Portfolio Pages

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mixed Media Knotting (aka Macrame)

Continuing the belated Spring 2013 Fiber Arts Degree posts:
The next "media" we covered in the Mixed Media class was "Knotting".
Also Known As: Macrame.

I don't actually remember my Mom doing Macrame. I do remember we had a bunch of Macrame plant-hangers-n-such 'round the house. And I remember when they got old they shed and eventually dropped the plant. {wry grin}

I'm embarrassed to say I was a bit leery when I realized the "Knotting" we were learning was that 70's-throwback craft: Macrame.

And - I really enjoyed it!

We practiced with random yarn the teacher pulled out for us...it took a while for the idea of which strand to cross over which way when going each direction to stick in my brain.
But I kind of liked how it worked.

The instructor then let us go though the mondo cabinets of yarn to pull colors for a small knotting project to practice upon. I found a novelty strand with navy blue, brown, and tufts of navy yarn stranded together and it became the inspiration for the other yarns I pulled - more brown, red, blues, and even MORE red. And I decided I realllly liked how it worked and how it knotted up.
{Can't miss the tufts coming off the "inspiration" yarn.}
The back of my brain reminded me that somewhere in the multitude of crafts-to-do awaiting my attention was a macrame kit of some sort. I tracked it down and tried the nifty Half Knot Twist stitch suggested for this bracelet:
The fiber was a bit slubby but the twisted stitch caught my fancy. 
As part of our assignment, we were told to add in, and subtract off some strands. So I decided to add in strands and incorporate the stitch I'd gotten from the kit into my small knotting practice piece:

The instructor correctly pointed out that the twist traveling across the front of the piece hid the color shift that was really pretty spiffy. So - I removed the twist and wove the stay ends in across the back.


I finished the small knotting project after I'd started the large knotting project. I believe I'd discussed the large knotting project with the instructor and we'd plotted a second, larger color-gradation companion piece to the small knotted project. So I guess both pieces became my large knotting project.
{I keep thinking there should be a third piece to round out the project but I'm not sure what color...}

Once again, we visited the mondo cabinets of yarn and once again I was inspired by one yarn for the entire project. It's hard to see in the picture below, but it's the slender, muted turquoise just off-center on the right. It was mis-placed in the wrong part of the cabinet and stood out. And it reminded me of water - the ocean. I then started seeking out more colors in that family and then I travelled to other shades and built another gradation of color.

The project didn't travel particularly well - pinned to the board as it was. And it had to be hidden away from Los Gatos. But I worked on it steadily and took the "Ocean" theme a little further, adding my nifty Half Knot Twist stitch to represent the waves rolling in.
 When I had it mostly knotted, the question of what to do with the ends arose. I played with it a while, considered clipping off the ends or weaving them in but I eventually decided...to leave them be.
Hmmm - looks like I forgot to take a picture focusing on the yarn tails.

 The topic of the tails also came up in class and the instructor presented the class with a variety of options:

  1. Hang vertically so yarn trails down toward the ground
  2. Remove the yarn tails
  3. And the way I had plotted it - horizontal, darkest yarn at the top and tails on the left hand side. 

The vote was that the tails should stay but I found it rather fascinating and nifty that not everyone visualized the ocean and waves the same way I had.
{Ok, some folks didn't get the ocean vibe at all.} ;-)
The interpretation from one of my table mates is my favorite and delights me. She saw it depth-wise. She saw the white as the top of the ocean and the colors (water) darkened as you go "downward" with the ocean depth. Cool, huh?

I'll say it again: I truly enjoyed my limited sojourn into Knotting (Macrame) and I keep thinking about that 3rd companion piece to the two shown above. We'll see if I get back to that.
But I did do a little more knotting - for use in my final Mixed Media project.
I used it in a way that I don't think is usual for Macrame.
{And I'm pretty darn tickled with the results - but that is fodder for another post.}


  1. I've enjoyed your journey into macrame and look forward to seeing your final project!!

    1. Grazie, ma'am! I'm very pleased (and a little surprised) at how well the macrame and the final project went. I've got a new technique (I think) to document/share.