macrame braid

The Witches’ Web

It’s no secret, I have a strong connection to spiders, and as such, find myself working with strings, thread and yarn often. Knitting, braiding, macrame – it’s something I get from my grandfather, I imagine, who had countless books on knots and his own penchant for cordage. Of course, his stemmed from being bedridden with a broken back in his formative years. I was lucky enough to pick up the hobby without being confined.

This particular project came out of the blue. One day, having yarn and a large portrait frame at my disposal (with nails jutting from the back in disarray), I wove myself a web – it was messy, but in time, I found myself repeating the process again and again: without reason. I would simply hang them or stow them away for lack of any use. It was only after a time that I discovered their many uses.

Foremost, they work well as snares for any unsavory spirits, especially when protective charms are woven or placed within them. Feathers, chicken feet, and bones all hold very well, but you can also add in ribbons, strings, beads, whatever works for you. Alternately, they can be used in works of control and binding, imparting subtle or aggressive influence on a situation or individual. Such can be done by fastening a photos and/or personal affects/concerns into the web. Lastly, and my favorite use, is that there is an innate interconnectedness and within can be found the manifestations of one’s destiny. It isn’t necessarily an art that I can describe, but with patience, you may be able to attune to what the web can show you. Trace the strands and follow.

Things You Will Need

  • Framethis can really be anything; I’ve used picture frames, embroidery hoops, wreaths, willow rings, though I have found that sturdier, even frames make for a tighter, more uniform web; square or round, either work
  • Cordageyarn, twine, thread (though I recommend using cotton, as synthetic is usually too slick to hold with friction), embroidery floss (my personal favorite), etc.
  • Optional: trinkets, curios, charms, etc.

Instructions

  1. Secure some anchor strands to the frame. The number doesn’t matter, though the more you use the more intricate the pattern (but the longer and more complicated the process). These strands should extend the diameter and meet at a central point: the first strand is simply secured on both sides, and the subsequent should be looped around the central point so as to have a concrete point to work out from.
  2. Next, cut a long strand. To get an estimate for how long it needs to be, simply wind it over the top of the strands in a spiral of roughly the shame size as you wish to create. You don’t lose much in the process, so there’s no need to allot excess EXCEPT that you’re going to need to anchor the final strand to the frame, as well. Better to have too much than too little. 
  3. You will then need to anchor the thread through the center. My preferred method (when using embroidery floss or yarn) is to thread the cord onto a needle (as you would when embroidering – i.e. no need to double it up) and knot the end. Bring this through the center (carefully, to check to make sure the knot catches) and then move out along one the the strands and make another securing knot. This is where you will begin, so go out only so far as you wish the smallest point of the spiral to be. This will vary based on the size of the web you’re weaving.
  4. Remove the needle (you could keep it on, but I find it just gets in the way of things) and move the string over the next strand, then bring it around and under the same anchor. Continue this process, spiraling outward. It can take some time to get the hang of it, and don’t fret if as you go the more central strands develop some slack, as once you’re finished, the threads can be spaced out. It is important, however, to continue the spiral in the same trajectory, even when the strands gravitate toward the center. If you compensate, you’ll wind up with a loose weave. Just continue to follow the growing spiral.
  5. Once you’ve made it to the edge, fasten the strand over the top of the nearest anchor, and you’re done! Voila!

photo: this is just a small (somewhat messy) one I made today, as my others are still packed away, though if you really have literally nothing to do, I’m sure you could find a picture of my giant one in my archive

Take off your damn shoes, You filthy heathens! …if you would be so kind.
~did the wood burning and macrame braiding for this sign!~
*peacock feathers are dangling from the bottom*