Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Being Home & Margaretenspitze

At home in the grass -  "Earthing"

There's No Place Like Home

It’s been a long time since I posted anything in my blog. It’s one of those things that started out enthusiastically then my enthusiasm soon fizzled. What can I say? It seems that in these modern times there are so many things that compete for one’s attention.
For me my #1 joy is making things but there are other things to do such as Facebook and other online distractions (too much time spent here), walking, gardening, cooking, strumming my ukulele, playing mah-jong or having lunch with a friend, watching TV and movies, hanging with my honey, paying due homage and adoration to my cats, and the list goes on…… (notice that cleaning the house was not on my list!)

I don’t think that I’m busier than anyone else, in fact I’m in awe of people who have children and day jobs and still seem to get so much accomplished. I’m in awe of organized, disciplined people because I’m not one of them. So, this is why the blog gets short shrift.

But, I have good news (for myself anyway) that might free up some time. I’ve decided to discontinue going on the road to teach. Never say never, but I think I’m done with it. This is not a reflection on my students who have been without exception (well maybe 1 or 2 out of hundreds) super nice creative women who I’ve enjoyed hanging out with.
Teaching has been a great job but like anything it has it’s drawbacks. For me it was the huge amounts of time that I’d spend preparing for classes which crowded out all other aspects of my creative life. And the fact that my body just doesn’t adjust well to jet lag, changing time zones, variable barimetric pressures, strange beds, earplugs, lack of sleep, strange foods, you get the picture. In short, if you took one of my classes and I seemed a little spacey, it was probably because I had a massive headache. My friend Jennifer is a traveling teacher with a much busier schedule than I ever had and she seems to thrive on it. But me… not so much.

Margaretenspitze Necklace by Joan Babcock

Ahh....Margaretenspitze

So now that I’m home and have more time, what has caught my interest of late? A kind of fine knotting called Margaretenspitze. (I am not only trying to learn how to do it, I’m also trying to learn how to say it!) I’ve actually been aware of this technique for a while now and have used bits & pieces in my work, but I’m seeing more and more examples of it lately on the internet and they are really beautiful! It seems to be especially popular in Italy and since I’m taking a trip there in October (so excited!), I’m interested in seeing what the Italians are doing with macramé these days.


Originated in Germany by Margarete Naumann (1881-1946), it is a technique both fascinating and challenging. It consists primarily of Half Hitches and Double Half Hitches. The cords are carried along in bundles and dispersed into various patterns. I’m new at doing the more complex patterns so everything is trial and error and takes a long long time. I've taken out almost as many knots as I’ve put in! No doubt, having decades of knotting experience has given me an advantage, but I do think that any dedicated student could learn this technique.
Margaretenspitze Necklace by Joan Babcock

Here are a few of the resources I’ve come across that may pique your interest:

I don’t yet own Adriana Lazarri’s book, Il Pizzo Margaret, but I’m sure that I will eventually! If you’ve seen any samples from this book you’ll know why - her work is amazing!  http://www.ilmiomacrame.com/site/il-pizzo-margarete-di-adriana-lazzari/  It can be ordered from this site - http://www.tombolodisegni.it/  Click on the sub-heading “Libri Macramé” and scroll down. Adriana also has some YouTube videos on the basics.

I also recommend the two (free) classes by Sabrina Salvioli on www.craftartedu.com  They’re good for beginners and I really enjoyed them. http://craftartedu.com/introducing-margaretenspitze-sabrina-salvioli
You can see more of Sabrina’s beautiful work (and practice understanding Italian) on her blog http://macramemodena.blogspot.com/

Joan Hinchcliff has a Margaretenspitze Pinterest Page that’s full of beautiful examples - https://www.pinterest.com/trinkets10/margaretenspitze/  I haven’t followed all of the leads on this page (there are many) but it did lead me to this great website - http://www.margaretenspitze.de/  which has information (in English) about Margarete Naumann (for which the technique is named) and Lotte Heinemann who has carried on her work.

There’s so much more out there about this beautiful technique - I’m looking forward to further explorations!




3 comments:

  1. Hi Joan,
    Great job! Well done!
    PS: Don't forget Patrizia Paris! http://www.macramandoilmacrame.it/ She's Italian as well, hailing from the Trentino region, and is a master of Margaretenspitze. She has published some beautiful books too. You can find her on Facebook and on Flickr too.

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  2. Looking at your two Margaretenspitze necklaces, it appears that you are already a master. WOW! You have created such beautiful shapes. Are you using the same nylon macrame cord as always? What about ending the cords? Same method as you teach? I am sooooooooo in line with you about teaching, or rather not teaching. It's difficult for me to say no, especially when the group appeals to me and the location can be reached by ferry and car. No more airplane gigs, however. That's for sure!

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  3. I was so surprised when I came to the end of your post and saw my Margaretenspitze Pinterest page listed! It has been a long time since I started that page so hopefully most links are still valid. I love all of your work and even though my creativity has moved away from macrame at the moment I know I will come back to it in the future.

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