One of my sons only recently took a road trip with his grandparents hundreds of miles away to their house in Idaho. He was only 6 years old, I had never been to my in-laws’ new home in Idaho, and I’d never been away from any of my sons for more than a weekend — needless to say, I was a bit of an emotional mess during his few weeks away. His first night away was the hardest for me, so I had to do something to calm my nerves. Instead of emotional eating and binge drinking, I emotional-crafted and binge-macraméd! I was all tied up in knots anyway, so I thought I’d try my hand at some of the trickier knot designs I’ve been seeing in stores and on social media.
This project originally appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry.
Macrame Bib Necklace by Johanna Love Directions:
Tie one druzy component to center of wooden component with white twine.
Cut eight pieces of white twine about 10 feet long each.
Clip wooden component to clipboard. Using forward lark’s head knot, attach middle of each piece of twine to bottom of wooden component. There should be four strands on each side of druzy component.
Tie four square knots across first row using all 16 strings. Tie three square knots across next row, leaving two strings free on each side of row.
Tie two square knots on third row, leaving four strings free on each side of row. Braid three strings down about 1 inch onto end of each row.
Braid next three strings in on each side and tie, alternating half-hitch knots down about 1 inch. Braid remaining four strings in middle, and tie larger brass component onto front of design.
Resume alternating square knots as you did at top of design, stringing a wooden bead into center of design followed by a brass bead every few rows.
Tie one last row of square knots under brass bead, divide loose strings into four sections, and tie each section with 1-inch vertical alternating half-hitch knots.
Tie row of square knots at end of four half-hitch sections, and tie other druzy component into center of your design.
Tie two opposing diagonal half-hitch rows, fastening each in center with square knot.
Tie brass beads about 1 inch below last diagonal row, fastening beads with overhand knots, and then trim another 1 inch below beads.
Create a fringed look by unraveling ends of strings with your fingers.
Now that your macramé bib is complete, unclip from clipboard.
Cut two pieces of brown twine about 5 feet long each.
String each halfway through holes in the sides of wooden component.
Tie overhand knots along each string, periodically stringing beads and components between knots.
Secure ends together with square knot, and trim extra twine.
Macramé typically takes a very long time, especially if you want every knot and row to be symmetrical. For a messier look, rush through the steps. For deliberate asymmetry, tie an extra number of knots or rows on one side.
All of your beads and components will need to have large holes to accommodate the thicker twine. This is why so many macramé pieces you see are made with wooden beads, as wooden beads typically have larger holes for stringing. If you want to add more delicate beads that have holes drilled too small to string onto your twine, tie them onto your finished design with matching thread or thin-gauge wire.
Search online to see photos of macramé knots and further visual definitions and instructions, as I did to create this necklace. Many macramé artists have scanned and uploaded vintage knot tutorial sheets from the 1800s. Good techniques never age!
Johanna Love lives in Laguna Niguel, California, with her husband and their three sons. She is the director of photography at Stampington & Company. Follow her on Instagram, (@lovejohannalove) to see more of her “hippie bling,” natural living, and family antics.
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