Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More of the Good Stuff

The Vogue Guide to Macrame, published in 1972, was produced in the hippy hempy macrame heyday.

Its one outstanding feature is an up and coming star in the textile industry: Kaffe Fassett, better known for his knitting and quilt colorways.

Another resource, if you can find a reprint of it, is the Priscilla Macrame Book. The reprint I found from Iva Rose Vintage Reproductions was a copy from the 1923 revised edition. It purports to be a "Collection of Handsome Designs" and indeed, it truly is. Most of the pieces look Victorian with lots of frittering and tassels.
It's one of those book where the instructions ain't so hot and you'll have to figure out the knotting sequences from looking at the old-timey photos. I did find one pattern that was a calling card case in this book, it became the inspiration for my Reynard necklace.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Where to Find Macrame Books

I don't know how other micro-macramers learned the craft, but I studied old macrame books and pamphlets; in fact, I scoured yard sales, second-hand bookstores and eBay for manuals, pamphlets, one-sheets, books, anything with macrame lessons with pictures. Here's what looks like a great source for more instructional books on macrame: KINGSKOUNTY.
I love that they have a section called "Best Sellers". Who knew?

This week let's focus on some favs from my massive collection of macrame instruction books. Mad About Macrame, No. 2, published in 1975, started the revolution, my friends.

Take a look at the cascading leaf pattern on this curtain/garden divider/alternate doorway to Narnia.
This was the pattern I had to reverse engineer for my leaf necklace. Completely smitten by the waviness of the design, I had an epiphany about stringing seed beads inside the leaf structures so that color would peep through each little opening, creating a minor stained glass effect.

And seriously, who can resist the delicacy of the macrame inset at the top of this window? Another excellent place to splash a little color ala seed beads.

I haven't gotten around to bringing this one to fruition, but if I ever do, it will be in micro-macrame.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Whoo Ya Gonna Call?

Two sisters in Buenos Aires make macrame owls like there's no tomorrow!
There are so many things to love about their darling owlies: how they've shaped the eyes, the gradation of colors in some of the knottings, and the stout twigs the owls are "standing on" are just a few. So if you have a hankering to amass your very own parliament of owls, but don't have the wherewithal to create them yourself, you now know where to find them, don't you?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ply Split Braiding

Julie Hedges is a British artist who works in ply-split braiding, which is sort of like micro-macrame, but not quite. Take a look at her incredible work.

Who Can Resist a Giveaway?

The thoroughly crafts-knowledgeable and mind-blowingly cool blog site Craftypod is conducting a giveaway of my book Micro-Macrame: 30 Beaded Designs for Jewelry Using Crystals and Cords. Hie thee hither and leave an entry as to why you should be the lucky recipient! The contest ends tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How to Tie a Macrame Square Knot Button

From the blog of This Year's Dozen: another nice basic tutorial on making a square knot button. I tend not to make macrame buttons in my work, only because I have such a magpie mentality that I go for the glitzy-glam sparkly button closure every time. I swear the sparklies hypnotize me in some psychotronic way...sigh...Still this is a useful technique, even in teeny tiny Micro-Macrame, for adding dimensional texture to a piece.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Imagine a Byzantine Midsummer's Dress

Macrame comes in and out of fashion these days; it's usually used in clothing as a visual comment on funkiness - a throwback to the kitschy fun of the flower child era.
This cute tie dye dress is from Swank Boutique in Columbia, MO.

But take it a step towards the divine: imagine creating a sumptuous Byzantine collar for a flowing Fortuny-pleated silk gown by knotting the yoke and upper back with strands of Gudebrod silk cording (size FF or FFF) smattered with a cascade of sparkly Swarovskis...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How to Make Hemp Jewelry Tutorial

I am not an aficionado of using hemp twine for jewelry because it's too coarse-looking and feel too rough on my skin, but I recently found a simple macramé tutorial which uses hemp to create flat knots and half knots. So instead of using hemp and clunky beads, I would substitute Gudebrod silk cording (size FF or FFF) and sparkly 6mm or 8mm crystal beads for the simple techniques shown in this lovely tutorial.
To learn micro-macramé, I scrounged second-hand shops for old macramé pamphlets and found reprints of Victorian macramé books and magazine articles on eBay. One time I found a 70's pamphlet with a back cover photo of a gorgeous (to me, at least) curtain panel featuring knotted leaves cascading down in rows. When I got the pamphlet home I couldn't find that particular project in its pages, so I had to reverse engineer the design; here's what I came up with.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Sleight of Hand With a Bit of String

Check out this June 10, 2009 New York Times article on macramé!

Love this quote from Alexa Adams:

"Moving it away from what people expect, and making it look more futuristic. Most people don’t even realize it’s macramé."