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Craft Box Club – Macrame Semilunar

Quite a quick craft this week from Craft Box Club – a macrame semilunar with a bonus keyring project. I’m really glad I’ve done some macrame recently, especially learning the double half hitch which made up the main body of this project!

Included in the box was:

  • Macrame twine – white
  • Macrame twine – forest green
  • Wooden dowel
  • Macrame comb
  • Keyring clip

The instructions say you will also need scissors but you will need a length of string as well to hang the dowel from. The instruction video for this one is great. All the knots are shown slowly and repeated so that you can see them clearly. I paused and rewound the video several times to make sure I was doing it correctly. I think for this project the video was definitely better than the pictures, although the pictures were still useful. With macrame I much prefer to see the knot being created, rather than just a picture or description. It helps me to understand the structure of the knot a lot better.

Both the projects were really quick to complete. The semilunar was much smaller than I thought it was going to be from the pictures I had seen prior to receiving the kit, but I think that was a good thing because it wasn’t too repetitive and I quite enjoyed making something fairly small for a change! 

I thought the addition of the keyring was great too. It was a good chance to use a couple more different knots; a square knot and a gathering knot. There was a separate instructional video for this project and again was clear and slow enough that you could craft along with it.

Although it’s nice to get involved in a longer project I do enjoy completing something a little quicker every now and then. It gives a nice sense of achievement and satisfaction for only a couple of hours of work.

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Macra-weave Workshop

I’ve been trying my hand at macra-weaving this week; a combination of macrame and weaving. I joined an online workshop run by Daisy’s 60 Minute Crafts. The course was run over two evenings, a week apart via Google (I can’t wait to do real life workshops again!). I only signed up about a week before the first date, but the kit with all the supplies arrived well in time for the session.

Included in the kit was:

  • Wooden dowel rod
  • Plastic darning needle
  • Macrame string
  • Selection of yarns in different thickness/types

I was unfortunately unwell for the first session and I couldn’t join in, which I was so disappointed about because I was really looking forward to doing some crafting with other people. I emailed Nicki, the lady behind Daisy’s, to explain that I wouldn’t be able to make it and she very kindly offered to do a short session with just me to catch me up ahead of the second session. I honestly cannot praise her enough for this very kind gesture. She gave up an evening of her time just to show me what to do. I would have been happy with a video of how to do the macrame knots or even written instructions! I just got her to show me the knots and go through their placement to create the base of the wall hanging ready for the weaving so I could complete it at a later date. I didn’t want to keep her all night whilst I made the whole thing! 

We used two types of knots to create the macrame base; a larks head to attach the strings to the dowel rod and a double half hitch for the decorative knots. The lines of double half hitch were spaced out down the length of the wall hanging to create sections for the weaving. There were also a couple of sections where we did a more decorative style knot, using a single half hitch using four strings instead of two and leaving it loose to create a loopy effect.

Having made a ‘loom’ with the macrame, the second session was dedicated to weaving. I was well again for this one as it was a week later, which meant I could join in with the live workshop. Nicki taught us three weaves that we could use to fill in the spaces between the knots. The first was the plain weave, which is the basic in and out stitch. The second was the soumak weave, created by wrapping the yarn around the string, you could make it bigger or smaller depending on how many strings you wrapped it around. Lastly was the Rya knot used to create the tassels at the bottom of the wall hanging.

I really like the effect of combining these two textile crafts together. It’s a very relaxed craft and I think you could create a lot of different effects just with these few techniques, depending on the placement of the knots and weaves. I also like that there’s no pressure to fill up the whole of the piece with weaving, in fact, I actually think it looks better with sections of the string left bare. I have to send my thanks out again to Nicki for her amazing customer service. I’m definitely going to be keeping my eye on her events calendar for another craft workshop that tickles my fancy!

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Craftiosity – Beaded Hanging Shelf

The project in this month’s Craftiosity kit (https://craftiosity.co.uk/) was a beaded hanging shelf. When I first got it out of the box I thought it looked quite complicated, but it actually turned out to be super easy and quick to make. I often struggle to find places to hang things like this in my house, but this one is so small and light that I was able to hang it off the end of my bookshelf!

Included in the kit was:

  • Copper ring
  • Cotton yarn
  • Small wooden beads x9
  • Medium wooden beads x17
  • Large wooden beads x5
  • Needle
  • Palm leaf tray

The first part of the project used some macrame knots. The first was a lark’s head knot to attach the lengths of yarn onto the copper ring. This is quite a simple knot and I thought the instructions were easy to follow. However, I had some difficulty with the second knot. This one was a gathering knot, which I have done before, but I found the first couple of instructions very confusing. It said to cut a 15cm length of yarn and then fold the first 6cm over and back on itself to create a loop. Doing this left me with a very short tail and the yarn in the picture was hidden by a hand, so I watched the video guide to try and figure out what I was doing wrong. The voiceover in the video said 15cm too, but the yarn looked much longer than that to me, so I decided to cut a longer length and try again. I cut a piece around 40cm long and this time I had enough to create the loop with a long enough tail to wrap around and achieve a gathering knot that looked a similar length to the picture. I’m not sure if maybe they meant 15 inches, but I don’t know why they would have changed from metric to imperial half way through…I figured it out in the end anyway! 

From there down the rest of the project was very straightforward and the instructions were easy to follow. It was mainly threading beads and tying knots to keep them at the right height. I liked the way the beads were spaced to support the tray and keep it in place. As it’s quite small it wouldn’t take a lot of weight but it would be perfect for a small plant or other little ornament. 

I also like the suggestions for personalising it by painting the beads or using a natural dye like avocado to dye both the yarn and the beads. Personally I like the natural colours of the beads and yarn, but you could definitely get experimental with this project!

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Boho Macrame MakeBox

This month’s MakeBox was the Boho Macrame Box in collaboration with Isabella Strambio, who specialises in macrame and natural dyeing (https://www.twome.co.uk/). I was quite excited about this box as I’ve been meaning to try macrame for ages and I’m pleased to say that it did live up to my expectations!

Included in the box was:

  • 100 metres of cotton string
  • 2 wooden rings
  • 8 wooden beads
  • Rose gold keyring
  • ‘S’ hook
  • Tape measure
  • Dried hibiscus flowers
  • Postcard to embroider
  • Green embroidery thread
  • Pack of pins and a needle

You also needed a few of your own tools such as sharp scissors, a comb and some equipment for dyeing (more on that later).

At the start of the instruction book there was a library of knots with step by step instructions and pictures for each type of knot that we were going to use including; lark’s head knot, gathering knot, square knot, and half square knot. The instruction book was laid out in a really logical way with instructions for the smallest and easiest project first (feather keyring), moving through the single plant holder, double plant holder and finally dyeing instructions.

I made the feather keyring and the single plant holder. I think I would have enough string left to make the double too, however I am a known plant killer and also have nowhere tall enough to hang it! I have bought a plant for my single holder so I’ll see how I get on with it and maybe make another one at a later date. Alternatively, I might look up some other macrame projects and give them a go because this really was a relaxing and therapeutic craft.

I started with the feather key ring. I’ve seen a lot of these on Instagram, and I think they look really effective. Just like the knot library, the instructions were clear and there were numbered pictures on the next page to refer to. It was a really simple process knotting the string on to a central string attached to the keyring. My favourite bit was unravelling it and combing it out, it was weirdly satisfying! After that all that was left to do was trim it into a feather shape.

I thought that the plant holder was going to be really complicated as it was made up of so many strings. I was worried that I was going to get all confused, but I was fine! I hung the ‘S’ hook on a door handle and put one of the wooden hoops on it. I put the eight lengths of string I had cut through the hoop so they were doubled over, giving me sixteen strings to work with. On this project I used a gathering knot at the top and bottom, half square knots at the top and square knots nearer the bottom. I also added the wooden beads. 

There is also the option to do some natural dyeing using the dried hibiscus flowers. I haven’t done this on either of my projects yet because I was ill (again! Honestly, I’m hardly ever ill but I swear I haven’t been properly well since November. I can’t wait for spring when all these colds stop going round!). Anyway, once I was feeling better I checked the instructions and realised that I didn’t have all the equipment I needed because I didn’t want to use a saucepan that we use for food. It is also quite a long process, so once I have got all my equipment together I will definitely be setting aside some time to give the dyeing a go, although I do actually quite like the natural look. I will make sure I update you when I’ve given it a try!

Lastly, as always in the MakeBox, there was a postcard to embroider with a picture of three plant holders and the phrase ‘Knot you again!’ across the bottom. I embroidered the leaves with the green thread as suggested in the instruction book.