the cord around your thumb and pinkie fingers in a criss-cross figure eight type pattern. Once the entire length of cord has been wound, tie a rubber band around the center. Release small amounts of cordage at a time.
Larkshead Knot: The Larkshead knot is one of the most basic knots of all times, and comes in both vertical and horizontal versions. In its simplest form, you make a loop, pull one end through that loop and tighten. With two cords, you wrap one cord over and around the other, bring the end through the loop, and tighten. Do the same thing (with the same cord) only this time, bring the cord under and around and through (instead of over, around and through).
Half knot: The half-knot is a simple 1-2-3 knot. Using your four initial cords (two inner "core" cords, and two outer "knot" cords), bring the rightmost cord over your two middle cords and under your left most cord. Next bring your leftmost cord under the two middle cords and through the loop that has been created in the rightmost cord. [Important note: The leftmost cord should be pulled through the loop from the backside coming to the front. If you do it from front to back, the patterns will not work, as I had to learn the hard way!] Tighten and you have a knot. Or even more simply: Right- over, under Left- under, over. Got it? A series of these half knots will give you a spiral. Now let's move on.
Square knot: This is a step more complicated, but nothing you can't handle. Make a half-knot, but don't pull it tight. Now your left string (let's call it "L") is on the right, and the right string (let's call it "R") is on your left. Bring "L" under the two middle cords, and over "R". Now bring "R" over the two middle cords and through the loop in "L". Tighten for you square knot. Simplified: square knot is a half knot and then the opposite: Right- under, over, Left- over, under. Repeat for a sennit of square knots.
Granny knot: This is the same as a square knot, but instead of alternating which side of the cord goes on top, use the same side for each knot. (If you put the left over the right and pull the right through the loop do this each time instead of alternating left on top, right on top etc.).
If you are a more visual person, watch this video to get a better grasp of the technique.
Double half hitch: The double half hitch, is a little more complicated, but produces magnificent effects. This unique knot can be executed in various forms, be it vertical, horizontal or diagonal. Like most other stitches, double half hitch has two types of players; the knotters and the core strand(s). For simplicity's sake, let's name our core strand Sam and give our other three strands letters A, B and C to represent. I'll show you horizontal first (because vertical is simple and diagonal is impressive). Start with all four strands straight out in front of you. Take Sam, and place him horizontally across A, B and C. While still keeping the end under Sam, take A and bring him up, over and through the loop that Sam has created by lying horizontally (simply put, pull cord A through the loop to form a knot.) Do this again. Now take cord B and do the same thing. Bring it up, over and through the loop made by Sam. Do this again. Repeat the process for strand C. Make sure to do each strand twice. When you get to the end of the row, lay Sam down horizontally again over A, B and C and work your way from right to left this time. The double half hitch makes pretty rows of knots. To make the double half hitch diagonal, simply lay Sam down diagonally instead of horizontally. The zigzag can be as subtle or as drastic as you like, and the results are beautiful. You can also create diamonds within your pattern by using both your core cords as Sam1 and Sam2 and alternating the direction in a consistent "V" and upside down "V" pattern.
While there are various equations that people will swear by, I find that doing four times the length of the finished product will give you enough cordage to get the job done (unless you are doubling over in which case you'll need eight times.)
For the first few macrame knots, hold the stick/ring taught while you're pulling the knot tight to form a firm and steady line of knots. Alternatively, you can pull the core cords tight at the end of the project, but you're less likely to get the finished product as tight as you would when using the first method.
Often, the outer cords will be used up much faster than the core cords, which don't move around (or if they do, not nearly as much). As such, you may need even more cordage for the outer two and less for the inner ones.
Also, macrame knotting done with thicker cord will take up more cord than thinner materials. Remember this when calculating cord length.
Using different colors opens you up to many more options and creates amazing results. Tie one color between the strands of the other color, or tie them next to one another, and you can make gorgeous patterns (see some