Macrame, a craft for making jewelry and other items by knotting cords, dates back at least 1,000 years. There are hundreds of different knots that can be made, including some that are unique to Celtic or Chinese styles of macrame. Here are four basic knots to help you get started.
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Start with either four cords or two cords that are draped over a dowel or ring. The two center cords are used as filler in the knot. Take the left cord and curve it over the center and right cords. Take the right cord and pass it under the center cords and through the space between the center and left cords. Repeat the process, curving the new right cord over the center and left cords, then passing the left cord under the center cord and through the space between the center and right cords. Grasp both the left and right cords and pull to tighten.
Double Half Hitch
The double half hitch is a basic macrame knot and is similar to the knot you use to tie your shoes. The key is to hold the knot-bearing cord tightly while tying the working cords to it. To make a basic double half hitch, tie two or more working cords to a dowel or ring. Lay another cord, the knot-bearing cord, on top of these strands and perpendicular to them. You may want to pin the knot-bearing cord to the left of the first working cord and hold it in your right hand. Take the left working cord and pass it over and around the knot-bearing cord, then through the loop you created. Do this a second time. Gently tighten the knot by pulling on the working cord. Repeat this process for each of the working cords.
The lark's head or cow hitch knot is used to mount macrame cords to a ring or dowel or to add cords to a macrame design. Use a dowel, ring or another cord as a support. Fold the working cord in half and pass the loop under the support (the ends of the working cord should be above the support). Bring the ends over the support and under the loop. Pull on the ends to tighten.
A basic barrel knot (also called a coil knot) can be used to finish a cord and prevent raveling or to add beads. Take at least 12 inches of cord and fold it in half. Take the end that is now on the right and pass it over the other half of the cord and through the resulting loop. Next pass this same end through the loop another two or three times. Gently pull on both ends of the cord to tighten the knot.