June 11, 2013

Hints & Tips for Micro Macrame Knotting

Micro Macrame bracelet by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

Want to take your micro macrame pieces from so-so to WOW!?  There's only one rule you have to remember - neatness counts.  That's it.  That's the whole secret to great looking beaded macrame jewelry!  Make sure your knots are straight and even and your cords lay just right and your beads make the perfect curve.  Pay attention to the little details.  A few other tips:

Use a straight iron to smooth out cords for micro macrame.

The first thing I do when I'm making something (okay, the second - first you have to cut the cords) is to iron my cords.  Yep - I take a straight iron and run my cords through it.  As you can see from the photo, you can quickly tame an unruly pile of curls.  It's much easier to keep track of your cords when knotting if they aren't all kinky and tangled.  A big barreled curling iron will do the same thing as a straightener if you don't curl your cord around it - just pull the cord through it.  I've also heard that you can iron them, but I can't vouch for that.  "Ironing" is a bad word at my house.

Straight pins and t-pins used to hold micro macrame knotting in place

The next secret weapon in my arsenal is pins.  I use a couple different kinds of pins - plain old straight sewing pins and small t-pins.  They will hold your work in place while you knot.  My rule of thumb is whenever I change the direction of a cord, I use a pin to make the corner sharp.  It also helps to keep my lines straight.  

Straight pins and t-pins used to hold micro macrame by Sherri Stokey

You can never have too many pins.  The work surface I'm using in this photo is the new Beadsmith Macrame Board and it works very well.  I do still use my original, low cost cork board, too (old dog, new tricks thing I think) and you can see that here.

Glue, scissors and pins are handy tools for micro macrame knotting

My secret for a nice finish involves two types of glue and small scissors.  The old school method for ending cords was to melt them with a lighter and I know some folks still do that.  It works, but I don't like the hard scratchy ends of melted nylon that are left (okay, they drive me crazy on the tender underside of my wrist!) so I use this method.  When I'm finished knotting, I coat my last row of knots with Fray Check.

Using Fray Check to hold knots

Then I pull all the knots nice and tight and let them dry.  I clip the excess cord very close to the knots and then hit those knots again with some glue.

Hypo Cement is a great adhesive for holding knots.

I like the G-S Hypo Cement for this step.  I've never had a problem with it not holding and the precision tip applicator lets me get the adhesive just exactly where I want it without making a mess.

So there you have it.  My secrets. If you're ready to try making some micro macrame bracelets of your own, I offer some tutorials in my Etsy shop with step by step instructions.

Edited to add:  I've added some new video posts here on my blog to cover some of the main macrame knots.  Check out the lark's head knot tutorial and the double half hitch tutorial.

24 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tips. I love the tip for straightening those curls.

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  2. Thank you so much for posting!!!!

    yesterday i was searching the web for finishing techniques trying to figure out how you did it.

    this helps so much

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  3. Molto interessante .Grazie per i consigli.

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  4. I love the GS Hypo, too (it's great for leather cords). I notice your tutorials are selling like hotcakes, Sherri... guess everyone wants to know your secrets LOL. If I had the eyesight micro would be the perfect outlet for me (I'm a nut for detail), but as it stands I will get the occasional fix by buying something from you (waiting for that purple and lime bracelet to come back!)

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  5. Wonderful tips, Sherri, thank you! LOVE the straight iron. Brilliant. Enjoyed learning from immensely, as always, and pinned your article to my Pinterest :)

    Bravo!
    Rita

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    1. Thank you, Rita! Looking forward to your blog hop this weekend!

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    2. Hi Sherri, thank you for these tips. I'm just learning and often tutorials show u how to add cord but not how to take em away. I will try yr hot iron tip but I'm worried it will melt the wax?? No?
      Rochelle

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    3. I do not use waxed cord, Rochelle. I don't think I would use an iron to straighten it, though.

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  6. Τhank you !!!!! Very interesting blog!!!I follow you now!!!Would you like follow me back! My blog is : http://fanypap.blogspot.gr/ kisses.

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    1. I am happy to follow your blog, ma'am - it looks very interesting!

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  7. I'm tempted to have a go, but will never be as neat as you!

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  8. Great post! Ironing is a bad word in our home too :) I'll have to checkout your Etsy shop for those tutorials.

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  9. Finally something to do with that straight flat iron that I branded my neck with and vowed never to use again (at least not on my hair). Thanks! And, no, I don't iron either.

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  10. Thank you, this is great! What type and size of cord do you use?

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    1. I have a whole post about cord here: http://www.knotjustmacrame.com/2013/05/year-of-jewelry-week-week-22-and-lesson.html

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  11. Hi Sherry...years ago, I purchased Joan Babcocks Double rainbow kit. I cant figure it out. Now I found you! I LOVE LOVE your work. Where do I start? I need basic instructions and do not know which of your tutorials to purchase. Help!

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    1. This post might help: http://www.knotjustmacrame.com/2013/08/micro-macrame-tutorials-and-classes.html - it sort of ranks my classes from easiest to hardest, but it doesn't include some of the newer ones. As far as basic knots, you can find those for free here on my blog. This post: http://www.knotjustmacrame.com/2014/06/new-micro-macrame-tutorial-retro-owl.html has a video for one of the knots and then links to some posts with other knots. Let me know if that doesn't answer your questions! (ps - I'm a big fan of Joan Babcock's work)

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  12. Thank you so much for this I don't like to burn my ends this has been my biggest hump to get over. Now I can create thank you.

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  13. what type of board is in the picture?

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  14. Hi Sherri, thanks so much for sharing your tip. I've working with fraycheck and the GS Hypo cement, but when I go to cut the ends off, it seems leave a sharp, bumpy edge around the knot, even with a fine pair of scissors. Do you have any remedies for this? A way to smooth it out? Thanks!

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I'd love to hear from you!

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