The ancient art of macramé is believed to have originated in the Middle East, when 13th-century Arabic weavers knotted rope into decorative fringes for their camels and horses, designed, in part, to keep off the flies in north Africa’s desert heat. The name ‘macramé’ is thought to come from the Arabic weavers’ word migramah, meaning ‘fringe’.
Macramé resurfaced as a craft trend in Victorian times and again in the 1970s, when hanging plant holders were all the rage. In the past few years, macramé has experienced another resurgence, this time with a fresh, modern twist. I started making macramé over three years ago. As a birthday present, a macramé artist friend taught me how to tie two knots – the same ones I am going to teach you in the tutorial that follows. I got hooked straight away and I’ve been knotting ever since.
What I love about macramé is how simple, yet versatile it is. With just two knots you can create beautiful and intricate patterns; moreover, it’s relaxing and therapeutic too. For me, the repetitiveness of the knotting is like a mindfulness meditation. It brings a calmness to my movements and slows my breathing. I find that if I’m stressed, the simple, rhythmic act, and the feel of the natural cotton strings between my fingers, gives me the time to think calmly while I am making, rather than flitting, unfocused, from one task to the next.
Often, just 10 minutes of macramé is enough to help me completely relax. If you haven’t tried macramé before, the placemat (pictured left) is a simple, beautiful project to help you learn the basic knots, while enjoying the mindfulness of your actions.
Have a go at this project while listening to music, sitting outside in your garden on a warm day, or simply enjoying the silence of your home and letting your mind focus on the task in hand. Read on to try our free macrame placemat pattern.
This article was first published in In The Moment Magazine issue 23. Discover our latest subscription offers or order a back issue.