Andy N. is at it again! This is Andy’s second macramé workshop post. (Here’s the first: Macramé Rocks: A Love Story.) Don’t miss the how-to video at the bottom of this page for step-by-step instructions on how to make three basic macramé knots. Then, get started on your very own macramé masterpiece!
OK, that title may seem a little zealous, maybe even a little theatrical. But that’s how I feel. If you read my previous post, then you, dear and patient reader, know the whole back story of how macramé came into my life and gave me something to be passionate about at a very young age. Yes, I know. Some kids dream of playing on professional sports teams, and some dream of being in a band. I dreamt of square knots and half hitches and the next wall hanging that I would create in my macramé studio in my parents’ basement.
Let’s just say that macramé gave me an identity and a purpose all through the ’70s, and when 1980 rolled around and the macramé scene was over, I moved on with the rest of the crafting world. (I can’t believe I’m calling macramé a craft. When I was knotting my little heart out in the ’70s, the word macramé was too pedestrian. I preferred “fiber art.” La-di-da! Pretty uppity for a junior high geek who rode the bus and thought Donny and Marie Osmond were the height of musical sophistication.)
You can imagine my surprise when I started to hear our Trends team (those crazy millennials) talking about the new trend of macramé. WOW, did my ears perk up! They wanted to do a workshop, and word got back to the Trends team that I possessed, if you will, some modest experience in the fiber arts. I taught a workshop and several macramé protégés were born. Really! The artists who were part of that workshop spread the word, and the rest is history.
I’m like a proud parent. If I meet you on the street get ready for me to whip out my phone and show you my Hallmark clan and their amazing feats of macramé!
OK, on to the workshop! First let me say that I can be kind of a mess. I mentioned in my last blog post that I am always dirty. Well, I also have a tendency to lose things that were right in front of me and I can render simple devices inoperable faster than Linda Blair’s head swiveled around in “The Exorcist.” Case in point: I received a new 10-pound spool of cord in the mail, and as I took it out of its box, I accidentally tore part of the cardboard protector off of the top and then dropped the whole spool. This photo shows the result.
Dad to the rescue. Have I mentioned that my dad is 87? When will he stop having to rescue me? Dad did a drawing of a contraption he had made for me when I was doing macramé many years ago. Then he built this macramé spool-thing-a-ma-jiggy, and I have to say, everyone that does macramé needs one.
Discovering macramé supplies
I get a lot of questions about where I find the cord I use. My standard answer is that I look everywhere and I might find it anywhere. I found the material in this photo through Amazon.com. It’s a 10-pound spool of cotton welt cord. I send students to any on-line sources they can find, but also to hardware stores, craft stores, fabric shops, farm supply stores—the list goes on. If you can tie a knot with something, then you can macramé with it. (In his tutorial, Andy uses cotton piping welt cord, 22/32.)
My friend, Theresa, found some authentic, hand-painted, 1970s mushroom beads at a local garage sale, so she donated them to our most recent macramé class. Theresa RULES!
This is me working on a wall hanging during our class. I tie the strings up in what we call “butterflies” (a professional macramé term, please use it sparingly), so that the very long strands stay untangled as I am working.
We had some of our amazing and talented Hallmarkers working on projects during a recent workshop. I do have to brag on them for a minute. Each participant came to the photo studio to take the class in the morning. They learned the basic knots before lunch, went to lunch during which time they found any supplies that they would need for the afternoon, came back after lunch and started working on real projects. They are BRILLIANT!
Everything old is new again
When I heard about the renewed interest in macramé, I found myself smiling for days. It was like an old and dear friend had come home. I smiled some more as I found myself in my basement with ropes and dowel rods hanging from the floor joists, once again spending hours tying knots. But this time it wasn’t about me or my “art.” It was about sharing this odd craft with a new generation, seeing their creations, and seeing them smile.
Creating with tactile materials
In this day and age when we seem to be ruled by technology and social media, it does my heart good to see young people excited and calmed by something as simple as spending their valuable and precious time creating something with their own hands. The world will change but the act of creating will remain—whether it be my 87-year-old dad painting a landscape at his easel in his senior living apartment, a five-year-old gluing macaroni to a piece of construction paper, or a trendy millennial tying one square knot after another to create something out of their imagination. I relish the idea that I can pass on something that brought me so much happiness and that there are people who are interested.
If I am lucky, I will always be a teacher and a student. If I am lucky, I will always find a reason to have a smile on my face. If I am lucky, I will always find myself surrounded by younger people that make me feel relevant…even if that is through the art of macramé.
And don’t forget to show us your own macramé wall hangings, planters, bracelets, necklaces, keychains, curtains—whatever you have created with knots, beads, ropes and cords! Tag us on Instagram, @think.make.share!
Photograher: Kevin Cozad
Director: Mark Morton | Videographers: Mark Morton and Kevin Cozad | Producer: Jennifer Dreiling | Video Editor: Molly Nemer