Holiday macramé

Hi Everyone! Happy New Year – I guess I can just say that before January ends!

It’s still school holidays here, although the carefree days are drawing to a close.

At the beginning of the holidays, I thought it would be fun to try a few new crafts together, with one of them being macramé. Unfortunately, I couldn’t whip up any enthusiasm for it.

However, even if no-one else was interested, I thought I’d do some.

It’s not my first time doing macramé. I tried it when I was about 10 or 12. I made a macramé dog lead in the hope that my parents would buy us a dog, but they didn’t, so I gave the lead away to some friends who did have a dog.

I’d bought some macramé cord, and Tracy of Knit-Spin-Weave kindly lent me her archive of 1970s macramé books. These books are amazing – the instructions are excellent. As anyone over the age of 50 knows, the 1970s were a renaissance time for macramé, and all sorts of other crafts too.

Macrame books borrowed from Tracy of Knit Spin Weave
Macrame books borrowed from Tracy of Knit Spin Weave
These are Tracy’s macrame books.

I borrowed some books on modern macramé from the library as well, but they were mainly home decor macramé.

I saw a belt in one of Tracy’s book and though I’d give it a try. The instructions were brief but there were good how-to illustrations for making the actual knots.

Macrame belt

But I didn’t really know how to actually get started. I dithered a bit on Youtube before going back to the book and taking a better look at the photo, and thought I should just try.

Starting a macrame belt

Once I got started and was about 8cm in, I hit the groove. It’s kind of addictive in the way tapestry is “just one more row”.

About 8cm into the macrame belt

Just over half way through, I had a horrible feeling I didn’t have enough rope left. I continued on anyway, not feeling very good about it.

Macrame belt progress

But then I made the happy discovery that macramé stretches, so I did have enough and didn’t have to make the belt as long as I first thought.

By the way, I hope you’ve noticed I’ve photographed these on our deeply unfashionable faux-wood laminate kitchen table, which is the same era as the macramé books.

Finished macrame belt

The belt in the book didn’t have a buckle or fastening – the ends were just tied together in a knot, as a tie belt.

Macrame belt being worn

I like this belt!

Some findings:

  • I found macramé easier to get the hang of than knitting or crochet – if you can already do these, macramé’s a breeze.
  • It’s a big time saver to wind up each cord and secure it, rather than pulling metres and metres through with each knot.
  • Unpicking sucks. You have to undo each knot.
  • It’s not something you can easily pick up and put down. It’s best to set it up somewhere where it can stay, and devote a slab of time to it. I had to pack mine up for dinner.
  • Specs: my belt is 75cm/30″ long not counting the 50cm long ties at each end. I used 8 strands of 3mm cotton cord, each 4.80m and had some length left over. It took maybe 4 hours?

In the interests of nostalgia, here’s a gallery of some of the macramé projects in the 1970s books. Many of these could be re-made, re-photographed and be published today (and some not).

I didn’t know that Kaffe Fassett designed macramé as well.

Have you done macramé, either lately or a long time ago?



  1. Tracy Henwood on January 30, 2022 at 10:13 pm

    Groovy. I made plant hangers by the dozen and Owls! Key fobs and bracelets.

    • lizhaywood on January 30, 2022 at 11:05 pm

      There are some pretty groovy things in those books – many thanks for the loan.

  2. Deanna Van Velsen on January 30, 2022 at 10:13 pm

    I made a belt and a plant hanger when I was a child in the 1970s. Those Owls were very popular then.

    • lizhaywood on January 30, 2022 at 11:12 pm

      Yes, those owls sure were. I notice plant hangers made the jump to “modern macrame” but the owls stayed in the 70s.
      Edit to add: although Linda Hobden further down in the comments has just proved me wrong 🙂

  3. Sally on January 30, 2022 at 11:13 pm

    This is lovely. One of the contestants on Project Runway this season does macrame on all of her projects. Her last outfit was amazing. Check it out if you can.

  4. Sally on January 31, 2022 at 12:43 am

    Yes, it is Coral. All of her outfits had some macrame. She said that her heritage is Mexican and macrame is a part of her culture. I liked most of her projects.


  5. Terri Gardner on January 31, 2022 at 3:00 am

    Now, this brought back memories. I certainly made my share of plant hangers back in the ’70s! I think I did a few small wall hangings too, but having things to hang my plants up with took precedence. I had a lot of house plants back then.

    • lizhaywood on January 31, 2022 at 12:03 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading, Terri 🙂
      I hadn’t considered the connection between the comeback of both macrame and houseplants, but of course, they need each other!

  6. Laurinda on January 31, 2022 at 3:20 am

    My mother picked up macrame in the 70s,& made some pretty impressive plant hangars. She even made a watch band for me, at one point

    • lizhaywood on January 31, 2022 at 11:58 am

      She sounds pretty crafty! A watch band!
      On reflection, I don’t think my own mum ever did macrame, but plenty of her friends did – or at least I remember their macrame plant hangers etc when we visited.

  7. Michele on January 31, 2022 at 4:19 am

    I have a slingback chair that needs rehabilitation. Now I know what to do with it!

    • lizhaywood on January 31, 2022 at 11:41 am

      I thought the slingback chair was a GREAT idea for macrame!

  8. Carol in Denver on January 31, 2022 at 5:09 am

    I made various macrame items back in the day. A macrame technique that I still use all the time is to make “butterflies” of cords, wrapped snugly with rubber bands. The cord can be pulled from the center of the butterfly but the little package stays neat. Electrical cords, string, ribbons — anything long and skinny — are all neatly contained this way.

    • lizhaywood on January 31, 2022 at 11:39 am

      An essential macrame technique!
      I secured mine with tape but I should have used rubber bands.

  9. Linda Hobden on January 31, 2022 at 5:10 am

    Fun to see this … I did so much macrame, and tons of other crafts, as a ‘teen in the 70’s! plant hangers, wall hangings, belts, guitar strap for boyfriend. Never ran across the owls back then, though (maybe not a Canadian trend?). Interestingly, a couple of years ago a’ craft supply and lesson’ store in a trendy district of Calgary had a display of large owls in their windows, and I loved them! Plan to make one at some point … maybe 😉

    • lizhaywood on January 31, 2022 at 11:49 am

      Wow, interesting about owls. Owls and plant hangers seemed to be THE macrame projects I saw at people’s houses in the 1970s (in Australia). Tracy said she’d made many, many of them.
      They have a certain charm – big wooden beads for eyes and fabulously woolly tufts around the eyes.

  10. Juliet Hartwell on January 31, 2022 at 6:41 am

    We used to do it at Kids Club. We’d bring home another key ring or little wall hanging and I’m sure mum would think… not another one! I remember those owls being all the rage!

    • lizhaywood on January 31, 2022 at 12:09 pm

      I wonder if she kept them? Although most mums eventually move craft projects on.
      Yes, those owls sure were!

  11. Michelle S on January 31, 2022 at 11:12 pm

    I tried macrame when I was in college, but found chemistry easier to figure out. I was all thumbs and no patience! It was a trip down memory lane to see those books and projects! Thanks.

    • lizhaywood on February 1, 2022 at 12:00 pm

      Give me macrame over chemistry!

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