You may have met #AerieREAL Changemaker Katie Howland and know all about her inspiring humanitarian efforts. But did you know she has a bustling creative side too? We caught up with Katie to learn how to craft handmade macramé coasters that can work as the perfect gift for anyone in your life! 

She breaks down what exactly macramé coasters are and what she loves about crafting, alongside a step-by-step guide on making the artsy pieces yourself. Read on below to learn more and get started with your own macramé session at home!  

What are macramé coasters? 

Macramé is a textile created by knotting! The artform actually goes all the way back to ancient Babylonia and Assyria in modern-day Iraq. It’s had several resurgences, from Victorian lace to 1970s wall hangings. A third resurgence is happening right now because it’s a fun, cheap, and simple way to create anything from plant holders to coasters for your home. Macramé coasters are my favorite craft because you can create one in a single evening while binge watching your favorite show on Netflix (hello, Schitt’s Creek!). 

What do you love most about crafting? 

I actually began crafting during a really hard time in my life. My mental health was really poor, and I needed an outlet. Crafting keeps my mind occupied and gives me a sense of accomplishment every time I create something with my own two hands. Plus, you can create some beautiful items out of repurposed material. My favorite macramé cord is a 100% recycled brand called Bobbiny, which I buy from an amazing small business called All Yarn Drive on Etsy. 

“Crafting keeps my mind occupied and gives me a sense of accomplishment every time I create something with my own two hands.”

Katie howland

How do you prioritize activities that you enjoy, like crafting, while working in the humanitarian field? 

Work-life balance is incredibly important to me. I set strict work hours for myself and try my best to do something creative at least every other day. That could be anything from learning to crochet  to coloring in my Joe Biden coloring book — but I’ve found that my creative time is crucial to my overall happiness and well-being. This is especially important for people working in the humanitarian field or other high stress jobs that can be emotionally taxing. 

If you could gift anyone in the world your handmade macramé coaster, who would it be? 

If I can include dead people, definitely Frida Kahlo. She was an incredible force of nature — an outspoken, disabled, bisexual, politically-active feminist just like me! She was so dedicated to her art that she painted canvases hung above her head while bedridden on her back. 

Macramé Coaster Supplies:

• 3mm single-strand macramé cord – I recommend Bobbiny brand from All Yarn Drive 

• Sharp scissors 

• Tacky glue 

• Comb 

Directions:

Step 1: Cut five pieces of cord the length of your outstretched arm (fingertips to the inside of shoulder). Cut a sixth piece of cord that is slightly shorter than the length of both of your outstretched arms (from your left fingertips to your right elbow). 

Step 2: Create a loop with the longer cord (we’ll call this the working cord), roughly the size of a coffee mug.

Step 3: Using each of your 5 shorter cords, create a reverse lark’s head knot (see pictures) on the loop. 

Step 4: Pull the longer end of your working cord to create a tight circle. This will be the center of your coaster. Ignore the small tail from your working cord – this will be cut and glued to the back of your coaster later. Spread your shorter cords out in a circle. 

Step 5: Cross your working cord over the first cord to its right.

Step 6: Make a number four with the cord that is now on the left over your holding cord and pull the end through the loop of the four. Repeat using the same cords. This is called a double half hitch knot. 

Step 7: Move your holding cord to the right of the next cord and repeat step #6.

Step 8: After a few knots, you may notice a gap between your double half hitch knots. To close the gap, add an additional short cord to your holding cord by making a reverse lark’s head knot (the same as step #3). Anytime you see a gap between your double half hitch knots from now on, add an additional cord to bridge the gap.

Step 9: When you reach the end of your first spiral, you will notice a gap where your tail is (from step #4). Cut this tail to one inch long, fold behind the coaster, and glue down using Tacky Glue. 

Step 10: Complete 6-8 spirals, depending on the desired size of your coaster. Once you have completed your spirals, cut your holding cord, leaving one inch. Fold the remaining piece onto the backside of your coaster and glue down using Tacky Glue. 

Step 11: Now the fun part – fringe! Cut all of the remaining cords down to ~1 inch in length. Then, using a comb, brush out the cords until they make a fringe. Use your scissors to make your fringe the desired length and shape – this make take a little time, so be patient! 

Congrats, you did it! Grab your favorite beverage and enjoy your first macramé coaster! 

Will you be giving the macramé coasters a try, Aerie fam? Let us know which ones are your favorite colors in the comments!

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