Tied up in knots

Discover the simple pleasures of macramé with this easy hanger 

Macramé is an ancient craft dating from Babylonian times. At its most basic, twine or string is cut into lengths and retied using a series of knots. But macramé can also be very ornate, involving hundreds of tiny twists, a variety of knots and incorporate beads, shells and other embellishments.

It was used by 13th-century Arabian weavers and was popular in Victorian England as a means of making intricate lace for curtains, tablecloths, bedspreads, doilies and coasters. Sailors of old used macramé to weave ropes and hammocks. Hippies in the 1970s hung decorative macramé on their walls, carried knotted and tasselled string bags and wore macramé belts, tops, necklaces, bracelets and sandals.

For an easy macramé project that takes about 15 minutes, try this simple pot hanger. Make several to fill with small plants in jars.

Step 1: Cutting Cut 12 pieces of twine into approximately one-metre lengths. Cut another two lengths to 90cm each. Gather the 12 long pieces together and fold them evenly in the middle to form a thick cord with a loop at one end and the loose ends at the other.

Step 2: Wrapped knot Lay the looped cord down on a flat surface and use one end of a 90cm length to tie a firm knot approximately 5cm from the top of the loop. Tuck in the loose end of this twine and firmly wind the remaining long end several times around the gathered cord to create the wrapped knot. Leave just enough twine to tie a tight double knot at the bottom and use the point of your scissors to poke the loose end neatly up inside the centre of the cord.

Step 3: First overhand knot Spread out the strings and group the 12 lengths of twine into 6 pairs. Tie each pair of strings with an overhand knot, approximately two thirds of the way down the length of the two strings. (An overhand is the basic knot that most of us use as the first half of tying up our sneakers.) Adjust the knots so that when you gather the lengths together they are all roughly the same position along the strings.

Step 4: Second overhand knot Spread out the strings again and, taking one string from a pair and matching it with one string from an adjacent pair, tie a second knot approximately 10cm along the string. Repeat this until every string is knotted together with an adjacent piece of twine. As with Step 3, adjust the knots so they are all at the same position along the strings.

Step 5: Third overhand knot Repeat as above, taking care to select an adjacent piece of twine, and tying the knots at the same position along the strings.

Step 6: Final overhand and wrapped knot Gather all the loose strings evenly together and tie them into a tight overhand knot. Use the remaining 90cm length to tie a firm knot above the overhand knot and continue as with Step 2 to create a wrapped knot over the top.

Step 7: Trim the ends and insert jar containing your potted plant.

Potting your jar
Pot up your jar by layering small pebbles, coir or sustainably harvested sphagnum moss and potting mix. Put in the plant and fill around the edges with extra soil. Water well.

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