Thoughts of Design Inspiration

Rope – Hemp and Macrame Inspirations

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Worming, parceling, serving

Worming, parceling, serving

So, yes, there is the movie “Rope” by Alfred Hitchcock with James Stewart…but I’m not talking about that. I recently visited the Coast Guard ship Eagle while it was in New Hampshire (ship is 65 feet or more, so don’t call it a “boat” like I did!). She was built as a training vessel for the German Navy as SNF Horst Wessel and was awarded to the United States as reparations following WWII. Today it serves as a training vessel for cadets and officer candidates.

While on board of the Eagle I took notice of the usage of rope, it is used everywhere –  there are knots, rugs, pulleys, steps, mops! You have all heard of macrame, but did you know that rope is used to protect line using the methods of worming, parceling, and serving?  These terms sure sound interesting – I had no idea what they meant. I saw this little demonstration on the ship of how to use these methods with rope and got really interested. Yes, tar is used. And this whole approach is really practical. Here are the concepts:

The eagle flag staff

I believe this is the staff at the stern. It sure looks like a lot of tar was used on the rope.

Worming consists of following the lay of the line between the strands with tarred small stuff.  This keeps moisture from penetrating to the interior of the line and at the same time fills out the round of line, giving a smooth surface for the parceling and serving.

Parceling consists of wrapping the line spirally with long strips of canvas, following the lay of the line overlapping like the shingles on a roof, to shed moisture.

Serving consists of wrapping small stuff snugly over the parceling, each turn being hove as taut as possible so that the procedure makes a stiff protecting cover for the line.

With my jewelry work I have tried knotting hemp before, but now I really got interested in it. I found out that you can get it in all different colors and there are really so many techniques that can be used.  The standard macrame with combining beads is the one I started with (see picture).

Macrame tassel pendant

My attempt – it has macrame with small cat’s eye beads with a large aventurine and wood bead.

I ended up with a pretty nice little combination of beads and macrame that you can make into a tassel necklace.  This is definitely worth exploring, the options are limitless with how you can combine different materials. You can also learn other ways of knotting and end up with something like the blue one below that probably took at least 500 knots and many hours to make. Anyway, I now have the hemp in four colors in addition to the natural one and I can keep experimenting!


Yes, it’s a hemp-mote…a remote made out of hemp…


A macrame anklet – I like the colors and the knotting technique is really interesting.

micro macrame pendant

Micro macrame pendant with lots of knots!

Coast Guard Cutter Eagle

You could try climbing up these rope steps on the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle – while sailing!


Author: evadesignseditor

Blue Finn Studio (previously Evä Designs) is my creative studio where I design jewelry and other accessories. I am now back living in Philadelphia after several years finding inspirations at coastal Maine. Please visit my website at!

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