As a product of the 1970s, I’ve seen my share of macrame. So many dangling plant holders. So many different types of apparel. Then there was the gigantic owl with bulging bead eyes, perched on a piece of petrified cactus—he hovered over my family’s hi-fi during most of my formative years. Many may consider it kitschy or even a bit of an eyesore, but macrame has made a comeback in recent years.


I decided to give it a try. I bought a cheap kit with a relatively simple pattern and spent a Sunday afternoon with another curious and creative friend. In two hours time, I finished one small section and there are five more to go. In the end, I’ll have a four-inch-wide and twenty-inch-long wall hanging. It’s definitely not an enormous project, but I do value the learning experience of it. Here’s what I’ve discovered about macrame so far:

Prep time is important
This never occurred to me before pulling out my supplies and instructions: there’s some preparation involved in macrame. There’s the matter of cutting the string to precise lengths. There’s the attaching of them to the base. I was eager to begin making knots, of course, but proper set-up is necessary for the more gratifying next steps.

Keep your strings straight
My project involves ten strings, which means I have to manage twenty pieces hanging from the base. I feel like Rapunzel’s hairstylist, manipulating those long blonde cords into tidy knots and braids, setting to the side or over the top what I’ll work on later. At first, it all felt like a big tangle, but I eventually landed on a system that helped make the whole process more manageable.

Rely on your own logic
I spent the bulk of my first two hours of macrame-making simply studying and trying to make sense of the project instructions, including detailed diagrams. It wasn’t until I put the instructions away, and began to experiment and understand the logic of the knots on my own terms, that I made some progress. But isn’t that the way it is with everything artistic or otherwise? I don’t know about you, but I find that, in this kind of transition, I enter the zone of true creativity.

I admit gravitating toward boho-chic decor and anything boasting interesting texture. In turn, macrame seems of natural interest to me. I look forward to mastering the basics through this first project, then considering how I could grow my skills further, perhaps in a creative work of my own dreaming. It’s worth a try.