Make it macramé

Craft popular in the 1970s is enjoying a revival

See also: Designs celebrate Cayman’s heritage


With the trend in décor towards natural fabrics and personalised workmanship, the ancient art of macramé fits in well with modern tastes.

Breann Carle with her handmade macramé plant hangers.

Described as the art of knotting string in patterns to make decorative articles, macramé is thought to date back thousands of years. It was a craft used in the Middle East to adorn costumes by finishing the threading on items such as veils and shawls.

Later, the craft spread to Europe where it was popular in royal households, as well as being employed by sailors for making items such as hammocks and belts.

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Nowadays, the internet is a great resource to learn how to make items with macramé, which can easily be done at home.

Breann Carle and her friend Elana Richter in the Cayman Islands are two enthusiasts of the craft, blazing the trail, locally, by making items such as plant hangers, wall hangings and jewellery.

Photos by Stephen Clarke

“Macramé is functional, beautiful and eco-friendly,” says Breann. “You can take something as simple as rope and make it into anything. You can hang plants and liven up any room, make a statement on any wall with a design piece, or even carry home groceries in a handmade bag.”

With a passion for all things creative, she started Bre Carle Studio and offers lessons in macramé for anyone interested in learning the craft.

“You can purchase patterns online, or (US company) Modern Macramé makes a great book with project patterns and how to start the knots needed for the projects,” says Breann.

“Honestly, the internet is a great source for ‘how-to’ videos for any DIYer. For those requiring more one-on-one instruction, I offer private classes and can provide supplies and patterns, if needed.”


What you need
A yard (measuring) stick, scissors, cotton or hemp rope and pattern. Etsy and other websites are good places to source patterns. ‘Modern Macramé’, by Emily Katz, is a great book to get you started.

Breann uses a yard (measuring) stick, scissors and 5mm three-ply, 100% cotton rope for her macramé-making.

“Unfortunately, supplies are hard to come by in Cayman,” she says. “You can sometimes find rope at Buy Smart in Galleria Plaza. I source all my supplies overseas.”

Breanna likes the simplicity of the pieces she creates, although occasionally adds wooden beads, or dyes the rope, to get different colours. Elana, meanwhile, uses hemp cord rope and includes shells and glass beads to create items with an island touch.

Take a class
Breanna offers classes in macramé and can be reached on [email protected] or Instagram @brecarlestudio.

“I love macramé because it can change a boring wall or space to something amazing,” says Elana. “Macramé is super-trendy at the moment; you will see it in most décor magazines, and more and more people are starting to do it as a hobby.”








Originally published in InsideOut magazine, Issue 37, Spring Summer 2020.

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