How to Macrame a Clew Knot

Written by amy reynolds
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How to Macrame a Clew Knot
Clew knots are often used on both ends of a hammock. (hamac image by philippev from

The clew knot is a decorative design based on an old mariner's knot of the same name. This style of knot gathers the cords in and then spreads them out again. Tightening by pulling makes the knot particularly suited to hammock construction. It is used in the triangular section, usually attached to a rod after tying the knot, placed on both ends with the body of the hammock between.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 36 feet of macrame cord
  • 6-inch ring or 12-inch rod
  • Masking tape
  • Pen

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  1. 1

    Cut six cords of equal length. A pattern for a specific project indicates the length needed. For practice, six cords, each 6 feet long, are suitable for learning.

    How to Macrame a Clew Knot
    Cord comes in many colours and styles. (rope #2 image by turkinson from
  2. 2

    Attach each cord to a ring or dowel rod by using a lark's head knot. Make this knot by folding the cord one cord in half. Place the loop end over the ring or rod. Push the two loose ends of the cord through the loop, under the ring or rod and pull tight. Repeat for the remaining five cords, keeping them all looped in the same direction and side by side.

  3. 3

    Label the ends, 12 loose ends, by numbers "1" through "12." Masking tape with the numbers written on small pieces helps keep track of the cord number, or mentally number and remember each cord. Number the cords from left to right, "1" through "12."

  4. 4

    Take the number "1" cord on the left,, and weave it under even numbered cords and over odd numbered cords. Secure the "1" cord off to the right after weaving through all eleven cords. Masking tape holds it in place and out of your way to continue with the other rows.

  5. 5

    Grab cord "12" and weave it under odd numbered cords and over even numbered cords. Secure the number "12" cord to the left side, as you did the first cord to the right. Once the cord is wove, it is no longer in use.

  6. 6

    Start cord "2" by weaving over cord number "3," under "4," --over odd numbered cords and under even--through remaining cords and secure. Cord "11" is wove over "10," under "9," over "8"--continue and secure. The first two rows start with going weaving under the one beside it, rows three and four by going over. Rows five and six start by going under the cord beside, seven and eight by going over--alternating every two rows until finished.

  7. 7

    Follow the pattern for cords "3" through "10," securing at the side after wove, until all cords are used. Tighten the clew knot by gradually pulling on each end.

Tips and warnings

  • Pratice tying the knot before using in a project.

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