Cord
measurements include determining the
lengths you need to cut, the number of
cords, and the total amount of material
you need for the entire project.

Most
Macrame patterns will tell you these
details. But to change the size of a
design, or to create Macrame projects
without written patterns, you need to
understand the math used in the
calculations.

This page
describes the step by step process I use
when creating my own designs. I'm not an
expert, but these calculations have
worked every time I've used them.

DO NOT cut
the cords until ALL the steps on
this page have been completed.

IMPORTANT:
A Macrame pattern will usually tell you the size
and type of material to use.

When changing to a different material, you
MUST re-calculate the cord measurements,
following the steps below.

This applies to any changes in the knots as well.
Consider any change to be a new design, and start
the measurements from the beginning.

There are three steps you need to make before
starting the calculations:

Step A:
Determine the Finished Length

Thisis the measurement of the completed
design from top
to bottom.

The length
of each cordis
determined by this size, so you need to
know the finished length before you
start the calculations.

Make sure
you include any fringe, if
applicable.

Step B:
Determine theFinished
Width

This is
the size of the completed
design when measuring from side
to side. The
number of cordsyou
cut are determined by this
measurement.

Step
C: Material Size

Knowing the diameter
of the cord materials you will use is a
very important part of determining cord
measurements.

The diameter is the width
of one cord, from edge to edge, usually
described in millimeters.

For standard Macrame designs, the most common
cord sizes are 4mm and 6mm.

Micro-Macrame (jewelry) features materials 2mm
or less.

See Macrame Cord
for information about various types of materials.

Number of Cords to Cut

Now it's time to work on the first step of cord
measurements, which is to determine the number
of cords to cut for your design.

Step 1: Write down the finished
width, in inches, of the main area of
the pattern, also called the
body. Remember
that this size determines the total number of
cords you need for the design.

Step 2: Determine how many
cords are needed to construct the knots you will
be using in the pattern.

So the total
number of cords needs to be a
multiple of four (8, 12, 16, etc.)

Step 3:
When using rings as part of the design, you need
to know how many cords each ring can
hold. You may add more cords (or more knots)
to cover a ring, but if you start with too many,
they will overlap and be uneven.

So you need to determine the circumferenceof
each ring, which is the measurement all the way
around.

Your cord measurements must take rings
into consideration, so make the following
calculations (in inches), before moving on:

Measure the diameter
of the ring, which is across the center,
from edge to edge.

Diameter
of Ringx 3.14 =Circumference

Important: When you use the chart in step
5, make sure you are not cutting too
many cords for the size rings you're using.

Step 4:
Another important part of determining cord
measurements is to know if the cords are folded
during the mounting process.

Larks Head
knots are the most common
knots used for mounting, and the cords are
folded in half
when you tie them.

By folding, you're doubling the amount of
cords available, since you are working with two
halves.

So if a knot requires 4 cords, you can use 2
folded cords, or 4 separate ones, depending on
the design.

Example:
In the image below, the two horizontal cords are
for the necklace. The vertical cords are for the
pendant, and they were folded in half as I
mounted them to the necklace cords.

By folding the 8 vertical
cords, there were a total of 16 cords
to work with.

The finished size was slightly less
than 1.5 inches wide, since I used 1mm
material (see chart below).

Step 5: Use this chart to
determine the number
of cordsto
cut for the Body
of your Macrame project:

Size
of Material

Folded

Not Folded

6mm

2 cords per inch

4 cords per inch

4mm

3 cords per inch

6 cords per inch

3mm

4 cords per inch

8 cords per inch

2mm

6 cords per inch

12 cords per inch

1mm

12 cords per inch

24 cords per inch

When using rings, remember that you can always
add more cords if necessary.

Make
sure you do not cut more than each ring can
hold (see step 3).

For knot patterns that require a specific number
of cords, increase or decrease the number of cords
as needed.

Step
6: Determine if there are any SEPARATE
holding cords, which
are not used as working cords in the
pattern.

Write these down, separate
from the main cords used for the body,
since the cord measurements for the
length will be different than the
others.

Step 7: Decide how many cords
you need to ADD,
such as to widen an area. Sometimes it's
better to start with a few cords and then add
new ones as you progress.

Write these down, separate from the others,
since they may be a different length than the
others.

Step 8: Some knot designs
require you to cut EXTRA
cords:

Write these down on your paper as well,
separate from the others.

Cord Length Calculations

To determine the length
of the cords used in the design, you
must first know the finished
length of the item (see step
A, near top of page).

Certain knots will change the cord
measurements, so be sure you know which
ones are used.

You should have several groups of cords written
down, such as those for the body, holding cords,
and extras.

Be sure
you make the calculations for all the groupsseparately.

IMPORTANT:
Filler cords are often cut shorter than working
cords in the older Macrame patterns.

I do not
recommend this, because you may need to
switch working and filler cords somewhere in the
pattern.

You
may have material left over at the end of the
project, but it's better than running out!

Step 9: Cutting
Lengths for theBody
(main area)

For designs that are loosely
knotted, with 1-inch of space
(or more) between the rows of knots:

Finished
Length x 3 = length of each cord

When making simple braids or weaving, you can
reduce the length of the cords slightly (Finished Length x
2.5).

For designs where the rows of knots are
close together:

Finished
Length x 4 = length of each cord.

DOUBLE
the lengthyou came
up with in the previous step, if the
cords are folded
at any point in the design.

You must add extra
length for any button
knots, picots, or
clasps.

In general, adding 10
inches per knot is a good
idea for projects that are complex, have
picot loops, or have button knots.

Step 10: Cutting
Lengths for Holding
Cords

Many patterns require holding cords, which are
usually not used to tie the knots.

When these cords function as working
cordsAT ANY TIME,
they are not considered part of this step.

Use the instructions for Step 1
instead.

Separate holding cords
are usually thefinished
length + at least 8 inches.

Double
the length if the cords are folded.

Step 11: Cutting
Lengths for Added
Cords

To widen an
area in a design, you sometimes need to
add cords.

In this image, extra cords were added to
make the body of the Shopping
Bag wider than the upper
edge of it. Some of these cords were
shorter than the original cords mounted,
since they were placed lower down, and
used to tie fewer knots.

Start by determining where
you will be adding the cords (top, middle or
bottom), since the cord measurements will be
different in each area:

If they are added near the starting
point (top), the cords should be the
same length as the primary cords for the body.

When adding close to the middle,
they should be 1/2
the size as the others.

For cords added near the bottom,
use 1/4 the
size of the primary cords.

Step 12: Cutting
Lengths for
Extra Cords

Cord measurements also include any extra cords
needed for specific knots, fringe, decorations,
wrapping rings, etc.