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  3. Introduction

Knot tying is a pursuit that can change from intimidating to entertaining with just a little effort. This book is designed to make that effort both enjoyable and educational. To learn about knotting is to learn how humankind fashioned a handhold on its environment since before recorded history and how this remains important today as new types of ropes are created and people continue to experiment with the best knots to tame them with.

This book features knots and related skills that will have you taming your environment to suit your needs — be they for practical applications or just for fun. There are no specific reference lists here telling you which knots you should use for camping and which you should use for sailing, for example. Instead, you will have the opportunity to learn the basic concepts of using knots as tools, leading you chapter by chapter through various types of knots. If this book were about hand tools, it would not emphasize which tools to use on a car and which to use on a washing machine, but would teach the basic principles behind their use. It might cover how to tell when a wrench or spanner might be better to use than pliers, and vice versa. There would also be advice on how to make do with another tool that may not be meant for the job. Knowledge like this would enable you to make your own choice about what tool to use in a variety of circumstances.

Knots are the tools for using rope. With a little practice and experience with knots, a piece of rope becomes much more than just a line — it becomes the equivalent of an entire toolbox of possibilities.

The chapters on knots are categorized by function. They include stopper knots for the ends of rope, knots for joining ropes together, making loops, fastening ropes to objects, binding objects, knots for decoration, and knots for specific activities. Additional chapters cover subjects that both complement and directly assist you in acquiring, sharing, and using the knowledge of knot tying. In this manner, acquiring the knowledge of knots should not be done as a standalone activity. Additional information is provided here to allow the experience of knotting to encompass much more than just knowing twists and turns.

Basic properties of knots are dependent on the rope you use. Ropes vary widely, so their properties figure into how they are chosen for specific uses and also affect which knots work best for them. The information contained here will help you choose the best ropes for your needs and teach you how to knot them effectively.

Learning to tie knots can be considered a skill in itself, so much information and many tips are provided to help you. If you have encountered stumbling blocks in the past when trying to learn knots, you will find helpful hints to overcome them.

Plus, there's information on the history of knots, tips on how to teach knot-tying techniques to others, and additional resource listings to help you expand your exploration of knots beyond this book.

The knots in this book were chosen based on popular convention, historical significance, and use of common structures shared with other knots. In tying these knots you will be both following in the steps of history and taking part in the ever-increasing body of knowledge available to the modern knot tyer. It is hard to express in words the joy and confidence that a young child feels from learning a knot. There is something about knots that creates the feeling of being able to function in the world and provides a sense of confidence in your own abilities.

  1. Home
  2. Knots
  3. Introduction
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