Saltie Crafts - With Isabella Strambio
For #SaltieCrafts we meet the maker Isabella Strambio from Two Me, a blog that shares macramé and natural dyeing tutorials and courses. Isabella is a self-taught maker with a huge passion for all things handmade. She started her blog to follow her journey to learn 12 crafts in 12 months. So if you too are embarking on a new or long-neglected journey of craft, then we hope Isabella’s story inspires you to start now and see where it takes you. Keep reading for a macramé tutorial and remember to tag us on Instagram to share your creations #SaltieCrafts @saltwatersandals_europe, @_twome .
You kick-started your business in a really lovely way. Tell us more about your 12 months craft challenge?
I started my blog, TwoMe, to follow my journey to learn 12 crafts in 12 months. My background is interior design and I was in a time in my life that I felt very frustrated with my creativity. I have always loved crafts and anything handmade and I wanted to try a few. I come up with this idea of the 12 crafts in 12 months. My first craft was macramé and about 6 months later I got asked to run the first workshops, since then my business has grown organically.
What crafts did you learn over those 12 months?
Macramé, weaving, natural dyeing, crochet, polymer clay, slow stitching, candle making, paper cutting, stamp carving, wreath making, basket making, temari balls.
What was it about macramé that you most enjoyed?
I love how you can create something beautiful from strings and few knots. With a simple pattern you can still create something outstanding for your home; I also love the textures and natural feel of macramé.
Mindful moments can be created through craft. Tell us more about how you practice that?
I strongly believe that a craft like macramé, is like yoga for your mind. Concentrating on making your knots and a macramé project can help you focus on the task at hand and forget everything else. We are constantly busy and worrying about all the things we need to do that we forget to stop and concentrate on one thing only, to pause, breath and make. It's important to have even just 10/15 minutes where you can switch off and use your creativity. I also believe everyone has a creative side that needs to be expressed to reach a more balanced lifestyle.
You have a series of online courses and workshops. What do you enjoy most about passing on your craft?
I love people discovering their creative side, amaze themselves with their creative skills, find mindfulness in their lives and confidence in themselves.
What has been your most ambitious macramé project to date?
My latest macramé lampshade and the large wall hanging on the cover of my macramé book have been my most ambitious macramé projects so far. The lampshade took about 10-12 hours and it was a project I did for my online course 'The Macramé Bootcamp', which is an advanced online course for my students that want to further their macramé skills to the next level. The large wall hanging on the cover of my macramé book took about a week! Half way through I spotted a mistake and I had to undo the macramé and redo it again!
If we’re going back to basics as a beginner, where’s a good place to start?
Start with a small projects like the macramé coasters where you can practice the basic knot of macramé, the square knot and make sure the tension is consistent. A simple project for beginner, like the macramé coasters, will last between 30-60 minutes.
Are mistakes easy to correct with macramé?
Yes. Using strings mean that you can undo and redo the knots as many times as you need too, without ruining the macramé piece or the strings. This is a great advantage, and very economical, when you are learning a new craft and for me it meant that I kept practicing the knots with the same strings at the beginning, and later on, I experimented with patterns as I grew more confident.
Do you think patience can be learned through doing macramé?
I think macramé is a great craft for people that don't have much patience, as you can create something beautiful in just one hour. Compare to knitting, for instance, that takes days. As you get better and more confident with macramé, people start to adventure on more complex and time-consuming projects.
Macramé Coaster Tutorial
This is a simple and effective little project that you can do it even if you have never tried macrame before.
- 10 x 1.2 meters of 3mm rope
- 1x 30cm piece of string
- Masking tape
- Measuring tape
Fix your string with masking tape on your table top.
Using a lark knot (you can learn how to make it here) place the 12 pieces of rope on your piece of string.
Measure 6cm under your string and start a row of 5 square knots (you can learn how to make it here ).
Continue to make alternated rows of 5 and 4 square knots util you have 11 rows. (picture below)
Cut the ropes under the string and then measure 6cm under your last row of square knots and cut the ropes.
Unravel the rope’s ends on both side and with the help of the comb brush them.
Voilà, you have your coaster!