" There is great intellectual pleasure in knots. They have an intricacy
and satisfaction similar to crosswords," says Dr. Edward Hunter who
invented a new knot - Hunter's Bend - in 1977.
knot is a rarity. Almost all the knots in the world - 3,854 of them - are described
and illustrated in a reference book by Clifford W. Ashley, first published
1944. Knots, splices, hitches, hooks, beckets, toggles and sinnets are included
in The Ashley Book of Knots. The author describes where he learnt them, what
they are used for, how to tie them and many other interesting facts about knots
We can all recognise a knot from an early age. Its curved and twisted form
appears on shoe laces, parcels, joints of meat, men's ties and in fashionable
macramé items such as plant hangers.
Many knots have developed to serve a particular function. Sailors and fishermen,
farmers and builders, surgeons and scouts, butchers and poachers all use
in their work. Ashley describes occupational knots, from the knots used
primitive man for hunting and fishing to many specialist and tradesmen's
Other knots are decorative and were developed for the tassels and fringes
rugs and wallhangings or as tricks and puzzles to while away spare time
A revival of interest in macramé - the art of decorative knotting -
first took place in America and Canada in the 1970's. Craft enthusiasts in this
country then began to experiment with different textures, thicknesses and colours
of twine to create fashion accessories, household and decorative items. With
only a small number of easily-learned knots, even a beginner can achieve satisfactory
results. A greater number of knots, combined in elaborate patterns, can provide
endless variation and design possibilities.
Staff at the Hawes ropeworks use many knots in their everyday work
example, the packer's knot, the overhand knot and figure-of-eight
plant pot hangers are made by combining square knots, spiral knots
There are many good books on knotting and splicing but the classic reference
works is ‘The Ashley book of Knots’ by C W Ashley, published by
Faber & Faber. This book contains detailed instructions for 3854 knots,
splices and variations.
The Knot Boards
Visitors to the Hawes Ropemakers are invited to try their hand at tying knots
on the large display boards.