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How to Tie Basic Macramé Knots (With Chain, Braid and Cording Patterns)

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Dawn is a Canadian crafter skilled in textile work, weaving and toy making, among other arts. She enjoys tie-dyeing and budget crafting!

Brown Square Knot Sinnet with 3 Strands (6 Working) & Green Half Square Knot Sinnet with 2 Strands (4 working)

Brown Square Knot Sinnet with 3 Strands (6 Working) & Green Half Square Knot Sinnet with 2 Strands (4 working)

Learn How to Macramé: Knots, Braids, Chains, Cording and More

Macramé uses inexpensive materials, and it gives you exciting results for relatively few hours of effort. This awesome craft can be tackled by virtually anyone of any age.

If you know a few basic knots and have a little imagination, you can make an innumerable amount of things that are as beautiful as they are individual.

My Macrame Board

My Macrame Board

Getting Started: Supply List

Here are the main supplies you'll need to delve into macramé.

Working Surface

The first thing you will need, is a working surface. It should be something soft enough to take pins, but otherwise firm, reasonably rigid and portable.

  • I had a sleeping pad left over from when the kids were little, so I cut it to size on my clipboard. I also found it useful to put cuts at ½ inch intervals, to hold my strands tight.
  • Pick up a garden kneeling pad for under $10.00. Cut it to same size as the clip board, put your cuts all around the edge at 1" intervals and you are ready to go.
  • If you are looking around the house, a piece from a cardboard box would be ideal.
  • Styrofoam board, cork tile, balsa wood, or bulletin board material would work. So would wrapping a folded towel in a pillowcase.

Pins

There are many types of pins. If you have some in your sewing basket, they should work just fine. Later, depending on what you are working on, (like a plant hanger), you might need the bigger T-shaped pins, just to hold larger cords tight.

Thumb tacks work great if you are doing smaller things, like a micro macrame bracelet.

Other Items

  • Blunt needle: Sometimes a knot gets messed up, so keep a blunt needle handy to help you gently fix it.
  • Sharp scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Rubber bands: If you are going to be making a larger project, you need rubber bands. The rubber bands are great for making the longer cords used in some projects easier to handle.
  • Cording material: This can be whatever form of cord you like.
Macrame Fish - Diagonal Half Hitch Knot & Hemp Twine

Macrame Fish - Diagonal Half Hitch Knot & Hemp Twine

How to Tie Macramé Knots

There are many types of material you can use to macramé. The fish shown above are made with hemp twine, and the following pictures use some yarn and ordinary twine from my kitchen. I will cover more materials later on; for now, let's start knotting.

Why You Should Learn the Lark's Head Knot First

The first knot is called the Lark’s Head Knot. This knot is commonly used to secure your work. You can use any number of things to secure your work. Above, I used key rings to secure the fish. The key rings are one example of a ‘holding cord’.

  • When tying knots for a project, cords that hold the knots are also referred to as ‘holding cords’.
  • The strands that tie the actual knot are called ‘knotting cords’..
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Read More From Feltmagnet

Forward Lark's Head Knot

Forward Lark's Head Knot

Reversed Lark's Head Knot

Reversed Lark's Head Knot

How to Tie a Lark's Head Knot

You'll need to learn both the front and reverse versions of this knot.

Front Lark's Head Knot

Cut two stands, about the length of your arm.

  1. Fold one piece of string in half
  2. Thread the looped end under the ‘holding cord’
  3. Pull the loose ends through the hoop
  4. Pull tight

Repeat with the 2nd Strand. This will give you four loose working ends, with the knots showing in front of your work.

When you are doing a project, you might want just the strings to show. To do this, you make what is called a Reverse Lark’s Head Knot.

Reverse Lark's Head Knot

This is done in the same way as the Front Lark’s Head Knot, only this time:

  1. Fold one piece of string in half
  2. Thread the looped end over the ‘holding cord’
  3. Pull the loose ends through the hoop
  4. Pull tight

Your knot is now concealed behind the working ends.

Either knot can be used to anchor a series of working strands to the holding ‘cord’.

Numbers in a Square Knot

Numbers in a Square Knot