Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

macrame-msg - 3/6/10


Period macrame. References.


NOTE: See also the files: knitting-msg, lucet-cord-msg, p-knitting-bib, p-x-stitch-art, naalbinding-msg, sprang-msg, sprang-bib, lace-msg, quilting-msg, headgear-msg, snoods-cauls-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



From priest at vassar.edu Tue May 13 12:10:58 1997

Date: 3 Apr 1997 18:03:30 GMT

From: Carolyn Priest-Dorman <priest at vassar.edu>

To: sca at mc.lcs.mit.edu

Subject: cording:  Macrame and Lucet


Greeting from Thora Sharptooth!


This will be a long but specific response.


Alys Katharine (alysk at ix.netcom.com) wrote:

>I believe macrame is out-of-period by a few years.


According to the Abegg-Stiftung, there is at least one sixteenth-century

macrame piece in Western Europe.  Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, in _Textile

Conservation and Research_, discusses the conservation  at the

Abegg-Stiftung (Bern) of an eighth-century tablet-woven girdle, the "Relic of St. Peter," Salzburg.  The girdle was encased in a netted cover sometime in the

11th-13th century, and both pieces were encased in a silk macrame tube in the 16th century.  There are photos and diagrams in the book.


<snip of lucets info - see lucets-msg>


Carolyn Priest-Dorman                    Thora Sharptooth

priest at vassar.edu                       Frostahlid, Austrriki

          Gules, three square weaver's tablets in bend Or




Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: cording

From: una at bregeuf.stonemarche.org (Honour Horne-Jaruk)

Date: Sat, 26 Apr 97 07:34:37 EDT


alysk at ix.netcom.com(Elise Fleming ) writes:

> Eric & Lissa McCollum <ericmc at primenet.com> writes:

> >I'm looking for some information on how to

> >make my own fine cording. (deletion)  So...can anyone help? How

> >period are the various macrame techniques? Are there books

> >I can look in for how-to's and documentation?


> Greetings.  I believe macrame is out-of-period by a few years.  A

> leather thong or a ribbon would work.  If you send me your mailing

> address I can send you directions on how to make "lucet" cord but you

> would need a lucet tool.  These are sold at Pennsic and some other

> places.  It produces a square cord, the fineness of which is determined

> by the original material...crochet yarn, sewing thread, knitting yarn,

> etc.  Lucets/lucettes, which are lyre-shaped, have been found in

> late-Saxon Thetford according to an archeological magazine.


> Alys Katharine, who has made "miles" of lucet cord


        Respected friend:

        Macrame' as it is usually used today (endless processions

of plant-holders...) isn't anything like the period Macrame' I've

seen- but the technique itself, producing a open-patterend fabric

completely from knotted threads, is. The Arabs made "modesty

screens" for windows out of fine, lace-weight macrame'; I don't

know when they started, but surviving scraps from 15th-century

Spain show quite sophisticated technique.

        To repeat the important point: the _technique_ was

macrame'; the _result_ was lace.


                               Alizaunde, Demoiselle de Bregeuf

                                Una Wicca (That Pict)

                                (Friend) Honour Horne-Jaruk, R.S.F.



Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 13:56:16 -0700 (PDT)

From: Gabrielle Bombard <KiaraPanther at excite.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Macrame


>  Okay, I've never really looked into this before.  Is macrame period, and if

>  so does anyone know where I could get a source book.


>  I have found sites on Romanian Antique Macrame, but no mention of

> historical presedence.


>  Bianca


There is a picture of an Italian WOman in Late Renn dress that has macrame

overlay on the bodice.  I will try to photocopy it tonight when I go to the






Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 23:24:40 -0700

From: <lilinah at earthlink.net>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: macrame


Lord Stefan li Rous wrote:

>I'm not sure what the differance is between the resulting product of

>macrame and lucet? Can someone explain this to someone who has only

>done a little lucet cord stuff and no macrame?


Well, a lucet is a cord composed of interlocked loops.


Macrame, whatever the finished product looks like, is composed

entirely of knots.


The oldest stuff i am familiar with is from the 19th century and was

done by sailors, although macrame-like knotwork is used to finish

Mexican rebozas (a reboza is a type of shawl). And of course,

Victorians found ways to use macrame for draperies on tables,

furniture and windows. DMC used to publish a wonderful booklet of

Victorian macrame (i have a copy...) Macrame can be incredibly fine

or rather thick and coarse, depending on the type of cord or rope one

uses. Entire pieces can be made with half-hitches. Square knots and

lark's head knots are also common. Of course there are other knots

involved, but very complex pieces can be made with just one or two

types of knots.


For technique only there are a couple wonderful old books with 19th

c. sailors' stuff and lots of knots, such as "The Ashley Book of



I have no idea where to look for period information, though. I'd love

to here about extant pieces or technical resources...


Anahita al-shazhiyya



Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2000 09:11:46 -0700 (PDT)

From: Gabrielle Bombard <KiaraPanther at excite.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Macrame


Okay, I photocopied the picture of the Italian Renn lady with the macrame

fringe cover the entirety of the bodice area.  It was in a reference book

and the photocopier at the library is horrid so I am not sure how well it

will scan in.  The book is a compliation of the English magazine THE

Embroideress from the 1920-1940 so I don't think giving you the Interlibrary

loan info would help any.





Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2000 09:24:28 -0700 (PDT)

From: Gabrielle Bombard <KiaraPanther at excite.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Macrame Bodice


>  My apologies...I was referring to the other post, talking about the

>  macrame on a bodice.

>  --Maire


The article says it is macrame.  I'm not an expert on macrame though.  It is

a 1920-1940 embroidery magazine that usually has one historical article in

every issue.  I wouldn't have even thought about it being macrame if the

caption hadn't said so.  I've never paid much attention to macrame until I

ran across this picture.  I now have a copy of my very own and plan on

comparing it to some modern books on macrame technique.


Considering that this is the British Embroiderers' Guild we are talking

about, if they say it is macrame, there is a good chance it is. Not that

they are perfect, but I trust thier opinions more than others.





To: Gleann Abhann (mail list) <gleannabhann at yahoogroups.com>

Subject: Re: Arabic History (macrame)

Posted by: "Nauloera ." nauloera at gmail.com merlinnedivary

Date: Mon Feb 1, 2010 8:49 am ((PST))


This is a subject I have been trying to research as well and sadly the

information is terribly sparse. The only online document I have found that

shows period macrame' technique is the book Old Italian Lace.

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~spok/metabook/oilace.html In Volume 1, Part 12 there

are some photographs of 16th century macrame' lace utilizing the various

knots. I'm still trying to figure out the little people figures.


I haven't found anything showing macrame' in use for things such as jewelry,

belts, etc unfortunately. And neither have I found anything directing back

to 14th century Arabic weavers. That doesn't mean it isn't so, just that I

can't find anything with my very very limited resources (I only have

internet access from work at the moment and do not have any libraries that

are even worth walking in the door).

I have come to the conclusion that I may never be able to document macrame'

for my uses but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop doing it. I make

macrame' because I enjoy it. I was hoping to be able to integrate it into my

persona but I don't think that will happen. But I do intend to use the pouch

I macramed, (


) at

events simply because it looks period-ish and is better than having my cell

phone hanging on my belt. ;)





To: Gleann Abhann (mail list) <gleannabhann at yahoogroups.com>

Subject: Re: Arabic History (macrame)

Posted by: "Nauloera ." nauloera at gmail.com merlinnedivary

Date: Mon Feb 1, 2010 10:12 am ((PST))


Everything I have read says it originated with rug weavers in the near

east as a way to finish off the threads THEN was passed to sailors who

carried it to other ports around the world striking Europe in, I believe, it

was 15th or 16th century. However, what I have read is basically second hand

information and not from reliable (academic type) sources. I am hoping that

when I get moved up to Indiana I will have access to better libraries and be

able to do a more in depth search.


To me, it would make sense for something such as macrame' to have been used

for jewelry and such among the less well-to-do people because it would make

sense that thread, twine or string would be considerably less expensive than

gold, silver and jewels. However being made from fiber product would also

make preservation more difficult and you would be less likely to find

samples in, say, a bare earth grave for example.


However this is merely speculation on my part. I really need to do more






To: Gleann Abhann (mail list) <gleannabhann at yahoogroups.com>

Subject: Re: Arabic History (macrame)

Posted by: "Nauloera ." nauloera at gmail.com merlinnedivary

Date: Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:37 am ((PST))


Hmm... I was looking through some Botticelli paintings and it appears

possible in The Adoration of The Magi (1475):

http://www.artbible.info/art/large/237.html On the left side, the third guy

back from the baby. Though it is difficult to see it clearly. I'm searching

for one with higher resolution so I can see the detail better.


On Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 5:33 PM, melinda <mlaf at sbcglobal.net> wrote:

<<< I posted the question about macrame to the SCA nautical list - someone

posted that "supposedly Botticelli has a painting of a man wearing a

macramé hat from the 15th century."


Might be worth looking into...


Melandra >>>



To: Gleann Abhann (mail list) <gleannabhann at yahoogroups.com>

Subject: Re: Arabic History (macrame)

Posted by: "Catherine Koehler" hccartck at yahoo.com

Date: Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:51 am ((PST))


I have a book here "The Complete Paintings of Botticelli" and in the picture you have sent there is indeed a macrame hat on that fine fellow.  By book shows it relatively clearly and almost to the degree that it could be replicated.




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org