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Figure Eight Patterns

 
Vertical Figure Eight
< Vertical


Horizontal >
Horizontal

 
Description:  Figure Eight Patterns are sometimes used to create Celtic jewelry, Macrame belts, pet collars, and similar items. 

On this page are two designs where the Figure 8 knots create a sennit, which is a series of knots.  The knots are linked together either vertically or horizontally.

The 8 shape is a historical Celtic symbol representing unity, love, and eternity.  The cord twists and curves in both directions to form a woven design that can appear endless.


2018 Update: Only the two sennits are on this page. Both designs have been changed, so contact me if you need the original page.


 
Figure 8 Knots
 
The single knots are described on a new page called Figure Eight Knots.

Click on the link or image to practice those designs, too. 
 
 
 
 
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Figure Eight Patterns - Vertical

 
Vertical Sennit

 
Description:  This Figure Eight sennit features loops arranged in the typical 8 shape, which is vertical.  The knots are connected moving left to right.

This design was changed slightly when the page was updated.  The linkage for the back loops is the opposite of the front loops.  The sennit is now easier to keep flat and the loops don't kink as much.   I encourage you to use this new technique rather than the original.

You can tighten Figure Eight patterns so they are loose with open spaces, or close together as shown above.   Keep in mind that putting space between the knots will result in a design that will STRETCH.  The knots may change size after they are stretched.

Should you decide to double the sennit to make it thicker, you should construct it with both cords from the start.  Trying to add the second cord after you make the sennit is difficult.



Step 1:  To practice this design, you need one cord at least 45 inches long. 

The cord should be at least 10 x the finished length you wish to make if you are using 2mm - 3mm size material to create a Macrame project.

For wider material (4mm or more), cut the cord 12 x the finished length.

 

Loop 1

Secure one end of the cord to your board on your left.

Move the working end clockwise to make loop 1, passing it under the secured end at the crossing point.

Secure the crossing point.



Loop 2

Make loop 2 with the working end, rotating it to the right counter-clockwise. Pass it under the diagonal segment in the center of the Figure Eight knot at the crossing point.

Adjust the size of both loops so they are no more than 1-inch.  Secure the crossing point.



Designer's Tip:  You will have much better luck tightening both Figure Eight patterns if you start off with small loops.  They only need to be large enough for the working end to fit through. 

The next loop you make should be done in two steps, so you can remove any twists or kinks.  This applies to all the forward loops (odd numbered).



Thru Loop 1

Step 2:  Move the working end through loop 1 heading left, passing it under the area near the crook.

You can arrange it either diagonally or vertically.

Make sure you work out any twists or kinks before the next step.


 
Loop 3

Create loop 3 by moving the working end to the right, rotating clockwise.

Pass it over the right side of loop 1 and under at the crossing point.

Arrange it vertically, heading backward. 



Designer's Tip:  Each time you make a loop for Figure Eight patterns, you must CURVE the cord rather than fold it.   So the top surface of the cord should always be face up. 

Twists or kinks will occur if you turn the cord over, and the loops won't lie flat.  So take your time and carefully adjust the cord after each step.


 
Loop 4

Step 3:  Make loop 4 counter-clockwise, passing the working end through loop 2 over - under

Move it over the segment coming from the previous loop (crossing point).

 

Secured End

To stabilize the first Figure Eight knot, pass the SECURED end through loop 2.

Pass it over the crossing point and under the crook, heading backward.



 
Tighten 1

Step 4:  Tighten loop 1 by pulling on loop 2 near the crossing point.  The area is marked with an X in this image.

You can pull the secured end if you need a little extra material to make a loop at this end of the sennit.

 

Tighten 2

Tighten loop 2 by pulling on loop 3 in the area to the right of the first Figure Eight.  It's marked with an X in this image.

I recommend you make the first knot tighter than the rest, so the loops grip the secured end.



Adjust

Adjust the size of loops 3 and 4 and straighten them as much as possible. 

Tightening Figure Eight patterns takes time and patience.  In this design, the segments in the center should be close together.



Loop 5

Step 5:  Repeat step 2 to create loop 5, linking it to loop 3.

Remember to use the two-step process so you can remove any kinks before completing the loop. 



Tighten 3

Tighten loop 3 by pulling on loop 4 in the area marked with an X in this image.

Loop 3 can be slightly larger than the first Figure Eight, or the same size.



Designer's Tip:  Figure Eight patterns should be tightened as you create new loops.  In this design, you tighten the loop the new one is linked to.

When you tighten, pull on the loop you made in the previous step. It will become larger, which tells you the next loop you make will be linked with it.

Another option is to make BOTH loops of a new Figure Eight knot, then tighten the previous knot.



Loop 6

Step 6:  Repeat step 3 to create loop 6, linking it to loop 4.

Remember to pass it through loop 4 over - under, then over at the crossing point.



Tighten 4

Tighten loop 4 by pulling on loop 5. 

Reduce the size and balance loops 5 and 6.



Repeat

Step 7:  Repeat steps 5 and 6 (or 2 and 3) several times, until the sennit is the size you need.

Figure Eight Patterns look better if the knots are the same size, so carefully tighten each loop as you progress. 



Finish

To finish the sennit, pass the working end through the loop directly across from it, similar to what you did in step 3.   

You can tighten the last Figure Eight knot the same as the others, or make it smaller so it grips the working end.




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Figure Eight Patterns - Horizontal


Horizontal
 

Description:  The horizontal Figure Eight sennit features linked knots arranged left to right.  It's more slender than the vertical design. Make it with both cords from the start if you decide to double it.

Like other Figure Eight patterns, the sennit can be tightened completely or with open spaces.  It will stretch, but not as much as the vertical design.

You can use this design for a belt or bracelet, tying the ends together to close it.   You can also form a loop closure, which is described in the instructions.

 

Step 1:  You need one cord at least 36 inches long to practice this design. 

For a Macrame project, the cord should be 4 x the finished length you wish to make.  Increase the length if you plan to tie the ends together for a closure, or if the material is more than 4mm wide.

 

 
Loop 1

Secure one end of the cord to your board on the left.

Make loop 1 in a clockwise direction, passing the working end under the secured end.

Adjust the loop so the TAIL is 2 inches or longer, depending on how you plan to use it. 



Designer's Tip:  The tail should be at least 5 inches long if you are using it for a bracelet closure where you tie the ends together. Make the tail 2 inches for a loop closure.

Increase the length to 8 inches or more if you are making a belt with a tie closure, or 2 inches for a loop closure.


 
Loop 2

To make loop 2, rotate the working end counter-clockwise, passing it over the secured tail.

Make sure both loops are flat without twisting or kinks.  The most likely place for that to happen is near the crossing point.



Designer's Tip:  Since you rotate in both directions to make Figure Eight patterns, you MUST take the time to eliminate unwanted twists and kinks.

This occurs most often with material that has a flat profile, like the Paracord shown.

The top surface of the cord should always be face up, with the bottom surface touching the board.

 

Loop 1

Step 2:  Move the working end under both parts of loop 1, heading left to right diagonally.



Loop 3

Step 3: Make loop 3 to the right of loop 1, rotating clockwise. 

Pass the working end under at the crossing point.



Link

Step 4:  Rotate the working end counter-clockwise to start loop 4.

Link it to loop 1 by passing it over - under - over the three segments. 



Tighten

Pull loop 2 to tighten loop 1.  Then pull loop 3 to tighten loop 2. 

Another option is to tighten loop 1 by pulling the tail. Keep in mind this will increase the length of it.

Adjust the size of loops 3 and 4.



Designer's Tip:  Figure Eight patterns should always be tightened the same amount all the way through the sennit. 

Make the loops as small as you can, but still have room to make the link.  Usually 1/2-inch to 1-inch is a good size.



Repeat 2

Step 5:  Repeat step 2, passing the working end under loop 3.



Repeat 3

Step 6:  Repeat step 3 to create loop 5.

 
 
Repeat 4

Step 7:  Repeat step 4 to create loop 6 and link it to loop 3.



Tighten

Tighten loops 3 and 4 (second knot).

Try to make it the same size as the first Figure Eight Knot.

 

Repeat

Repeat steps 2 - 4 several times, until the sennit is the size you want.

When you make Figure Eight patterns, try to keep the edges straight.  You can use masking tape at each edge and line up the knots against it.



Finish

Step 8:  When you tie the last knot (both loops), pass the working end through it under - over

Then tighten the last knot.



Step 9:  This step is optional.

It shows you how to use the first loop and the working end to make a clasp.



Tail

Turn the sennit upside down.

Pass the TAIL under one segment of the cord in the back of the sennit.

Secure it with glue and cut off the excess.



Loop 2

The loop used for the clasp is loop 2, which is the one the tail passed through.

Pull to enlarge it if you need to do so.  It should only be large enough to pass a small knot through.



Clasp

To secure the clasp, you simply pass the working end through the loop.



Knot

Tie a small knot with the working end and use glue to discourage loosening. 

This image shows a simple Overhand Knot.

Make sure the knot can fit through the loop, then cut off the excess material.






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