Around two months ago my love affair with Wool and The Gang's Jersey yarn began. Like all addictions, it started off small with a small order just to test the waters and see if it was a fiber i could use for my macrame. Little would I know that I would shift over to using this extremely versatile and soft fiber almost exclusively.
I love how the jersey hugs vases and it super accommodating for a variety of sizes. One of the limitations with work with cotton rope is the you can be limited to the size that you build a hanger to because the cotton has little to no stretch.
The jersey not only stretches but comes in a variety of brilliant colors...all soft...all lovely....all alluring.
Have I sold you yet? I mean take a look at some of the items I've made with it....
First and foremost let me apologize for the infrequency of my posts! Life has been super cray but in the best way possible!
I applied for Renegade but was super bummed when I didn't get in but got waitlisted. But I mean no worries right? I'm a new maker with only a solid 6 months or so under my belt so I didn't let it get me down for long.... Being on the waitlist for one of the most epic craft fairs in Chicago is a victory in itself.
But then....I got bumped up!
I absolutely love getting Macrame questions in my Instagram inbox! I DO NOT claim to be any kind of macrame expert however I'm happy to share anything I've learned along the way.
Yesterday, this question landed in my inbox....
I think the reason I really love questions is because it requires me to reflect on my own practice. Sometimes I forget to step back and ask myself why I've made the decisions I've made with a piece or choices in materials....I do what "feels" right, however questions require that next level of reflection and understanding.
At heart I love Scandinavian design. Can you tell from my living room? But for Macrame, I really enjoy seeing the knotting in the rope patterns and so far I only get that true satisfaction and enjoyment from cotton rope. Macrame cord is very glossy and shiny and typically makes it hard to follow the pattern of a design/knotting which then defeats the entire point of macrame! Don't get me wrong. I use black macrame cord all the time. It's actually the only color I use. But I only use it for for items in which I want the elements within the design to take center place....for instance in Glenwood...the wood is the focal point of the piece not the knotting in the cord.
Let me not sound like I'm a slave to cotton rope though. I'm open. I just bought leather cord that I'm excited to test!
Logos, trademarks, websites, LLC, and things!
Well, if you had asked me back in April when I was on Pintrest looking for a new hobby if I'd be here today I would have laughed, and I it would have been one of those, "Balky, don't be ridiculous" laughs from Perfect Strangers, yet here I am!
It's been an Amazing 6 months and I'm so very thankful to the many Macrame folks or craftinista's I've encountered over theses months for helping me cultivate my art and become better!
Today I submitted my LLC paperwork and I've applied to Renegade Craft Fair! To mark such an amazing occasion I'm offering 20% discount on all wall hangings and hanging planters.
Wish me luck!
I'm really excited that I finally have a rope vendor that I love. www.knotandrope.com I haven't quite gotten to the point where I need to buy rope in super bulk quantities and they let you buy rope in any length. They sell braided and 3-strand rope in a variety of sizes and they ship soooooo fast. I order in the AM and its here via Fed-Ex the next day.
I highly recommend them!
When I first began making macrame I was really obsessed with drawing a pattern for anything I made. I did this for the first two months until I realized I wanted to abandon the hold that symmetry had on me. (Read previous post on symmetry) Now I end up prepping a lot of pieces first. Which consists of picking pots, or anchor materials whether it dowels, driftwood or brass, and then picking the rope type and thickness. After that's done I'll then cut rope for each piece.
I will typically prep around 5 pieces at a time which will yield enough work for a solid week of work. I never include more than one large piece in the total of 5 for the week.
*Keep in mind I have a full time job!
As the week goes on, I'll tackle pieces and select the combinations as I feel ready too. Lately I've started designs then stopped to work on another, then come back to a design, finding that I get inspired by the movement in another piece.
There really isn't much rhyme or reason to my madness except that prepping the pieces in advance seems to help. When I used to work a piece at a time, the prepping of the piece in terms of cutting the rope sometimes took away from the creative process. Doing it in advance and on a different day from working on the actual piece let's those creative juices flow!
Virtue Cider's is so amazingly cute! OMG! I had such a fun time there! I hope you were able to check out my instagram story and watch the fun!
The day started with a tour of facilities where I learned how the Cider is made! Throughout each step in the process, we tasted a cider beer.
We then were led to a picnic area where we enjoyed a lovely farm to table lunch! Prosciutto and brie sandwich with corn chowder. Then we had homemade cherry ice cream and cake. YUM!
We ended the day picking apples from the orchard and then pressing our own apples to make fresh apple cider!
Absolutely wonder day! I've attached a slideshow of my day!
The car ride there and back yielded this design which gave me and opportunity to combine that wonderful brass rod with the T-shirt jersey wool from Wool and the Gang!
Hope you like it! I named her Michigan!
Photos from Virtue Cider!
I absolutely love 3-day weekends and any opportunity to get away from the city to reconnect with nature. I'm heading out to Virtue Cider's for a day of cider beer tastings, a picnic, and some apple picking! I'm hoping the trip inspires some new design ideas!
I got a text from my friend Angie saying she is bringing me a huge box of driftwood. I've been searching for a reasonably priced and reliable driftwood vendor for a month now. Angie is now my driftwood god. I can not wait to get my hands on these beauties. I'm gagging at the picture she sent me! Stay tuned!
There is a repetition in Macrame that is soothing... Macrame works beautifully in symmetry and is built for symmetry. Working in 2's, 4's etc. feels natural however I've been a slave to the symmetry and it has definitely been limiting in terms of my aesthetic and creative growth. So today...I am starting the process of abandoning symmetry in my Macrame.
Don't worry, it will be a slow transition. I'm not crazy! I started this process in a piece called "Balmoral" and I fought the urge for symmetry. I'll continue to fight it as I grow as a fiber artist.
What I've observed so far is the more I leave symmetry behind...the more the rope guides me in making the design which is both liberating and exhilarating.
Check out the design below where I begin with symmetry and at the top and then let the rope run free.
Oh and this piece was made using the 12" brass.....verdict...it's beautiful!
I am forever on a search for new materials to incorporate in to my macrame designs. Elsie Goodwin uses brass rods in her designs and I had been on the lookout for some myself to compliment the T-shirt Jersey I use from Wool and the Gang.
Well by George I got it! I found some great brass rods on Amazon and they are giving me life. Great prices too! They come in a variety of sizes. I'm going to test out the 12" rods first.
Brass C260 Seamless Round Tubing, 11/32" OD,0.316"ID, 0.014" Wall, 12" Length (Pack of 9)
I'll update you with some finished products soon!
So, after yesterday pop-up at Bridgeport Art Center, one this is quite clear. People like my stuff! Which is amazing and reassuring however what is the next move? I've been online all day researching. Looking up boutiques in the city of Chicago that carry handmade home decor items.
I stumbled upon a article about West Elm even hosting local artists too! So now I need to get to emailing and create a stock list of my stuff! I'm super scared but the worst people can say is no right?
I started my instagram page!!!! Whoo Hoo! You can follow me @urbanmacramefibers and I also created a quick square space for online orders. First thing I realized when I created the square space is that I need to name my items! I hadn't even thought about this before the online store. Being that I'm a native Chicagoan and I have nothing but love for my city.....
Ive decided to name all everything I create after a Chicago Street name! I can't think of a better way to pay homage!
Today I completed my very first Pop-Up for my Macrame! I am both thrilled and exhausted. It was a beautiful day. I met so many vendors who offered advice and encouragement as a newbie. The Chicago craft community is simply wonderful. I even got a few orders for custom items.
It was really reassuring to see how positive people responded to my work and that's definitely given me the confidence to move forward and grow this into more than just my secret hobby!
A woman asked my what my brand name was and before I could even think, Urban Macrame Fibers came out.... Well I guess it's settled then....
I'm officially, Urban Macrame Fibers...
I needed a workspace for my Macrame. I haven't gotten to the point where #MacrameIsLife yet....I'm sure it's coming. I like the openness of my living room and I often entertain so that leaves the bedroom. I had a open wall that wasn't hosting any pictures so I decided to go to Home Depo. I got some black plumbing pip and some screws and shaazam! Work Station! This cost me about $36.00 to create. I'm super happy with it visually as well because it goes with my rooms rustic feel!
Let me know if you want the exact name so of the items I bought!
One of the hardest things to figure out is when to just stop, when something isn't working, and you need to abandon ship.
I started this project as one of my first major pieces. Like all artists, I started with high hopes and aspirations as to what it would be. However, about 4 hours of work into it, I put down the rope and realized how much I hated it. Yes, that's right. I said hate and I mean hate. It was ugly, bulky, and awkward. My design had done this piece of beautiful driftwood a huge disservice.
As an artist, one would like to think that everything you made is beautiful, however I am my own most relentless critic. I'm constantly un-knotting and re-knotting rope. It's a daunting process but ultimately sometimes you just gotta get out of your own way and tell yourself something sucks.
I know you are asking WHY?! That looks....well, I felt it could be more or maybe that it should have been less.... The design path I was on did not leave any space for the rope or the driftwood to breathe. One of the things I really love about Macrame is that the rope takes you on a path, the patterns lead you to other patterns, and there is constant movement. This design was just too constricting.
8/9/16 Update: I finally did that driftwood service. I made "Balmoral".
Ever since Amy Zwinkel mentioned dye it's been in my head that I want to do it. I took a BRALETTE DYEING WORKSHOP and it was amazing. I learned the proper steps to dye cotton thus how to dye cotton rope! I am so excited to take my macrame to the next level with color.
The first color I picked to experiment with was a beautiful Teal.
Dyeing rope is a 5 step process:
1. Presoak rope and wring excess water
2. Prepare Dye ( just use the instructions)
3. Dye your rope! (Make sure to use gloves, trust me!)
4. Rise with cold water
5. Air Dry
Here are the results from my first attempt at dyeing rope!
Pro Tip: For these, I designed and created the macrame first and then dyed the rope. I placed plastic wrap over the areas I did not want to be dyed.
So I just returned from London and Copenhagen and I am extremely inspired by Scandinavian design. I think I'm ready to start creating my own patterns. I've had a piece of wood my boyfriend gave my from his uncles shed. It's about 14 inches long and I've been dying to use and a few new techniques I want to experiment with ( embedding a ring in a design and the clove hitch). So, with the help of my Macrame Pattern Book, I sketched up this design.
Buddhist top with an organic circle followed by an embedded ring. Not too complex but not too easy. Let's see how I did.
My Key Learning from this project:
I came up with a diagram for knots which really helped when it came down to making the actual piece.
\ ,-, / = clove
I'll continue to create symbols/diagrams for my work.
I'm literally on a plane to London as I post this! I had so much fun at the Macrame workshop hosted at Foxtail + Moss with Amy Zwikel. Amy is such a sweetheart. The workshop was small with only three participants so we each got special attention. I was really excited that I knew all of the knots! Turns out Amy and I have the same macrame pattern book! She says she is planning on during a workshop that includes dying rope. I hope she does!
Check out what we made in the workshop!
So in today's Google mania I stumbled across Foxtail and Moss website and they are hosting a Macrame workshop! Chicago based Macrame artist Amy Zwikel will be hosting a workshop on Sunday June 12th from 12pm-2:30 @ Foxtail and Moss located at 2320 N Damen Ave.
I immediately signed up! Ticket's are $85.00. I can wait! I didn't know their was a Macrame Artist right here in Chicago!
Her instagram is @amyzwikelmacrame
Okay so I finished the planter kit from www.macramesuperstore.com! Here's my review:
The instructions were easy to follow. The kit included the ring, two colors of macrame cord, and beads. The pot was not included. The instructions are monochrome and they explain everything in detail. There was even a key on the back of the instructions for additional knots which I appreciated. This design took me about 20-25 minutes to complete. My boyfriends mother was really happy with it as well!
Today I went on Amazon.com and purchased a ton of books on Macrame. Here's what I got:
Beginners Guide To Macrame: How to Learn Macrame in 3 Step by Step Projects (Plant Hanger Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
Decorative Fusion Knots: A Step-by-Step Illustrated Guide to New and Unusual Ornamental Knots
Macrame Pattern Book: Includes Over 70 Knots and Small Repeat Patterns Plus Projects
Macrame: Techniques and Projects (A Sunset Book)
I'll update soon with which books were the best!
I stumbled upon this cool little website for all my Macrame needs! It's called Macrame Super Store. They have just about everything you need to get started with Macrame. I ordered a bunch of "kits" for planters and wall hangings. I'm in full blown obsession level at this point.
I ordered the:
Modern Macrame Wall Hanging Kit update: ( Great basic starter kit)
Plant Hanger Kit - update: ( Great basic starter kit)
Dream Catcher Kit - update: (Great Kit! Just wish I could have picked the colors of the dream catcher)
Owl Hanging Kit - update: (This one was really hard but I learned so many different knot! Definitely advanced but super worth the time and frustration!)
I am literally gagging right now on the amazing videos Elsie Goodwin has on YouTube! My lord this lady is amazing and her videos are short and informative. She also has an epic Instagram page full of her beautiful macrame! Can we say Macrame Queen? I am living for this right now.
Elsie Goodwin YouTube Page
Elsie Goodwin Instagram Page
Check her out! This is a great resource if your just starting up or need to be refreshed on Macrame tricks!
So all the materials for my Macrame project arrived. I couldn't wait to start my first project. The hardest part was definitely cutting the copper. Have the boyfriend do this for you for sure. After that was done it was easy peasy. The knot for this design was fairly easy and repeated the entire design. So once I got the first knot, it was all repetition.
In terms of the cotton piping. I find that I actually do not like this material at all. it sheds, gets dirty easily, and is just not very aesthetically pleasing to me. I do however really like how the copper pops on this design.
Verdict: Nailed it
Pattern: I give it a 10 out of 10 - Easy to follow pattern and beautiful design
Materials: Copper A+, Cotton Piping D
Here's the finished product. I'll let you be the judge!