Even the most elaborate macrame pieces are made using a few basic knots. You can buy macrame cord or rope just about anywhere, and you don’t need special tools to create the knots. The biggest challenge is mastering the different types of knots you’ll need to create the projects of your dreams.
You’ll need a punch needle, a piece of monkscloth (an open-weave textile), and an embroidery hoop. Depending on what size of punch needle you choose, you can work with yarn or embroidery floss. Once you’ve stretched your cloth in the hoop, you’ll start poking the tool through the cloth to fill in your design.
To get started, you can buy a kit containing a frame loom, shuttle, and needle. However, you can also make a loom using a cheap stretched canvas. Once you’ve set up your loom, you can wind a shuttle with yarn or use shorter pieces with a tapestry needle to create your design. A handful of simple stitches can create an impressive, textural weaving project
Despite what you might have heard, crochet is not inferior to knitting. It is easier, though. Unlike knitting, crochet is much more forgiving of beginner mistakes. That’s because your stitches won’t unravel the minute you look at them funny. Crochet uses a single hook to create a series of interlocking loops, either by working back and forth or in a spiral from a center point.
With cross-stitch, you take embroidery floss and make a series of X-shaped stitches on a piece of open, even-weave fabric. Needlepoint is worked on a larger scale, with a heavier backing fabric. Basic needlepoint involves counted stitches similar to cross-stitch, but instead of making an X, you only make a single slanted stitch.
While hoop art is still very popular, crafters are using the same techniques to make patches, embellish clothes and accessories, and practice artful mending. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can find patterns and kits to make beautiful embroidered projects in just about any style you can imagine.
The process of weaving on a rigid heddle loom is similar to the frame loom we discussed earlier, but the setup is totally different–and much harder. The challenge of warping your loom might be too much for some beginners. The looms are also expensive to buy, starting at about $200 for the smallest one.
Knitting can be an easy, carefree, inexpensive hobby. But any passionate knitter will tell you horror stories about ever-expanding stashes of yarn and frustrating evenings spent carefully picking out mistakes in delicate lace. If you want to get a feel for knitting, grab some cheap worsted-weight acrylic and a pair of needles.