How To Make 7 Common Macrame Knots and Patterns
Macrame is a fun and easy craft requiring very few tools and knowledge of just a few knots. This guide teaches you 7 common macramé knots that you can mix and match to create a variety of macrame projects.
For detailed project instructions, check out our collection of macramé home décor patterns here.
Special Terms for Macrame
Before you begin, here are a few common terms that are used in most macramé project instructions:
Knotting cord. This is the cord or set of cords that is used to make the knot for any given stitch.
Knot-bearing cord. This is the cord or set of cords that the knotting cords are wrapped around. The knotting cord and knot-bearing cord can change from step to step in a project but your pattern will indicate this for you.
Sennit. This refers to a set of the same stitch worked in repeat. For example, if you work 6 half knot stitches in a row then you have a sennit of 6 half knots.
Lark's head Knot
The Lark’s Head Knot is a popular knot for attaching your macramé cords to a dowel or ring.
1. Fold one macramé cord in half creating a loop. 2. Place the folded cord on working surface with loop pointing down and ends of cord pointing up. 3. Place your dowel (or ring) on top of the folded cord just above the loop. 4. Pull the loop up over the dowel (or ring). 5. Pull the cord ends up and through the loop, then pull down to tighten.
Reverse Lark's head Knot
The Reverse Lark’s Head knot (sometimes called the Cow Hitch Knot) is simply the Lark’s Head knot as it appears from the reverse side. As these two knots are essentially the same, choosing to use the Lark’s Head or the Reverse Lark’s Head knot is just a matter of personal preference.
1. Fold one macramé cord in half. 2. Place the folded cord on working surface with loop pointing up and ends of cord pointing down. 3. Place your dowel (or ring) on top of the folded cord just above the loop. 4. Pull the loop down over the dowel (or ring). 5. Pull the cord ends up and through the loop, then pull down to tighten.
Half Knots are often used to create a sinnet (remember the special term!). A sennit of Half Knots creates a natural spiral often used in plant hanger projects.
The Half Knot is worked with four cords. The two outer cords are the knotting cords and the two center cords are the knot-bearing cords.
1. Bring the left knotting cord to the right over the two knot-bearing cords and underneath the right knotting cord. 2. Bring the right knotting cord to the left under the two knot-bearing cords and over the left knotting cord. 3. Pull knotting cords to secure the knot.
The Square Knot is a continuation of the Half Knot. (The "half" refers to "half of the square".) So you work the first part of the knot just like a half knot then you finish the square by working another half knot using the opposite cords.
1. Work steps 1-3 as given above for the Half Knot. 2. Bring the right knotting cord to the left over the two knot-bearing cords and underneath the left knotting cord. 3. Bring the left knotting cord to the right under the two knot-bearing cords and over the right knotting cord. 4. Pull knotting cords to secure.
Half Hitch knots
There are several variations of the Half Hitch Knot. It can be worked horizontally, vertically and diagonally and with a number of different knotting cords and knot-bearing cords for different effect. Half Hitch Knots can also be worked from left-to-right or right-to-left. The ease and versatility of this knot make it one of the most common macrame knots.
Double half hitch
A double half hitch knot is simply two half hitch knots worked one after the other. This is sometimes referred to as a “Clove Hitch”. All of the variations of the Half Hitch knot outlined below can be worked as a double half-hitch by simply working the knotting steps twice.
Horizontal half hitch (left to right)
This example shows the left-most cord as the knot-bearer and next cord to the right as the knotting cord. Which cords are designated for what purpose vary per design but should be indicated in your project instructions.
Horizontal half hitch (right to left)
To work the horizontal half hitch from right to left, simply work as given above using the right-most cord as the knot-bearing cord and the next cord to the left as the knotting cord.
Diagonal half hitch (left to right)
The Diagonal Half Hitch is worked almost exactly as the Horizontal Half Hitch, the difference being the knot-bearing cord is held diagonally before the stitches are worked.
Diagonal half hitch (right to left)
To work the diagonal half hitch from right to left, simply work as given above using the right-most cord as the knot-bearing cord and the next cord to the left as the knotting cord.
Vertical double half hitch (left to right)
The vertical double half hitch is usually worked with a separate, long knotting cord worked back and forth across several knot-bearing cords. A series of vertical half hitch knots creates dense rows of vertical knots popular in wall hangings and projects that require a dense fabric. This technique is a great way to add a contrast color into a project.
The example below shows a left-to-right vertical double half hitch.
1. Start with the knotting cord behind the knot-bearing cord(s) with a short end at the left and the majority of the length of cord to the right (exact lengths should be indicated in your pattern) 2. Bring the long end of the knotting cord up and over the knot bearing cord, bringing it to the left. 3. Continuing with the long end of the knotting cord, bring it around the back of the knot-bearing cord, threading it up through the space created between the two cords. 4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to complete vertical double half hitch.
Vertical double half hitch (right to left)
To work the vertical half hitch from right to left, simply work as given above with the short end of the knotting cord at the right and the long end at the left.
This is common everyday knot you have probably made a hundred times without thinking it had a name! It is a good knot for securing cords for plant hangers or at the end of a braid.
1. Bring one end of the cord over the other, forming a loop 2. Bring the end of the cord which lies on top behind the loop and up and through 3. Tighten both ends of the cord to secure
A Gathering Knot (also known as Wrapping Knot or Gathering Wrap) is a neat and decorative way to gather several cords together. This knot is often used at the very beginning or end of a plant hanger project. A short length of cord is used as the knotting cord and several or all of the cords in a project are the knot-bearing cords.
1. Fold a loop near one end of the knotting cord. 2. Place the loop on top of the knot bearing cords with the loop pointing up and the short end of cord pointing down. 3. Holding the loop in place, wrap the long end of the knotting cord tightly around knot bearing cords wrapping from the bottom up for desired length, leaving top of loop exposed above wraps. 4. Bring end of knotting cord at top of wrap through the loop. 5. Pull bottom end of knotting cord to draw loop down into the wrap. 6. Trim exposed ends of knotting cord close to wrap.