Four months ago Abigail Coop makes her first ever plant hanger out of woolen yarn; a gift for her mother. What started as an experiment now has evolved into a small business. And the talented macramé maker is ready to take it to the next step.
Fingers cannot resist touching. A brief squeeze between thumb and index gives temporary relief. The bright yarn is just as soft, thick, and squishy as imagined. That’s how fairy dreadlocks must feel.
24-year-old Abigail Coop from Bury artistically knots these giant strings of bright woolen candy floss to large plant hangers. Her small business is called Woolmeknot and she sells her macramé pieces via Instagram and at The Makers Market in the Northern Quarter.
Every second Sunday of the month Abigail displays mango orange, bubblegum pink, charcoal grey and sheep white plant hangers on her stall at Stevenson Square and decorates them with translucent ball vases and fresh flowers. The bold coloured and thick woolen yarn not only sets them apart from ordinary macramé – the material also draws all sorts customers to the stall. „I am always surprised how many men are attracted by them. A lot of lads walk by and say: Oh, that’s nice … very unexpected,“ Abigail says and laughs.
Macramé is an Arabian weaving technique that dates back to the 13th century. This March Abigail tries it out for the first time. „I made a hanger for my mum“, she recalls. When she posted a picture of it on Instagram, the feedback was overwhelming. „People commented and asked me to make one for them.“ That’s how the experiment started to develop into a business.
„I am a hands-on person. I like the idea of creating your own fabric. It’s good to have control over what you are making. That’s why I picked knitting“
Wool is Abigail’s favorite material. After an art foundation at Manchester Met she begins studying fashion with a focus on knitwear in Nottingham. Although she can’t knit at that point. „I am a hands-on person. I like the idea of creating your own fabric. It’s good to have control over what you are making. That’s why I picked knitting“, she explains.
Last year Abigail finishes uni; her final collection – a strong focus on white and thick wool – makes it to the national round of the Graduate Fashion Week in London. At the moment she works as a Designer for men’s knitwear in Salford – a rather theoretical job. Abigail creates designs with a software and then sends them to the factories. Woolmeknot therefore is not only a source of additional income – it’s also a compensation to her computer-based full-time job. „I wanted to be crafty again; I’ve missed making,“ she says. „It’s very therapeutic.“
Depending on the style, it takes Abigail between 15 to 25 minutes to make a plant hanger. The basic technique the macramé maker learned watching tutorials on Youtube. „Once you know the techniques, you can be quite experimental,“ she mentions. Abigail prefers to use hand-dyed wool from a yarn shop, called Countess Ablaze in the Northern Quarter. „They have a great colour selection“, she praises. Per each hanger, customers pay between 12,50£ and 25£.
„I wanted to be crafty again; I’ve missed making,“ she says. „It’s very therapeutic.“
Soon, Abigail wants to take her small business one step further: A personal website where people can order her handmade hangers per mouse click shall grow the revenue. By placing her pieces in some of Manchester’s hip coffee shops she’s aiming to make them more popular. Until then people will have to visit the Makers Market to see and feel the bright fairy dreadlocks.
The Makers Market Northern Quarter
2nd Sunday of the month
11am – 5pm