Mum and maker Katie Mitchell designs and crafts her macrame pieces in South East London. This summer you can catch her at MAKEMORE doing demos inside the fantastic Yodomo dome.
What inspired you to work with textiles and fibres?
I have always loved designing and making, inspired by my mum. She was always making something. She made our clothes and amazing costumes when we were young and then later, she set up her own soft furnishing business and opened a shop in our local town making curtains and matching accessories. I followed in her footsteps and went on to study a BA in Textile Design at The Nottingham Trent University, specialising in weaving. After uni, I had a little break from making, and I spent 10 years working as a visual merchandiser for several high street interior and fashion brands. Still a textile related/creative job, but life got in the way, and I made very little until I had my own family. Then, I returned to my textile roots and started creating again.
How did you get into macrame?
When I was pregnant I decided to teach myself to crochet. I had always wanted to learn and really wanted to make my son a crochet granny square blanket. I fell in love with crochet, and as I was scrolling on pinterest for more designs I came across a macrame rug. I had a go at making the rug, but never finished it as I discovered macrame plant hangers too. And have never looked back!
What’s your favourite aspect of this art form?
I think I love macrame because it’s quick. You can make a plant hanger (with a bit of practice!) in an hour or two. I loved weaving at uni but couldn’t cope with how slow it was. You’d be working for hours and have only made an inch of woven fabric.
Macrame is quick to satisfy and looks very complicated when in fact once you’ve learned the basic few knots it’s pretty easy, and can be done whilst having a good old natter!
Do you have any advice for beginners?
Start simple – just learn one knot, for example the square knot to start with and repeat it. You can make something that looks really impressive using just one type of knot.
Join a local craft group – I joined a craft group when I started out and it’s so great to have that support network where you can share patterns and get help and advice.
Practice – the tricky bit of macrame is getting the tension just right and this can only be perfected by practicing.
Use social media for inspiration – I use pinterest and instagram in particular for patterns and ideas all the time.
And attend a workshop – nothing beats learning tips and tricks directly from an expert, failing that – do an online tutorial.
What will you be doing at MAKEMORE?
At MAKEMORE I will be demonstrating how to make my ‘Eye Spy’ macrame wall hanging and my ‘Serpentine’ plant hanger. In these demos I will make the crown, square, spiral, larks head and clove hitch knots and share many other little tips and macrame techniques.