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Alternating Square Knots

Alternating SK

Description: Alternating Square Knots (ASK) create a net-like pattern seen in many Macrame projects. It's considered the most important of all the basic knots.

Practice this knotting technique several times if you are a beginner. 

The basic concept is that you tie the Square knots in horizontal rows. Every other row you alternate the cords used to tie the knots.  You select two cords from two adjacent knots to make the ASK shift position, creating the interconnected woven design.

Be sure you know how to tie a Square Knot before you get started.


Clutch Purse

The Striped Clutch is a great project for beginners.  Most of the design is made with Alternating Square Knots.

Click on the link or image if you want to give it a try.

Make sure you know how to tie SK in both directions.


To practice, you need at least six 36-inch cords. Fold them in half so you end up with 12 (or more) cords to work with. 

Secure them to your project board at the fold.

Mentally number the cords moving left to right. Each Square Knot is tied with four cords.

Important:  The ASK shown below are made with only 12 cords.  In a Macrame project you will likely have many more cords to work with. 

You create each row moving all the way across from left to right.  The pattern will tell you what cords to use and how many rows to tie.  Always mentally number and count the cords so you combine the right ones. 


Row 1

Step 1: Tie the first row of Square knots with groups of four cords. There should be two working cords and two fillers.

Begin by tying Square Knots with cords 1 - 4, 5 - 8, and 9 - 12.


Row 2

Step 2:   Row 2 is made by combining cords 3 - 4 from the first knot (in row 1) with cords 5 - 6 from the second knot. 

The next SK for this row is tied with cords 7 - 10.



Most of the time you will tighten the Alternating Square Knots so they rest close together, as in this image.

In some patterns you may be asked to leave space between the rows of knots.  This is shown in the next images below.

Make sure the spacing between the rows is always the same, unless the pattern tells you otherwise.

Row 3

Step 3:  Repeat step 1, tying the third row of ASK with cords 1 - 4, 5 - 8, and 9 - 12.



Step 4:  Repeat steps 2 and 3 at least one more time.


Double Alternating Square Knots

Double ASK

I've seen quite a few vintage Macrame projects that require you to tie rows of Double ASK, so here are the instructions.

This type of pattern looks better if the rows of ASK are close together

Row 1
  Step 1:  For the first row tie 2 Square Knots with cords 1 - 4, 5 -8, and 9 - 12.


Row 2
  Step 2:  Alternate the cords by tying two ASK in row 2 with cords 3 - 6 and 7 - 10.

When you tighten the first knot in each set, make sure it rests close to the ASK in the previous row.


Row 3

Step 3:  Repeat step 1 to make a third row of ASK.

Repeat step 2 to make the fourth row (optional).


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