"Macramé" is an Arabic word meaning, "fringe." It is derived from the early
practice of knotting a fringe to a solid fabric in a continuation of knotted
patterns. Eventually entire pieces of knotted fabrics were created with a texture
that was perfect for altar cloths, church vestments, and doilies.
The early history of Macramé is a bit vague. There is some documentation which
indicates that Macramé was done in France and Italy in the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries. France has produced a large amount of Macramé, and historical
data shows that it was considered to be an established art.
Macramé was then quite popular in the nineteenth century among British and North
American sailors who spent their long hours aboard ships tying square knots and
hitch knots. Sailors made fringes for wheel and bell covers, as well as netting
and screens. Many of these knotted articles were then used for barter in India