One question I get pretty often is how I get my micro macrame jewelry pieces to looks so perfect. First let me point out that they aren't perfect. They're tied by hand one knot at a time and there are imperfections in every piece. That's sort of the thing about handcrafted jewelry - it isn't mass produced or made by a machine. I think it's one of the things that gives handmade its charm.
That all being said, I do try to make my pieces as perfect as I can. I'm just wired that way. Here are my top four tips for neater macrame:
1. Straighten the cords before you begin knotting your macrame project. I usually measure and cut my cord from the spools, then use my handy dandy hair straightener (flat iron) to get rid of the curls. A large barrel curling iron will work, too. I've heard of using a plain old iron, but I cannot attest to the effectiveness of an iron since I steadfastly refuse to use one in any context. The hair styling tools work swimmingly. Getting the cords all straight like this will help you keep track of them much easier when it comes to knotting, especially if you're working with many cords.
2. Use pins while you work. I'm a pinnin' fool. I use regular old sewing pins (straight pins) as well as t-pins to hold my work to the pinning surface while I knot. This helps me keep the lines all straight and uniform. It also gives me something to pull against when changing direction of a cord.
3. Maintain consistent tension on the knots. This is easier said than done and does require some practice for most of us mere mortals, but will make all the difference in your piece looking neater overall.
4. Be tidy when you finish off your piece. The ends of your piece should look as good as the focal part, so don't slack off when you get close to the finish line. The little details are what sets your work apart. I like to use a split ring finish for many of my pieces (there's a free tutorial here on how to do that, if you're interested). I like the more "finished" look this gives my pieces, but no matter what ending you use, make it neat and secure.
And there you have it, my top four tips for neater macrame. Do you have other tricks that you use? I'd love to hear them!