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Beginner Macrame Plant Hanger Kits

June 25, 2020

This week we are sharing our experience making macrame plant hangers using the beginner-friendly Sarah Elizabeth Fibre Works plant hanger kits that we have in the online store. We’ll take you through what it was like to make the single plant hanger as a complete macrame beginner. Spoiler alert – it was fun, easy and super quick!

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If you aren’t familiar with it, macrame is the tying of knots to create patterned textiles. While many will remember its popularity in the 1970s, macrame actually has its roots in 13th century Arabic culture where weavers used the technique. Historians have even found evidence of knot-tying techniques dating back to third-century China. This kit introduces you to the very basics of macrame and we recommend taking a look at examples of more complex macrame pieces. There are so many contemporary and historical examples of macrame that will inspire you to continue making and learning about it.

On to our plant hanger making journey! The plant hanger kits come in 21 colour combos and come with everything that you need to make both the single plant hanger and the double plant hanger:

  • 50 yards of hand dyed cotton rope (two colours, one main and one secondary)
  • 1 small ring (either wood or metal)
  • 1 large ring (either wood or metal), and
  • the instructions (downloadable here).

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The kit is a joy to make, with well written instructions and pictures to help guide you through the process. All in all it took just over two hours to complete from beginning to end. We love that in the instructions Sarah Elizabeth encourages you to be creative and to play with the design. While we followed the instructions exactly for the single plant hanger this first time we can absolutely see how you can switch things up and make different creative choices, especially if this isn’t your first macrame experience.

Before you start in on your plant hanger we recommend four things:

  1. Read through the instructions from start to finish so that you get a sense of the overall process
  2. Have a pair of scissors, a measuring stick or a tape measure handy
  3. Find a door knob, hook or something to hang your work on (we used a window handle, see below) and plan your work space around that area
  4. Find somewhere in your project work space to place your computer/phone so that you can practice your knots while learning from the YouTube tutorials.

This isn’t the prettiest photo but it shows the window handle we used to hang our project on while we worked. Hanging your project makes working with the knots and positioning them so much easier.

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The whole project requires that you learn three easy knots and after you do the initial knot around your ring (the smaller ring in our case) there are only two other knots you’ll use for the whole project. The first knot that you’ll learn is the Lark’s Head knot and this knot secures your rope to your ring. It’s the easiest one and it sets the foundation for all the steps that follow.

Our first Lark’s Head knot completed!

From there you’ll move on to do your first Josephine knot. What you’ll find right away is that having your project hanging from a hook gives you way more control over tension and the placement of your knots as you practice your first Josephine knots. These were harder to get right on the first try (or third or fourth in our case) but the great thing about them is that they are fun to practice and the Josephine knot is very forgiving. If you end up tightening the knot too far up or down your rope it’s easy to loosen it again and adjust the knot to where you want it placed. It might sound frustrating to have to redo things a few times but it’s actually fun and satisfying to figure out.

First Josephine knot done!

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Tip: the final plant hanger will be the perfect size for your pot if you follow the recommendations for the centimetre spacing between each section. It’s worth going a little slower to adjust your knots so that the end product is one that you love and supports your plant perfectly.

After your first set of Josephine knots you’ll move on to learn your third macrame knot – the Wrap knot (also called a Gathering knot). The Wrap knot is just that, it wraps around the strands you are working with and then gets secured in place. The great thing about the Wrap knot is that before you tighten it you can slide it up and down the rope until it’s exactly where you want to place it. Make sure to tie the Wrap knots really tightly once you have them positioned where you want them. We had a few of the first attempts come undone because they were a little too loose.

Once we finished this step we took a moment to exhale and appreciate that we had learned everything we needed to know in order to complete the rest of the steps. Phew!

Slowly getting there! First Wrap knots complete.

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The next steps involved combining the main and secondary colours in Josephine knots, Wrap knots and then finishing off with a last set of Josephine knots. The instructions make these sections really easy to follow. The trickiest part at this stage was levelling each set of knots so that the macrame plant holder is symmetrical and level on all sides. The best tip we can offer here is to go back a step or two if things are not lining up. The measuring tape is your friend every step of the way!

Flat lay of the completed plant hanger.

The last step is the trickiest one as we gathered the four sections underneath the plant pot to complete one final Wrap knot. While it was easy enough to hold the bottom together (as we did below left) to figure out placement, the easiest way we found was to turn your pot upside down (with the ring and upper part of your project inside it) and then place a piece of scrap rope exactly where you want your final Wrap knot to go. Doing this ensured the knot was centered at the bottom of the pot and that it would sit at exactly the height we wanted it to. Once the scrap rope was in place we placed our project back on the hook to complete the final Wrap knot.

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Tip: Something that we will pay more attention to the next time will be to how strands are twisted between steps. It’s not something that we thought to consider in the early steps and while we love how this one turned out there’s definitely room for less twisting next time.

After we secured the bottom Wrap knot all that was left was to trim the tassel ends (which is optional) and to place our pot and plant in its new holder. Ta da!

First macrame project done!

This small project was a great way to learn about the very basics of macrame and brought back memories of learning to make friendship bracelets years ago (another knotting craft). In fact, making plant hangers would be a lovely project to do with friends virtually (it’s definitely Zoom friendly!) or in a safe way in person. Macrame away, we can’t wait to see how yours turn out!

Sarah Elizabeth Fibre Works is based in Rossland, BC, and we are lucky to carry Sarah Elizabeth’s Easy Eco Wash, Silk Linen, batts for spinning and felting, and a number of kits from her (like felted soapsmacraweave, and weaving kits). If you are new to her yarn, fibre and kits, check them out in the online store, you’ll be glad you did.

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