The Lazy Woman’s Guide to Basic Macramé

In case last night’s basket weaving tutorial wasn’t throwback enough for you, how about some macramé?

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While bubblegum pink capes are not exactly my style, this crazy alien wall hanging and man (man?) are amazing.

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I decided to start small (so I could mess up with little commitment) and use what I already had laying around (yarn, instead of the recommended heavier-weight rope). I think it turned out alright!

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Of course, I declassed my piece with black pompoms at the end, because every woven yarn-thing on a stick deserves a little gothic kitsch.

Here’s how to make your own (very basic) macramé wall hanging:

Get your materials together. You’ll need something to hang your creation on, like a stick, magic wand, glitter baton, bathroom plunger, or prosthetic arm. Ideally you will have rope, but I used a thick yarn and that worked just fine. Cut the string into however many pieces you want to start with (I used 10) of equal lengths (4-5 feet works). You may also want stuff to dangle off the ends of the strings when you’re done, like pompoms, feathers, crystals, beads, fake fingernails, googley eyes, or ham cubes. If so, you will also need a hot glue gun.

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Start by folding each length of string in half, and then looping it around your stick, and pulling the ends through, like this:

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With all ten strings attached, it’ll look something like this:

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Don’t pull anything too tight, your macramé is not a field hockey ponytail.

Next you’ll start a series of top knots. (Spoiler alert: macramé is a bunch of knots on a stick- neither fancy nor difficult). To make the knots, collect four pieces of string that hang adjacent to each other. With the first string, go over the second and third strings and over the fourth. With the fourth string, go under the third and second strings and then loop through/over the first.

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Tie a series of these using the string in groups of four until you’ve gone all the way across the top row. Then you can leave a little space, and start in on the next row, beginning with the third string:

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Do a few in a row, and then repeat:

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I hate to tell you, but this is basically it. Of course, you can get fancy with some back issues of Boys Life magazine and learn all kinds of crazy knots and make whatever wacky pattern your little heart desires. Or you can just stick to one or two knots (like I did) and call the whole thing done in an hour.

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I did close off the whole thing with a row of figure 8 knots, which are also very easy to make. (I’ll let you google that one, which is what I did).

I wasn’t quite satisfied with the overall weirdness of my macramé, so I hot-glued some black pompoms onto the (uneven) end of each string. To achieve this special look, part the pompom fibers as much as possible, wedge in a spot of hot glue, jam the yarn end in, and then fluff.

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This is such an easy project for a little bit of homemade art, and very customizable. I’d love to see some gold dinosaurs glued onto the string ends, or neon dip-dye, or larger scale pieces with heavy rope hung over a doorway.

Also, everything about this:

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Dream Weaver, I believe you can get me through the night

I’m a firm believer that artsy projects you see on Etsy, Pinterest, fancy blogs, wherever: you can make those. In fact, half the fun of the project is figuring out how they made it. There is no shortage of tutorials online for anything you want to tackle, the weirder the better.

I’ve been inspired lately by these:

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I’m picturing my entire house transformed into a giant 70’s yarn womb with tapestries everywhere. I’m lounging in a gold jumpsuit that I look totally not pregnant in. Peter Gabriel just walked in with a plate zucchini muffins and a secret never-released Genesis EP. The fog machine is roaring and it’s not giving me asthma.

I started by weaving some stuff on a cardboard cutout loom I made using this tutorial. I thought I’d make a huge crazy rug, but who has the patience for that? Instead I wove a couple of things, mostly too tight, that accidentally turned into their cool own invention: crazy fabric bowls.

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Pretty cute! We have them thrown around the house for decoration. My husband likes to toss his keys and glasses in one when he gets home from work. They’d also be cute for little accessories or maybe a place to fold up and stow your gold bikini when Peter Gabriel leaves your house to go buy you white lilies.

“Making a loom” means cutting a biggish circle out of cardboard, then cutting slits into it, laying down some yarn as a base, and then doing the over-under thing for a while. (The tutorial I linked to above does a pretty thorough job, so I won’t repeat it here.)

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A tighter weave will make it curl up into a basket, a looser weave will give you a flat piece to hang on the wall or use as a hot plate for casseroles, if that’s what you’re into.

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Go weave something! The whole project from start to finish takes one viewing of Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. Or the viewing of one very intellectual documentary about Enron/ Monsanto/ Apocalyptic anti-vaccine kale smoothies that’s in French and stars Gwyneth Paltrow teaching us all how to eat more healthy fats. (But remember, you’re already being productive by making a thing, so you get a free pass for the shittiest possible tv offerings).

Weave Officially Lost Our Minds

Did I ever tell you how much I love puns?

I decided today to take up weaving, why not. I made a loom out of cardboard and wove a thing so tight it turned itself into a basket:

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Then I made another, looser, woven thing, decidedly not a basket, but… What is this?

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I hung it on my bedroom door until I can figure it out.

Sometimes the best thing about crafting is messing up.

DIY: Yarn Woven Basket

It’s 12:30pm on Thanksgiving day, and I just realized I didn’t get a hostess gift for the woman who’s having us for thanksgiving dinner tonight. All the stores are closed, I’m not dressed (unless you count the XL stained sweatsuit I’m in again), and I’m exhausted from spending the entire morning fulfilling my “nesting” urges via intermittently closet-cleaning and sobbing.

Thank god for Pinterest, the best place to stow away easy DIY ideas until you desperately need to make something out of the crap you have lying around your house. I loved this idea, and have a few random baskets lying around that my mom passed on to me when my husband and I moved into this house. (Such a mom thing, right? Who else wants to ensure you always have ten or fifteen baskets stacked in your laundry room?)

I made this:

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You can find baskets like this in any thrift store. I’m always on the lookout for this kinda thing: easy pieces that you can hot glue some pompoms on and mail to someone on their hamster’s birthday. I also like vases, bell jars, ceramic or wooden ducks, lamps, and picture frames. Pair with puffy paint, old gift ribbons, yarn, glitter, googley eyes and magazine cut outs from Cat Fancy. Have this stuff around for a rainy day and you’ll never be bored.

Start by gathering your essentials. You’ll need a basket, yarn or string, an embroidery needle of some kind, and a pair of scissors:

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Start by threading your needle (very annoying if your needle eye is tiny and your yarn is alpaca). Then thread the yarn through and around a piece of basket so you can tie a knot.

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Have you thought about your design yet? Me neither. Do something really easy that will look good wonky. I chose a zigzaggy thing.

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And… Go! Just weave the yarn through the basket, going over each line a couple of times so it’s nice and bold. Half an hour later, you’ll end up with something like this (and early onset arthritis):

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I thought mine still needed some extra pizazz (neon) so I did a quick weave around the edges with some bright yellow:

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In the end, you’ve got something a little cooler and weirder than a regular mom basket:

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Use your basket for anything! Like cuddling with some back issues of PROG magazine:

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Or hanging out with that plastic horse you named Captain Oats because you were at one time completely obsessed with the OC (Marissa and her drinking problem in particular):

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Jewelry storage on your dresser is also quite practical:

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However you use it, you now have one more strange thing in your house that people will admire when they come over. (Like last weekends guest who proclaimed with shock and awe, “you actually make things from Pinterest?”)

Yes. Yes, I do.