Macrame is a Fascinating Ancient Craft

by Diane Kelly

Macrame is a traditional craft that is comparable to knitting. It is a textile-making craft which uses knotting techniques rather than weaving or knitting. It is a very ancient craft. macrame is believed to have originated with weavers from long ago Arabia who made hand-loomed fabrics in the 13th century. These weavers knotted the excess threads or yarn along left hanging along the edges of the fabric into decorative fringes on shawls, bath towels, and veils.

Macrame spread to Europe through Spain and was introduced into England in the late 17th century. Macrame gained popularity in the Victorian society; fancy trimmings for black and colored costumes made by macrame were coveted by fashionable society. The fashion waned in later years.

In days gone by sailors used to spend months at a stretch at sea. Time must have weighed heavily on them. Sailors would practice the art of macrame and decorate precious items like handles of knives or even parts of the ship on which they sailed. Everyone has seen a hammock.

The decorative macrame objects made by the sailors while at sea could be sold or bartered at the ports-of-call when the ships were in port. This way ancient Arabic craft spread to far away places like China, etc. The Chinese further refined this craft and today in many places it is called “Chinese knotting”. In the 19th century macrame was a popular pastime with British and American sailors; they made hammocks, belts, etc. in macrame.

macram went out of fashion in the mid-twentieth century. It is, however, gaining popularity once again. Belts, bedspreads, wall hangings, draperies and many other things are macramd. Plant hangers, tablecloths and small jean shorts in macram are also very much in vogue.

Jewelry made with macrame is often made by using glass or wooden beads, pendants, articles of bones or shells, as a focal point. Bracelets and earrings in macrame are quite in fashion. Sometimes gemstones or rings are used as decorative inserts. They can be either secured by wire-wrapping or held in a net made of intertwined knots. In Brazil swimming costumes made in macrame are hot items. You can make almost anything in macrame.

Now that macram gaining in popularity, there are many sites on the internet specifically devoted to giving instructions and explaining step by step how to macram. There are a bunch of e-tutorials on “How to Macram” available giving illustrated macram instructions. There are even a lot of websites where you can find information on macram patterns and macram knots illustrated with photographs for easy understanding.

You can find vendors selling macrame articles like jewelry, decorations, etc In many malls, and other public places. In schools there is a enthusiastic following to macrame in the arts and crafts courses. Since macrame has become quite popular as a hobby many crafts stores offer macrame materials including beads, work boards, etc.

EBay touts being the world’s largest internet market place. Popularity of macram can be gauged from the fact that even EBay is selling macram patterns, materials, and other supplies. It is only a matter of time now before chain stores like Target and Wal-Mart start stocking macram materials and supplies.

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