I have been asked to tell you a bit about Italian Macramé Fringes for things like towels, placemats, tablecloths and other household furnishings. North Americans tend to think nostalgically to the 1970s and hemp macraméd plant holders and the like but in Italy, Macramé is still very much alive in the textile arts and in use frequently.
I showed you some summer Macramé purses that I saw in a shop window in Cesena and we talked about tassels and Macramé here and here.
What I saw most often in Italy however were Macramé Fringes of both the simpliest and the most elaborate combinations, all making the finishing touch on very attractive pieces.
In the Collezioni Comunali d’Arte Museum in Bologna there are several exquisite Macramé Fringe samples.
Here are a couple of my photos which turned out, there were many others but alas, my photographs are terrible! These Macramé Fringes are very small and delicate.
Here is an example of Macramé Fringe from the Poldi Pezzoli Museum in Milan:
An excellent book on Macramé Fringes with text in Italian and English is Macramé in Toscana by Cristina Notore:
It has many clear colour diagrams and lots of full colour photos of magnificent Macramé Fringes.
Macramé Fringes are worked on pillows, held either in the lap or on a tabletop, covered in striped or gingham fabric to be used to keep the knots lined up all the way across and evenly spaced. Large-headed pins keep the work securely fastened to the pillow. Materials used can be the warp threads of the actual furnishing you are making the Macramé Fringe for, Pearl Cotton, Cotone Povero or just about anything you like. A crochet hook helps with the pulling through of threads.
Here Liliana Babbi Cappelletti demonstrates on a Macramé pillow made of upholstery foam of her own design:
Special thanks to Stefania for the photo from the Poldi Pezzoli Museum!