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Square Knot

Square Knot

The Square knot (SK) is the most important decorative knot used in Macrame.  There are many variations and patterns that can be made using this knot alone, or in combination with other types of Macrame knots.

Beginners should practice all the variations listed in the Learn Macrame section.

This knot can be used to make sennits, which means to tie one right after the next in a chain.  See Square Knot Sennits for examples.

You can also tie them in horizontal rows with straight or diagonal edges.  See the pages below for more details.


This image shows the "head" of the knot, which can face either right or left. 

The working cord you move first will determine the direction.

The instructions for both are shown below.

Designer's Tip:  Both left and right SK occur often in Macrame patterns, usually to make both sides of a design symmetrical.

Beginners should practice them in both directions several times

Switch knot

The Switch knot is also described on this page. 

It is made by swapping working and filler cords each time a new knot is tied.


Left SK

Left SK

To practice Square Knots, you need two folded cords secured to a project board, so you have four to work with.  Mentally number them 1 - 4.

The working cords are 1 and 4.  The fillers are cords 2 - 3.

Step 1

Step 1: Move working cord 1 over filler cords 2 and 3, heading right.

Pass it under the working cord 4.

Since the left working cord is moved first, the head of this knot will face left.

Step 2

Step 2: Move working cord 4 to the left, passing it under the two filler cords and over working cord 1.

Pull on both working cords to tighten the knot, while holding the filler cords steady.


Designer's Tip:  The first half of a Square Knot, which you just tied, is sometimes called a Half Knot, especially in vintage patterns. 

It's used when making the Spiral Stitch, which is another basic Macrame knot you should practice.

Step 3

Step 3:  The two working cord have switched places.

Move working cord 1 to the left, passing it over the fillers and under working cord 4.

Step 4

Step 4:  Move working cord 4 to the right, passing under the fillers and over cord 1.


Step 5:  Tighten the left SK by pulling on the working cords, while holding the fillers steady.


Right SK

Right SK

The tying process for the Right Square Knot is the exact opposite of the Left SK described above.

It's sometimes called a Reverse Square Knot, especially in vintage patterns.  

Step 1

Step 1:  Move working cord 4 to the left, passing over filler cords 2 - 3, and under working cord 1.

The head of the SK will face right, because the first working cord moved is on the right.

Step 2

Step 2: Move working cord 1 to the right, passing it under the fillers, and over working cord 4.

Pull both ends to tighten the first half of the knot, while holding the fillers steady.

Step 3

Step 3: The two working cords have switched places.

Move working cord 4 to the right, over the fillers and under working cord 1.

Step 4

Step 4:  Move working cord 1 to the left, passing it under the fillers and over cord 4.


Step 5:  Hold the fillers steady while pulling both working cords, to tighten the right SK.


Switch knot

Switch Knot

This Square Knot pattern is made by switching the fillers and working cords each time you make a new knot.

It's important to leave enough space between the knots so you can see the crisscrossed cords clearly.

The Handcrafted Planter is a Macrame project using this technique.

You will need four cords to practice the Switch knot.  It helps if you use two colors.

Arrange them so two cords of the same color are together, with the other two on either side, as shown in the instructions below.

Left SK

Step 1:  Mentally number the four cords.

Tie a LEFT SK with cords 1 and 4, as described in the instructions above.


Step 2: Separate cords 2 and 3 (fillers).

Bring working cords 1 and 4 over them, so they rest between the two cords.

The next SK is tied with cords 2 and 3, and the fillers are cords 1 and 4 (switched).

Right SK

Step 3:  Tie a RIGHT SK, using the cords in their new arrangement. 

Tighten the knot so it rests at least 1-inch below the first SK.

Designer's Tip:  In most Macrame patterns, you won't be told which direction the knots should face.  It will be up to you to decide if you want to alternate with left and right SK.

Make sure the distance between the knots is the same all the way down the length of the sennit.


Step 4:  Move cords 2 - 3 over and between cords 1 and 4, to be used as the next fillers.

Tie a LEFT SK with cords 1 and 4.

To continue, repeat steps 2 - 4.

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