The art of macrame — tying knots to make artful and functional things — is making a comeback in the Pikes Peak region, especially with more people home during the pandemic. A quick search on Google leads to 72 million macrame results.
Janel Rogers, owner of Red Earth Knots in Colorado Springs, teaches classes on macrame and other arts including holiday ornament decoration.
During a recent class held at Rick’s Garden Center (1827 W. Uintah St.) Rogers walked eight masked and socially distant students through creating a boho-style plant hanger. The craft was easy to learn thanks to Rogers’ laid-back style and specific instructions. After teaching students a new knot, she walked through the class providing individual help.
Macrame is knot tying with yarn, jute or leather. The knots create the form. Whereas knitting and crocheting often involve the use of specialized tools, to macrame you only need a place to hang the creation or tabletop to work.
The craft of macrame is thought to have started in Arabian countries or in China where crafters created tapestries, rugs, and shawls.
“I’ve been doing fiber arts forever. I learned to knit and crochet when I was a teenager, but those projects take a long time to complete. I don’t have a lot of patience,” Rogers said. “I taught myself, bought patterns and love it because you can finish a project in a couple of hours.”
After getting to know the organizer of a crafting class prior to the pandemic, Rogers was asked to teach a class. Before that, she had never thought of herself as a teacher.
“I enjoy it so much I can teach this everywhere,” she said. In fact, Rogers teaches at breweries, boutiques and other garden centers. Each workshop has a different feel. For example, the recent class at Rick’s was relaxed in the garden setting, and Rogers served cookies. At a future class, she intends to serve wine and charcuterie.
During the class, Rogers taught two knots. Six identical cotton ropes were hung from a ring attached to the ceiling. Students learned to connect them using a Lark’s Head or Cow Hitch knot.
“There’s no right or wrong,” Rogers told students as they began the project.
The recycled cotton rope used in her classes is very soft. “I order this rope online at www.ganxxet.com, a woman-owned business in Florida,” she said, noting Hobby Lobby has a macrame section in its stores.
The crafting craze is catching on around town. Visit Colorado Springs is hosting a Crafts and Draft program, but here the “craft” refers to specialty alcoholic beverages. For more information, see crafts.visitcos.com/checkout/72/visit-colorado-springs-convention-visitors-bureau/1128/crafts-drafts.
Rogers sells some of her creations and advertises classes on Etsy, an e-commerce site focused on handmade, vintage or craft supplies and products. This is a great site to shop for goods from local crafters and artists who are just starting their business and cannot yet afford a brick and mortar store. See her storefront at etsy.com/shop/RedEarthKnots.
The macrame of our grandmothers has changed over time. The knots are still the same, but project ideas have expanded to belts, jewelry, chairs, keychains and drink coasters. “I’m usually busy with the workshops, but I sell a DIY kit,” she said.
Of the many classes Rogers teaches, she says, “This is my stress reliever.” The students in the class at Rick’s all said they could take up macrame minimize tension because it is calming.
Rogers teaches at Rick’s Garden Center the second Sunday of the month. The center features other craftsmen and gardening classes. For information on all their events see ricksgarden.com/events/.
On the second Wednesday of every month she teaches at The Living Room (22 E. Rio Grande St.). To see a full list of classes and to register, see their Facebook page, facebook.com/thelivingroomplants.
The Local Honey Collective, (9 E. Bijou St.) will host Rogers for a Boho Christmas Ornaments class on Thursday, Nov. 19. For a full list of holiday merchandise and events see their events page on Facebook, facebook.com/thelocalhoneyco/.
Similarly, on Sunday, Nov. 22, Rogers will teach a round glass Christmas ornament class at Metric Brewing (1213 N. Circle Drive). They hold crafting classes and trivia nights. See facebook.com/metricbrews/.
“I’ll probably do a virtual workshop in December for the ornament classes,” she said. “I had a lot of interest for people who can’t go to the workshop or aren’t local.”
Although it is already sold out, Rogers on Saturday will partner with Gather Food Studio (2011 W. Colorado Ave.) to teach a macrame air plant accent class during the “Gettin’ Knotty” bread baking class. Students will be making Kanelbullar, a Swedish cinnamon bun. While students wait for the bread to rise, Rogers will teach them macrame.
For tickets to any of these events, head to Rogers’ Facebook page, facebook.com/pg/redearthknots/events/?ref=page_internal. You can also find her on Instagram at @redearthknots.
“You leave with a sense of accomplishment, you made something,” Rogers said.