Tying Decorative Knots
You can do decorative knotting with both single and multiple strands. When using a single rope or cord, a set of wraps and tucks are made with just one end until you're finished. The Monkey's Fist (described in Chapter 4) is one example of this kind of knot. Multiple-strand knots often involve less for the knot tyer to remember than with single-strand knots. These decorative knots generally involve interweaving a set of cords in a repeating pattern to build up to the required size. The Matthew Walker Knot (also described in Chapter 4) is a favored decorative knot, sometimes tied in four or more strands.
There are a number of things that can aid your pursuit of the craft of decorative knot tying. A good general knowledge of knots is very useful. Many decorative knots are combinations of simple knots. The Constrictor Knot is commonly employed to control a group of strands, making them easier to hold in place. Pointed tools can help you pass cord ends through small openings and using pliers will help you pull them tight. And, of course, practice helps, because interwoven patterns always look nicer when they are even.
How do I get the decorative knots to come out more evenly?
With practice, you will get a feel for pulling evenly on all the strands. In the case of multistrand knots, slack needs to be taken out a little at a time, one strand at a time. For long single-strand knots, hold the shape of the knot during completion.
Uses for Decorative Knots
Some knots generally serve just one purpose, while others can serve many. Mat knots usually serve as a protective layer. When made with large enough rope, they can be used to make floor mats, or with smaller cord for drink coasters. Sennits, like the Crown Sennit described in this chapter, are best served as part of a handle of some kind, as in a key fob, bell pull, or light-switch pull. Coxcombing makes a covering for a long cylindrical object. It can act as abrasion resistance when tied around the loop part of an Eye Splice, or it can help improve grip when tied over a handrail.
The most versatile of all decorative knots is the Turk's Head. It can be employed as a protective covering, a binding, a handhold, or tied around the wrist or ankle as jewelry. It can stiffen weakened poles, gather a neckerchief, or stop a hitch from sliding. You can tie one as a napkin ring, shot glass base, or even flatten it out to make a mat.
Decorative knot tying can be as involved or as simple a craft as you want it to be. Chapter 14 gives suggestions for further study, or you can experiment on your own. Either way, the more you learn about general knotting the more you can do.