Once you knot you can’t stop!
Hemp is swiftly becoming the yarn of choice for discerning, ecologically minded fashionistas. It is also an ideal material to make jewellery—it looks rustic but can be given a modern twist with plastic beads, it goes soft with wear, it’s good to work with and it’s biodegradable! It’s also very cheap, so you might as well buy a ball, or two. macramé is a lot easier than it looks—once you knot you can’t stop!
<b>Project by Sophie Parker from the book Making Stuff: An Alternative Craft Book.</b>
A recent English graduate, Sophie’s time is mostly filled groaning over application forms and CV templates, and worrying about how her overdraft will eventually be paid off. In between, she spends her time making hemp jewellery, which she has been doing for five years now, ever since she discovered a particularly detailed macramé website. Check her work out on:
Cut two lengths of hemp. Each length should be six times the circumference of your neck. It’s easiest to wrap the hemp around your neck three times, double that length over, and cut.
Then you’ve got to do the same inverted. This sounds complicated, but you’re only making a basic knot. Feed the left over to the right side, but this time underneath the knot bearers. The original right strand has formed loop — feed the left strand up through it.
Pull it taut. This is the first part of the square knot.
Continue knotting on alternative sides for as long as looks suitable. When you feel ready for a bead, free the knot bearing strands and pass a bead onto them. If the bead is not big enough to slide over both, then thread it onto one strand only (fig. 5). Push it up to the knots, and complete at least one square knot around it to secure, before putting on another bead. (You might want more hemp between each bead, and if so, just make more square knots before the next bead).
Continue for as long as you want, measuring against your neck (or wrist, or ankle, etc.).
There are two ways to finish off your piece. One is to tie a knot, leaving a length of four strands free so that the wearer can tie the choker tight with the loose strands to his/ her requirements. Or you could square knot until practically the end of the length of your hemp and position a final bead to act as a clasp by feeding it though the initial loop.
And that’s it—you’re finished! But that’s just the beginning! You can experiment with different patterns, (for example, if instead of alternating the side you knot from, you always start the knot from the right-hand-side, you get a lovely twisted effect that looks like strands of DNA), different types of hemp and different beads.
+ If you ever forget which side you should be knotting from, count ‘right left right left’ etc. on each visible line from the top of the knot bearing strands.
+ You can use clear nail varnish to seal the final knots, if you’re afraid they might come undone. It really works and no-one would know!