Taylor Riley, macrame teacher and owner of Myth and Moss in Baltimore, holds a macrawoven wall hanging. (Photos courtesy Marlayna Photography)

For many, macramé harkens back to the Bohemian style of the 1970s with accessories and decoration made of intricately-knotted rope with beads and other flourishes.
Now, macramé is groovy again for people looking for a fairly quick and easy craft to learn that keeps their hands busy.
It takes little to get started and once you master about a half-dozen basic knots, a world of creative possibilities opens up.
“I really enjoy that you can make really complex things with only a few different knots,” said Taylor Riley, owner of Myth and Moss studio in Baltimore. “I think that’s really special.”
Riley said she got hooked on macramé about four years ago and in 2018 opened an Etsy shop with finished pieces and starter kits.
The shop is still up but she has since shifted more to teaching others in making their own unique work.
“I’m just happy to get people into the craft,” she said.
Before the pandemic, Riley was teaching workshops on macramé and macraweaving in four states helping hundreds of people learn and excel in the craft.
Macraweaving, which blends a different material like roving into the piece has also surged in popularity for its variety and versatility.
In 2020, she has held workshops virtually and also offers macramé starter kits at her Etsy shop.
“It was definitely growing in popularity,” Riley said. “I would get all ages — people who just discovered macramé recently and people who were into it 40 or 50 years ago and were rediscovering it.”
A great example of what goes around comes around, this isn’t the first resurgence of macramé.
Its roots can be traced back as least to Arab and Turkish weavers in the 13th century and over time its popularity spread throughout Europe.
It gained huge popularity in the Victorian era where it was used to decorate tablecloths, bedspreads and curtains.
Sailors called it “square knotting” and greatly contributed to its spread as they traveled into China and the New World, making hammocks and belts during downtime on the ship and selling them when they arrived at port.
Riley said she thinks it’s become popular again for many reasons.
With just a handful of knots to learn — lark’s head, square knot, half knot, clove hitch, gathering knot and overhand knot are the most used — it’s a relatively easy fiber art skill to pick up compared to, say, knitting or crochet and can quickly generate finished items like potted plant hangers, table runners, purses and wall hangings.
“Generally, you just need rope and whatever you need to mount or display the item,” she said.
It diverts attention from technology and the screen time that many have become overloaded with both before the pandemic and even moreso during it.
It’s emergence in popular media and publicity from celebrity crafters reimagining Bohemian style also has heightened awareness of macramé.
“People are just seeing it more in magazines and getting interested in it,” Riley said.
Once you know the knots, Riley said gather up the few supplies you need and it’s off to the races.