Macrame Book Review
Macrame Reference Library
I like macramé books and have a small but interesting collection. I find that books give me grounding in basic technique as well as design ideas. They are fun to look at and motivational. I have found macramé books in thrift stores, and the older stuff is interesting, but I like the full color glossy pictures (and lack of dust) in the newer books. There are also some really old books in Project Gutenburg (look under knots) and “The Imperial Macrame Lace Book” from the Library of Congress site, they are worthy of inspection, but when it comes down to it, I like to have a physical book to work from.
With that in mind, I am going to let you have some details about what is in my collection and hopefully this information will enable you to begin your own collection (as part of your own personal reference library, put these next to the books on home wiring).
Macrame Reference Books
Chinese knotting book
The first book I want to bring to your attention is probably called Practical Chinese Knots. I say “probably” because it is in Chinese (I don’t speak or read Chinese) and although I found a translation for the title (thank you Google Chrome), I don’t think it is translated very well (please comment if you have a better translation). The author is a bigger mystery. I was given this book, which came with a dvd, as a gift (we were able to play the dvd on our zone 1 player). Watching the dvd was educational even though I already knew how to make some Chinese knots. I had never previously observed anyone do macramé; the instructor had a rhythm to her work that made the knots look like they flowed from her hands. It was a treat to be able to follow along with the dvd (even more of a treat to be able to rewind, pause, and zoom).
Practical Chinese KnottingClick thumbnail to view full-size
Is it really in Chinese? Yes, it is.
This book gives full color glossy pictures (and probably instructions) for Chinese knots. The pictures are good, although sometimes they are presented in the wrong order. It helps to look at the entire project and follow along in your head before you begin working with cord. It is possible, likely in fact, that if I could read Chinese I might have learned something unique from the text, as it is, without being able to read the text I was able to tie the knots without any difficulty (except for the really difficult knots which were, characteristically, really difficult).
One of the things that this book is very good at is illustrating how to make and use a knotting loom (don’t be scared, it is a block of wood and some nails). The knots in this book are complex and practically impossible without a loom, but I also used this information to make a loom for my Turk’s knot mats and bracelets.
Finding most of the supplies used in the book was easy. There were a few things that were not available in the bead or hobby store but I was able to get them from…. you guessed it! China.
This book might be outside your comfort zone; you might think that without English words accompanying the pictures you would be totally lost, maybe you would be. If you can work up the courage to step outside the box you will be pleasantly surprised. Contained within its foreign pages are knots and sinnets that you may not be able to find anywhere else. Not a book for the faint of heart, but the faint of heart rarely make Pan Chang knots.
The Amazing Jacqui Carey
200 Braids to Twist, Knot, Loop, or Weave by Jacqui Carey is not a typical macramé book, but it is a worthy keystone to a collection. Jacqui Carey’s website: www.careycompany.com talks about her rich and amazing history with braids and kumihimo. She is an amazing person and that is probably why her book is also amazing. This book focuses on core techniques used to make braids, twists, and knots. She steps through all her examples with instructions that are clear and complete (making them very easy to follow). I am sure there is more to know about braids, but this book is so rich and useful that I don’t need to seek out a deeper understanding (wait, is that good or bad?).
Keystone for your collection
Why is this book is amazing?
Ms. Carey offers something really special (in addition to her amazingness) in this book. The second half of the book is entirely full color glossy photos of the braids, weaves, and knots that can be made through her instruction. With each example pictured she gives the name and page number of the core technique and a list of the elements she used to make the example.
Saying it like this doesn’t do it justice… Okay, so you see the cover of the book, you see the orange and yellow braid towards the bottom… Imagine flipping through the pages in the back of the book and stopping on the page that shows that braid and saying to yourself, “Self, I think that is a really cool thing and I would like to make a bracelet with that as my base pattern.” Next to the picture she lists the method (4 element flat braid, page 75) and the materials (element 1 = yellow knitting ribbon, element 2… etc.). It is so cool to be able to choose projects this way, designing your own jewelry easily becomes a habit.
The Imperial Macrame Lace Book
For your entertainment and edification: The Imperial Macrame Lace Book (published 1877). You can get this book for free!
Imperial Macrame Lace BookClick thumbnail to view full-size
Sylvia's Book of Macrame & Lace
Who is Sylvia? I don't know. This is again presented here for your enjoyment. This book is free! What is really cool about this book is the old advertisements it contains. It is worth a glance or two, perhaps even a perusal :)
Sylvia's Book of Macrame & LaceClick thumbnail to view full-size
Knots, Splices and Ropework
This is another gem from project Gutenburg. This book is FREE!
Knots, Splices and Rope WorkClick thumbnail to view full-size
Knots & Splices
Wow, this one is in color and it is FREE! Thanks Project Gutenburg :)