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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 regained popularity during the 1970s as a means to make wall hangings, articles of clothing, bedspreads, small jean shorts, tablecloths, draperies, plant hangers and other furnishings. By the early 1980s macramé had again begun to fall out of fashion as a decoration trend.[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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40318 news items

The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 10:08:27 -0700

The word macramé might scream psychedelic seventies, but the newest takes on this fabric-weaving trend are totally modern. “It's not your mom's dusty old jute plant hanger,” says Laura Ayres-Selent, a working mother of two in Newmarket, Ont., who's ...

Sioux Falls Argus Leader

Sioux Falls Argus Leader
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 03:10:22 -0700

I made key fobs from spoons and forks, which I "beheaded" and wrapped with beads, as well as macramé hemp necklaces. My first booth space was laughable, to say the least, but that didn't stop me from trying out Sidewalk Arts Festival the following ...

Hollywood Life

Hollywood Life
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 09:18:45 -0700

Another favorite is the Victoria's Secret Beach Sexy The Midi, $38.50. With a macramé panel in front and a full macramé back, this stylish swimsuit is great for pool parties. We're clearly feeling Demi's bandeau bikini, but do you agree? Comment and ...
Sun, 26 Apr 2015 20:58:07 -0700

The first segment of the pageant saw the models taking to the ramp dressed in national colours, while in the second and final segments, they were dressed in Macramé and evening wear. Their outfits were designed by South Africa-based Zimbabwean ...


Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:48:45 -0700

Indeed, the original macramé bracelets are ubiquitous, in the very best way. What started with a four leaf clover in the colors of the Italian flag has evolved into new designs and colors from butterflies to zodiac signs, from the red bow for AIDS to ...
The Register-Guard
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 16:26:15 -0700

Macramé plant hangers and terrariums, features from a generation ago, are back, but with a more contemporary feel. “Our macramé is cleaner, more streamlined and more contemporary-looking,” says Heibel. “And the terrariums have much more use of ...

Jeunes d'Exception

Jeunes d'Exception
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 10:26:15 -0700

En raison du travail de l'accusé, les procureurs de la poursuite et de la défense, qui proposeront une suggestion commune, ont convenu de fixer au 19 octobre l'imposition de la peine. D'autres dossiers reliés à Macramé revenaient devant la justice ...


Fri, 17 Apr 2015 21:00:59 -0700

Macramé, tapisserie, tissage, tressage (kumihimo), filage, tricot ou encore crochet, tous les moyens sont bons pour développer un doigté de fée et façonner sa propre création unique. Chaque semaine, une différente technique sera abordée et développée ...

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