Exploring macrame jewelry

A few months ago I started venturing into the world of micro macramé. I was looking for a portable craft to do at sporting events during timeouts, and someone mentioned macramé in a comment. Curious as to what macramé is, I Googled it, and came across this helpful site. As I was looking at the various knot tutorials, I was surprised to learn that some of the crafts that I have done in the past, such as hemp bracelets, friendship bracelets and lanyards, actually utilized macramé knots. So I had been doing micro macramé for years without even realizing it was macramé! Since I’ve never anchored the ends of the strings down or used pins, I am able to take my projects with me wherever I go. (This was because I had to quickly hide my friendship bracelet activity from my mom, or else she’ll scold me for wasting time.) I simply fold up the strings and they don’t get tangled. (Even if they did, I’m really good at untangling, so it’s not a problem for me.)

I don’t have any interest in making large projects, such as pot hangers. Instead, I’ve been studying how to use macramé to make jewelry. The site MacrameSchool.com has clear and concise video tutorials for many styles of macramé jewelry. She goes quite quickly, though, so I needed to pause and replay many times.

DSCF7554q

My first attempt at the Double Wave Bracelet, using Chinese knotting cord.

Since I already have a spool of hemp cord from many years ago, I’ve been using it to make jewelry. However, I’m wondering if hemp looks cheap. After all, it is a natural fiber, so it is biodegradable and probably won’t last as long as something made out of metal. Also, it’s associated with hippies. (I don’t have a problem with hippies, but some people do.) I think hemp doesn’t look so bad when it’s used with beads or even metal findings. I have seen some dyed hemp that looks nice.

hemp bracelet with beads

Modified “fish bone” knot bracelet using hemp cord and glass beads.

I am thinking of getting some waxed cotton or polyester cord since it might look a little classier than hemp. At least it won’t feel as rough or scratchy. I am thinking of buying cord online, but sellers carry either a wide assortment of colors in shorter lengths, or fewer colors in 100 meter spools. Perhaps I should first take a look at waxed cotton and polyester cords in a store before buying larger quantities online since I have not used them before.

Things have changed since I had written a draft of this post last November, so this is the update. I bought a pack of five colors of cotton braiding cord. After trying the cotton cord, I like it better than hemp. It looks nice and clean, and feels smooth. The knots also stay in place and don’t slide. My only concern is how durable the cotton is, since it is a natural fiber. I might try polyester or nylon if I come across it.

Bracelet made from waxed cotton cord & size 8/0 seed beads

Bracelet made from waxed cotton cord. The knots stay in place on their own. I used beads primarily to keep the spacing even.

I’ve also experimented with Chinese knotting cord and like it. The knots hold pretty well, and if I have to undo my work for any reason, the kinks will straighten out on their own. Since the cord is synthetic material, the ends can be melted with the heat of a flame, to prevent fraying.

Double wave macrame bracelets

These were made during flights across the country. 🙂

Seeing some of the designs on this site has renewed my interest in friendship bracelets. Until now, the last time I intentionally made one was probably when I was in 8th grade. I still had a lot of embroidery floss at my parents’ house, so I retrieved it  the last time I visited. I watched some of the video tutorials on that site, and seeing how the patterns are done might lead me to develop my own designs once I understand how it works. friendship bracelets (In my opinion, the friendship bracelet loom-thing is unnecessary, unless you have a problem with your strings getting tangled. I find that going by absolute references for each string will make the learner dependent on following the instructions step-by-step. Instead, I prefer using the colors and relative positions of the strings as references. When I think of it that way, it’s easier to understand the procedure and I can pick it up faster. Perhaps absolute references are necessary when giving instructions.)

In your opinion, does hemp look cheap? Is there a type of cord that you prefer for your jewelry?

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12 thoughts on “Exploring macrame jewelry

  1. well done!!
    i think the hemp looks vintage.
    as i have said before, you are a talented artist and i wish you could put the energy into your talent.

  2. These are very pretty! My mother has done macramé to make plant hangers, but I didn’t know it could make jewelry! The cotton one is more delicate and formal looking, something you’d wear to a wedding or a fancy event. The other feels more natural and casual, sort of earthy and hippie like. I like them both, but it would depend on the occasion which I would wear.

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