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Cavandoli Macramé

Macramé or macrame is a form of textile-making using knotting rather than weaving or knitting. Its primary knots are the square knot and forms of "hitching": full hitch and double half hitches. It was long crafted by sailors, especially in elaborate or ornamental knotting forms, to decorate anything from knife handles to bottles to parts of ships.

Cavandoli macramé is a variety of macramé used to form geometric patterns and free-form patterns like weaving. The Cavandoli style is done mainly in a single knot, the double half-hitch knot. Reverse half hitches are sometimes used to maintain balance when working left and right halves of a balanced piece.

Leather or fabric belts are another accessory often created via macramé techniques. Most friendship bracelets exchanged among schoolchildren and teens are created using this method. Vendors at theme parks, malls, seasonal fairs and other public places may sell macramé jewelry or decoration as well.


Macramé comes from a 13th Century Arabic weavers’ word “migramah” meaning “Fringe” This refers to the decorative fringes on camels and horses which help, amongst other things, to keep the flies off in the hot desert regions of northern Africa…

Another school of thought thinks that it comes from Turkish “makrama”: “napkin,” or “towel” and was a way to secure the ends of pieces of weaving by using the excess thread and yarn along the top and bottom edges of loomed fabrics.

One of the earliest recorded uses of macramé style knots as decoration appeared in the carvings of the Babylonians and Assyrians. Fringe-like plaiting and braiding adorned the costumes of the time and were captured in their stone statuary. Macramé traveled from north Africa, with the Moors during their conquests, to Spain, and as a result of this conquest it spread, firstly to France, and then throughout Europe.

Decorative macramé owls
necklaces from Tobati (Paraguay).

In the Western Hemisphere, macramé is believed to have originated with 13th-century Arab weavers. These artisans knotted the excess thread and yarn along the edges of hand-loomed fabrics into decorative fringes on bath towels, shawls, and veils. The Spanish word macramé is derived from the Arabic migramah (مقرمة), believed to mean "striped towel", "ornamental fringe" or "embroidered veil." After the Moorish conquest, the art was taken to Spain, then to Italy, especially in the region of Liguria, and then spread through Europe. It was introduced into England at the court of Mary II in the late 17th century. Queen Mary taught the art of macramé to her ladies-in-waiting.[1]

Sailors made macramé objects in off hours while at sea, and sold or bartered them when they landed, thus spreading the art to places like China and the New World. Nineteenth-century British and American sailors made hammocks, bell fringes, and belts from macramé. They called the process "square knotting" after the knot they used most frequently. Sailors also called macramé "McNamara's Lace".[1]

Macramé was most popular in the Victorian era. Sylvia's Book of Macramé Lace (1882), a favorite, showed readers how "to work rich trimmings for black and coloured costumes, both for home wear, garden parties, seaside ramblings, and balls—fairylike adornments for household and underlinens ..." Most Victorian homes were adorned by this craft. Macramé was used to make household items such as tablecloths, bedspreads and curtains.[1]

Though the craze for macramé faded, it has regained popularity since the 1970s as a means to make wall hangings, articles of clothing, bedspreads, small jean shorts, tablecloths, draperies, plant hangers and other furnishings.[2]

Macramé jewelry has become popular among the American neo-hippie and grunge crowd, starting in the early 1970s. Using mainly square knots and granny knots, this jewelry often features handmade glass beads and natural elements such as bone and shell. Necklaces, anklets and bracelets have become popular forms of macramé jewelry.


A large macramé project in progress, using rope as cord, tied to a wooden dowel.

Materials used in macramé include cords made of cotton twine, linen, hemp, jute, leather or yarn. Cords are identified by construction, such as a 3-ply cord, made of 3 lengths of fibre twisted together.[1] Jewelry is often made in combination of both the knots and various beads (glass, wooden, and so on), pendants or shells. Sometimes 'found' focal points are used for necklaces, such as rings or gemstones, either wire-wrapped to allow for securing or captured in a net-like array of intertwining overhand knots. A knotting board is often used to mount the cords for macramé work. Cords may be held in place using a C-clamp, straight pins, T-pins, U-pins, or upholstery pins.[1]

For larger decorative pieces, such as wall hangings or window coverings, a work of macramé might be started out on a wooden or metal dowel, allowing for a spread of dozens of cords that are easy to manipulate. For smaller projects, push-pin boards are available specifically for macramé, although a simple corkboard works adequately. Many craft stores offer beginners' kits, work boards, beads and materials ranging in price for the casual hobbyist or ambitious craftsperson.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Virginia Colton, ed. (1979). Complete Guide to Needlework. Montreal: The Reader's Digest Association Canada. p. 445. ISBN 0888500858. 
  2. ^ Chace, Susan; Pennant, Lilla; Warde, John Maury; Wright, David (1981), Crafts & Hobbies, Reader's Digest, p. 28, ISBN 0-89577-063-6, retrieved 2009-09-20 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macramé — Please support Wikipedia.
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344 news items

Sun, 21 Sep 2014 13:26:15 -0700

Macramé (could this be Milan's handicraft of choice this season?) was worked with a robust athleticism and a neon color palette. The most Tweet-worthy highlights were translucent plastic rain jackets and skirts with a floral design (perhaps best worn ...
The Southern
Sat, 20 Sep 2014 23:00:00 -0700

The third class will allow attended to create a Macramé Plant Holder and will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 16 in Hamilton County Senior High School, room B157 in McLeansboro. This class will teach participants the techniques to making a macramé holder and ...
Sat, 20 Sep 2014 00:52:06 -0700

But even as the show progressed, he imbued it all with a ballerina's grace: Skirts were long and full above macramé and leather skimmers, and light-as-air gingham cardigans twisted around the torso of matching checked dresses, belting gently at the waist.

Naples Daily News

Naples Daily News
Fri, 19 Sep 2014 01:07:34 -0700

Faced with the same problem many of us have, Mindy Rashbaum, a local tennis instructor and owner of Get Crunched tennis conditioning, stores her jewelry, watches and collection of groovy macramé bracelets, crystals and other wannabe hippy accessories ...

New York Times

New York Times
Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:45:00 -0700

She dresses in a panorama of whimsical clothing — Japanese wrappers and Turkish slippers — and decorates their rooms by “adding lengths of beading and swaths of macramé and lace to picture rails and mantelpieces, arranging ostrich feathers in jars.
New York Times
Fri, 19 Sep 2014 10:03:45 -0700

You know something is going on when even a “new” designer like Marco de Vincenzo, whose work is marked by a uniquely inventive facility with both color and fabric, nevertheless starts playing around with macramé, fringe and basket-weave — though to ...

New York Times

New York Times
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 10:20:37 -0700

To be specific: Juliet-worthy mousseline nightie gowns, occasionally sprinkled with blooms for an extra dose of flower power; flesh-colored macramé pants and lace-edged jumpsuits; long fringed suede vests and floral ponchos; faded denim (denim!) ...
Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:01:47 -0700

Alessandro Dell'Acqua invented a new fashion category with his No. 21 show tonight: military rococo. A khaki shirt belted over a pencil skirt in swirling, ornately sequined macramé defined the idea. It wasn't the only look that married opposites ...

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