What is Macramé?

A macramé wall-hanging with Cat's hands tying a barrel knot

Macramé is an ancient craft that involves knotting cords or strings together to create decorative or functional objects. The origins of macramé are difficult to trace precisely because it has been practised by many cultures throughout history. However, it is believed that macramé was first developed by Arab weavers in the 13th century.

Cat from Big Day Macrame holding a macrame wall hanging

A brief history of macramé

The word ‘macramé’ is believed to come from the Arabic word ‘migramah’ which means ‘fringe’. Arab weavers used macramé to make fringes on their shawls, veils, and other garments. This technique then spread to other parts of the world, including Europe and the Americas.

In the 17th century, macramé became popular in England as a way to make lace-like pieces using knotting techniques, then was picked up by sailors to create items such as hammocks, belts, and bags on their long voyages. During the Victorian era, macramé became a popular hobby for women, and many intricate pieces were created using the technique.

Resurgence to Retro to Renaissance

Macramé experienced a resurgence in the 1960s and 1970s when it became associated with the hippie movement and was used to create bohemian-style clothing, accessories, and decorative home décor from plant hangers to table covers, cushion covers and owls. So many owls!

Until recently this beautiful craft was considered a ‘retro’ craft, consigned to faded coffee table books, a box of bits & bobs stashed in your aunt’s attic, or the odd plant hanger forlornly displayed in the window of a charity shop.

However, during the 2020-2021 pandemic, macramé (among other crafts) had another lease of life due to the mindful nature of the knotting and it being a sofa activity you could do in your own home. People realised how many practical (and beautiful) things they could make with some string and a few simple knots, and the craft is now very much here to stay!

What can you make with macramé?

If you can tie a knot with it, you can create something with macramé!

I’m talking shoelaces, strips of material (think cut up old t-shirts, bedsheets etc) or even plain household string. Sure, if you want a polished and ‘pretty’ final look it’s best to invest in some specialist macramé cord but the art of knotting can be enjoyed with a multitude of mixed materials. From wall hangings to plant hangers to jewellery, the possibilities are endless with this versatile and timeless technique.

Not sure where to begin?

Here are some useful links below to get you started on your journey!

Macramé Masterclass

But… if you want to go BIG… and I mean, turn up the WOW factor to 100… then why not check out my online Macramé Masterclass? Over 3 weeks you will be given the knowledge & taught the skills to make a show-stopping, macramé backdrop from scratch, with zero prior knowledge required.

And yes… this course is beginner-friendly!

Large white macrame wall hanging against a red and brown brick wall
Macramé Masterclass

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