I love knots. Always have, don’t know why. I don’t sail, have never done macrame or looming or anything that really calls for a concentrated effort of knot tying. They just fascinate me. I mean, have you ever seen a monkey’s fist? The simplicity, yet elegance of a well done Flemish/eight knot? Brilliant.
Where would Celtic love be without that knot? Or the Windsors? How would you tie down that dang kangaroo?
Tying of knots began long ago. It started when Homo habilis first tied a rock to a stick or made hide clothing.
Archeologist have found artifacts that are up to 10,000 years old, but the only written reference to knots before the 18th century was found in a medical record. It references a 4th century physician describing the making of slings, with nine different types of knots.
Don’t get me wrong here I love knots, but I’m sure his patients would rather he had spent his time figuring out an anesthetic rather than how to tie up their arms.
Anyway, the art of knot tying is ancient, but like many old things, very handy to know.
If you’ve ever had to help a friend move and tie down a pickup truck load of stuff, a little knowledge of knots can be really handy, as well as, impressive – especially, and I hate to say it – if you’re of feminine persuasion. Femmes take note.
There is even an International Guild of Knot Tying! I know geeky.
Knots can be generally put into one of three categories separated by use:
Stopper – knots used at the end of a rope
Hitch – knots used to hitch or tow
Loop- knots used to connect
And like all specialized activities knot tying has its own vocabulary, knotology – if you will. It’s not quite as complicated as legalese or some government agency, but it takes some getting used to and sometimes makes sense.
The end ofthe rope being used for knotting is the working end.
A bight is any slack section in the middle part of the rope.
The standing part is the main part of the rope, or that section of the rope about which the end is turned to form a knot.
A loop is bight that forms at least half a circle. Bringing the end parts near each other forms a closed loop; leaving them apart makes an open loop.
When the ends of a loop are crossed, the rope is said to have taken a turn. If the end is passed over the standing part, it is an overhand turn and if it passed under the standing part, it is an underhand turn.
One last term: when either end of a turn is put back through the loop, in an over-and-under sequence, the turn becomes a so-called overhand knot, a building block in making other knots. It’s basically the one that all stored string gets itself into whenever left alone.
Got all that? ‘Cause now we are going to tie a very useful hitch knot. Rescue workers and law enforcement use this one. How you use it is your very own business. It’s called the Handcuff.
You will need a good length of rope about 3 feet will do. I use clothes line to practice with.
If you think you can’t do this, look down at your feet. Are your shoes tied? Ye Gads, the Velcro generation! Do you own a pair of shoes that have laces? Then you can tie a knot.
The Handcuff Knot:
Form two loops in the middle of the rope.
Place the right loop over the left loop.
Pull the left sideof the right loop down through the left loop while pulling the right side of the left loop up through the right loop. This was the hardest part for me to get. Just keep trying and the lightbulb blinks on.
Place the two loops you have created around the victim’s, er, assistant’s wrists. Pull slack out of the knot.
Voila’! That stuffed dog isn’t going anywhere.
I once tried getting a friend who was a security analyst (as in figuring out how people got things out of secured warehouses, security) to be my assistant, but she wouldn’t have it at all. Guess she’d seen it in use.
Really, once you get past the image of cheap seafood restaurant decorations knots can be very interesting and possibly helpful. One little knot has aided me greatly in my time management efforts when it comes to ending meetings.
Its called a noose.