Janet Harriett is a writer and editor, random crafter, and lover of all things penguin. She had some crazy times as the senior editor of Apex Publications.

The Macrame Project

Deciding that "Get a hobby" was not specific enough, I adopted the expression "take up macrame." Then I figured why not? — just because I'd never seen it done and had no knowledge of what macrame even was beyond a vague notion of owls and plant hangers, that's no reason not to teach myself a new craft. So I'm learning macrame, and blogging the experience.

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Macrame Supplies

I may have miscalculated in starting The Macrame Project before payday. Crafts = craft supplies.  I’ll make a run to the craft store for proper supplies when funds are available, but for the first bit of getting down basics, I’ll make do with what I have on hand. It’ll be a bit before I get fancy with needing to hold cords at angles or make sure spacing between rows of knots is even. It looks like for starters, I just need:

  1. Something to tie in knots
  2. Something to hold (1) to while I tie the knots
  3. A method of affixing (1) to (2)

As for 1, I crochet, so string, I got. Yarn really. But I have lots of kinds of yarn. My first lesson has been that the fuzzy chenille blanket yarn is a horrible medium for learning macrame knots. It is way too fluffy. After some trial and error, I settled on some leftover chunky yarn from the year I made scarves for everyone. It seems to be easy enough to tie and see what I’m doing.

On to 2. The thing to use seems to be purpose-made macrame boards. Or failing that, a clipboard. I probably have one of those in my future (smart money is on "clipboard"), but for the time being, a throw pillow works.

Now for 3. T-pins appear to be the affixing method of choice, but the only T-pin in my life is holding up my calendar in my dayjob cubicle. I have safety pins. Safety pins are always a good choice. On to adventure!


So, WTF Have I Gotten Myself Into?

Step 1 in this adventure of learning macrame is to figure out exactly what I have committed to learn. My acquaintance with macrame is limited to knowing that it exists as a craft form, and that you can make plant hangers out of it. My grandmother had an owl wall hanging that I think was macrame. The eyes were wooden beads, and I recall it being vaguely unsettling. So, off to Wikipedia:

Macramé or macrame is a form of textile-making using knotting rather than weaving or knitting.

Well, this is off to an auspicious start for someone who has spent 30 years unable to keep her shoes tied for more than three hours at a stretch.

Most friendship bracelets exchanged among schoolchildren and teens are created using this method.

Fabulous. I sucked at friendship bracelets, too, and that did not make elementary school go any easier. But, looking for a bright side here, at that age I also hadn't quite gotten the knack of crochet either, and now I'm a wizard with a J hook. So there is hope. And a lot of knots in my future.


Introducing the Macrame Project

The Macrame Project started as a joke. At my dayjob, I frequently encounter people who can be very persistent about following up, even after I have already laid out a timeframe for the solution to their problem. Some people just will not accept that, if something takes 5 days, getting on my case every day does not make that process happen faster. As an alternative to "They need to get a hobby," I started saying that they need to take up macrame. Same idea, but "macrame" is fun to say. Plus, it's a thing that people (at least people alive in the 70s) tend to know exists, but few people know anyone who actually does it. Or even what exactly it is (we'll be getting to that in a future entry).

Then I figured, Why not take up macrame myself?  Macrame doesn't seem to have enjoyed the resurgence of popularity that crochet and knitting have had in recent years. Be the change you want to see in the crafting world and all. It could be fun to learn something new, not that I don't already have a lot on my plate. So, I am going to teach myself macrame, and blog the journey.