I've been involved in some behind the scenes work for a local fibre festival which is coming up very soon (check out The Knot Fibre Festival for all the details) and I've become a little obsessed with covering chairs in fibre of all kinds and particularly with the ancient art of macrame (yes tongue is firmly in cheek here). I still have a couple of my Mum's fab macrame wall hangings and remember making a macrame owl with her when I was a kid (if only I could find it now).
I've been sharing some of my knotting adventures on Instagram and a few lovely ladies have expressed a desire to give it a go themselves. So.... I am going to have a bash at writing and photographing a few macrame tutorials showing a couple of different techniques whilst also decorating my new (old) dining chairs. Whilst my projects will be demonstrated on chairs they could also be used to make wall hangings - just replace the chair back with a piece of dowel or a stick. All my macrame bits have been found in op shops but you could also use cotton cord from the hardware or have a look on Etsy (there's nearly 10 000 listings under macrame cord YIKES!).
1 wooden chair, dowel or stick (if you are using a stick you will need somewhere to hang it while you work)
10 lengths of 5mm thick macrame cord cut to 160cm lengths
5 large wooden beads
This project is worked in alternating square knots and you will also use a larks head to start and a rolling hitch to finish. So lets get started.....
1. the larks head
Possibly the easiest macrame technique ever and the one you will use most often when starting a project.
Fold your cord in half.
Put the loop end behind the chair from above.
Put ends through the loop and pull tight.
Repeat for the remaining nine cords.
2. Square knots
A square knot is worked with a group of four cords. You knot with the two outer cords over the middle two filler cords.
STEP 1 - put the left-hand knotting cord (1) over the two filler cords (2 & 3) and the right-hand knotting cord (4) over the leg of the left-hand knotting cord making the shape of a 4.
STEP 2 - bring the right-hand knotting cord (4) under the filler cords (2 & 3) and up through the loop made by the left-hand knotting cord (1) - pull up the two knotting cords
STEP 3 - put the right-hand knotting cord (4) over the top of the filler cords (2 & 3) and the left-hand knotting cord (1) over the leg of the right-hand knotting cord (4) to make a backward 4.
STEP 4 - bring the left-hand knotting cord (1) under the filler cords (2 & 3) and up through the loop made by the right-hand knotting cord (4) - pull up the two knotting cords and you've made one square knot HURRAH!!
STEP 5 - work four more square knots across the cords on the chair back so you have five square knots as your top line.
3. Alternating square knots
To make alternating square knots - drop the first two cords (1 & 2) and work your first square knot using the last two cords from knot one above (3 & 4) and the first two cords from knot two above (5 & 6). Continue across the row - you will work four square knots in total - dropping two cords at the end.
The third row is worked the same as the first - five cm below the second row. Then if you fancy add some beads - threading them onto the filler cords, then tie another square knot under each bead.
Then work two more alternating rows - you will have six rows in total and finish with five square knots.
4. finishing off - half hitches (kinda)
Take the longest cord you have left beneath the square knot, bring it in front of the three remaining cords and make a loop, pass the end around the filler cords and through the loop, tighten and repeat.
Finish off under each square knot and if you're so inclined trim the ends so they are even. I've also pinned each of mine to the underneath of the chair to give it a really clean finish (and stop the wee boy from grabbing hold of it and hanging off it).
5. put your feet up
Make a cuppa and sit down on your newly macrame bedazzled chair or admire your fab new wall hanging.
P.S. I hope that made sense, if not please don't hesitate to ask me any questions.