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Macrame Basics - Hemp
Hemp BraceletClick thumbnail to view full-size
Why choose hemp?
Most people begin macrame with hemp for several good reasons. Hemp is inexpensive and holds knots well, while at the same time allows you to remove knots easily if you make a mistake. Hemp works really well with wooden, acrylic, and clay polymer beads, which are also inexpensive. Although hemp may feel stiff at first, as you wear it the fibers will fuse together until it feels like brushed cotton, at which point the knots are impossible to remove.
Hemp is available in a variety of sizes and colors, for this project I am going to use .5mm cord in 3 colors in addition to an acrylic bead with a large hole.
I am not going to use a macrame board because I want to show everyone the way I began macrame, with a pair of jeans and a safety pin (although a macrame board makes this project infinitely easier).
HempClick thumbnail to view full-size
Cut a piece of hemp that is 24" and 2 pieces that are 72" each. Fold all three pieces in half and tie a knot leaving a loop at the top that is approximately the same size as your bead. The bead will be the closure of your bracelet so it must fit into the loop. If the loop is too big the bead will slip out and the bracelet will fall off.
Making a loopClick thumbnail to view full-size
Using a safety pin, secure the loop the the knee of your jeans. Sitting with your knee bent, tie the core cord tightly to a belt loop.
Attaching the cordsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Make a square knot. Square knots consist of 2 knots really.
The first half of the square knot: the pink working cords, on the left, go over the core cord and under the brown working cords, then the brown working cords go under the core cord and over the pink working cords. Tighten this against the over hand knot.
The second half of the square knot: the pink working cords, now on the right, go over the core cord and under the brown working cords, then the brown working cords go under the core and over the pink working cords. Tighten this and ensure that the core cord is flat between the two halves of the square knot.
After making 6" of square knots measure the bracelet against your wrist. The bracelet should fit comfortably around your wrist from the tip of the loop to the end of the square knots. If you need more room, add more square knots. You will have another .5" of length beyond the last square knot so fit the bracelet, don't make it too big.
Making square knotsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Tie all the cords into an over hand knot against the last square knot; pull this knot tight. Cut the cords beyond the knot so they are all the same length. Thread all the cords through the hole in the bead and make an over hand knot after the bead; pull this knot tight. Trim off the excess cord beyond the last over hand knot.
Finishing the braceletClick thumbnail to view full-size
Last words on Hemp
I am not going to hate on hemp. Hemp is easy to use and has a rightful place in macrame. Hemp is a very good material if you like natural fibers and enjoy a more bohemian style.
The downsides to hemp are that the knots become less apparent as the fibers fuse together and it is difficult to "dress-up" a piece of hemp jewelry.