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Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Knot boards!

You must go over to Mary’s blog http://mh-mixes.blogspot.com/ and see the fabulous knot boards made by her brother, Joe, who is a retired Merchant seaman.  They are not just boards of bits of knots but are works of art!  I’ve been stunned at the beauty and complexity of his work.

I was telling Mary that when I was in the Brownies and Girl Guides we learned to tie various knots, though half the time we had no idea what they were for.  I understood the flat reef knot reef knot that we used to tie our folded guide ties at the back of our necks under our collars in those days,



lhknot_hero and a lark’s head knot attaching string to a stick, pole or dowel,



clove hitch even the clove hitch that could be used to secure a rope to a ring, though it seemed to slide off if pulled too hard. 



sheepshank The sheepshank we were told was for shortening  a length of string or rope,


and a slip knot was used in tying up brown paper parcels ~(in the days before sticky tape)!!!  At least that’s all we ever thought it was used for!  I never actually understood the slip knot though, as we just had a tiny length of string, one of the requirements for a Girl Guide’s stash, stored in the breast pockets!  (Some of us had very peculiar shapes, with the things we had to carry in those pockets, I can tell you), and had been taught to make a loop with one end, then bring the other end “up the bunny hole, round the tree, under something (I can’t remember the analogy), and back down the bunny hole again”!  Excuse me?  What was all that about?  It wasn’t until I started work in the Co-op and was packing up the daily newspapers for return each night that I started to think about that knot again.  The papers are tied up in bundles with thick nylon string, and lo and behold the slip knot started to make sense!  I use it all the time now at work, though haven’t managed to impart the wisdom to the rest of the staff.  They are as dumfoonert and bumbazed (confused and bewildered) as I was all those years ago!

bowline knot As for bowlines, don’t get me started!  What were they for?  Since then I have been around a few boats and got to know a few rock climbers, so appreciate that this is a useful knot after all, but it had little relevance way back in the 1960s for the 115th City of Edinburgh Guide Company, that I could see!

 Joe's seahorse knot board Looking at the knot board  Mary posted first today, I spotted another knot I was familiar with, and was amazed to find I had been going through life thinking it was a relation of the sheepshank, and was called a sheep bend! Was it used to tether sheep, another important knot for a city girl guide?    Do you actually tether sheep?  Well yes, I know now you can and do sometimes, but what knot is used is still beyond my ken!  I’ve never thought to ask!  

sheetbend Anyway, I am devastated!  It’s actually a SHEET bend!  No wonder it didn’t make sense!  So a SHEET bend, eh?  Sheets as in sails, I presume?  I’ve not been sailing for some time!

Now, looking at this picture, it is pretty much like that slip knot I was talking about that ~I could never work out, only the short (green) end goes down through the (red) loop.  Well, something like that, but that would just make it a reef knot!  I’ll think about it tonight as I tie up the papers !

Well, I have to say that despite seemingly making fun of knot tying, I am very impressed with Joe’s knot boards, and the knots therein, and I know they all have their uses, but I adore those buttons, I think they are types of grommets, in knotting parlance, but I could be wrong!  I have made the twisted rope before when I had a go at macramé years ago, when I made a lanyard with a whistle at the end of it as part of my girl guide uniform.  That was fun to do though I didn’t do very well with the knot at the end, and there were always bits of string sticking out!

Joe's barqueThese Celtic style knots are pretty amazing too – and that rectangular white knotted frame!!!!.  Have a closer look at this board of Joe’s. 

Now why couldn’t we have been taught to make things like that!  I really fancy finding out more about them now!

I’ve been looking up websites and will be having a go one of these days!

Talk again soon!


Anonymous said...


Evelyn/Ev/Evee said...

This one is by Mary's brother but I don't know of any tutorials at the moment. Maybe you'd find on on the interet.

Thanks for dropping in. Hope you come back!

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