How to measure rope for macrame

Blog, Tips and Advice

If you have the macrame bug and are finding yourself wanting to try lots of new macrame projects, you are probably going to want to speed up the process of measuring and cutting rope. Whether your following a pattern or just free styling a project, you will likely need to be measuring a few meters at a time and you may not even have a meter long ruler. So I am sharing with you how I measure rope quickly and easily every time without needing to reach for a ruler or measuring tape with every cut.

If you are freestyling a project and are looking for advice on how to estimate how much rope you need for these projects, this is another topic I can share some tips and advice that I have picked up along the way with you in a separate post/video.

Using body measures

Using body measures is a great way to measure a lot of rope quickly. You only need to measure it once, maybe a couple of times if you really want to be sure and then rest assured that measurement will be the same everytime you use that body measure.

So what do I mean by body measure, well my Mum’s advice from when she was a tailoress was to measure the length from her extended arm to her nose. Be creative and work with a measure that is easy for you to keep the maths simple.

I am lucky that the measure I use from my fingers to my opposite shoulder, arm fully extended measures exactly 1m (39.3 inches). This is a great round measure as I can fold in half to get 50cm or again for 25cm and do all kinds of simple combinations for common lengths that I measure for projects.

You could try some of these body length measures:

  • Arm extended, fingers to first shoulder
  • Arm extended, fingers to opposite shoulder
  • Arm extended, fingers to the centre of your collar bone
  • Arm extended, fingers to your nose (my mum always turned her head away – maybe it will add a few extra centimetres to make a nice round number for you)
  • Both arms fully extended, I’ve not tried this myself as my limbs are quite long and I think this would measure too much for me. But give it a try if the others are not working out for you.

The best thing is that once you measure these up with a measuring tape once – the length is unlikely to change at all if you are using the same technique every time. It took me a while to trust it with repeat measuring and my workshop and school class students have tested me on it before. It works for me every time.

I’d love to know what you think if you give it a try. Let me know if you have any other suggestions or have any other questions about measuring rope that you would like answered that I could cover in another tips and advice video.