Decorative knots & fancy work.

Decorative knots; these links will have much overlap with the links to practical knots. Many of them have some practical purpose — and many practical knots are decorative. Also, many sites cover more than one kind of knots. And so on to the fancywork:

I have no relationship with the sites I review, other than a few which I have been a customer of. I will not receive any direct rewards, fiscal or otherwise, for my reviews or any visits you may make.




Tom Knots: This site is run, by of all people, Mr. Tom Knots. I’m not sure, this may be one of those centuries old conspiracies to unseat Jack Tar, and replace him with Tom Knots.  OK, that is my joke for this review. Mr. Knots has put together a fine site to showcase some examples of his work. He really shines when he is clapping needle hitching on bottles. His other work is no slouch, mind you. All in all, a site worth a visit. Reviewed 2010.01.15.



Alaska Museum Of Fancy Knots: This is an old site, and most of its assets have been moved to “The Pineapple Knot Forum”. There are still a few things here I use because the bookmarks still work. Unless you, like me, are just accustomed to this site, you should move to the Pineapple Knot Forum.

Boatswain Mate Knot Page: This page was put up by a gentleman with the screen name of “Digital Cowboy”. At first this was a little confusing — then I went through his site. With most people you can tell by looking at their work whether they came to knots from the world of cowboys and leather/rawhide work, or if their taste in knots has been informed by the world of sailing and the sea. This work shows a very attractive blend of both worlds. In addition to some photos of his own work, there are three nice tutorials. This site is worth a visit. Reviewed on 2010.01.15.

Frayed Knots Arts: Sites like this are very hard to categorize. They have so much quality work spread over so many pages, with a wide assortment of subjects. Bellropes and belts, bottles with hitched work covering them, tutorials on many things — I could get dizzy. Or I could wear my fingers out typing many small reviews. Suffice it to say that if you haven’t gone here, you should. There is something for everyone, and much to admire.

Des Pawson MBE: Mr. Pawson has been making his living by and around knots for some time — this is a hard row to hoe. I have a couple of his books and like them. Even more important, I use them and would recommend them to a friend that needed one. A fine craftsman who is also, by all appearances, a fine business man. His site carries books by Mr. Pawson, as well as others who’s name I recognize. In addition he sells some cordage and hard to get tools for marilingspike work. Reviewed on 2010.01.15.

Dave Does Knot Work: Yes, and from the looks of this site he does it quite well. Dave appears to have made his way with ships and the sea. Somewhere along that way he picked up some marlingspike skills. His gallery is full of small format pictures, but the work in them is extraordinary. It is worth your time to visit. Just take care to read the disclaimer first — and afterwards the sea stories. Reviewed 2010.01.14.

LoopyLacer’s Knot-Tying And Tatting Blog: This site is run by Miss Lilly The “Miss Lily” thing is some of my southern upbringing leaking through — it wasn’t considered proper to address or refer to a lady without some honorific in front of her name, if you didn’t know her real status she was Miss Blank, filling in the blank with their first name. Well, Miss Lily does some wonderful work with cords. She does macrame, with very small cords, which is meticulous in its beauty. She also has information on tatting, although that is probably an even smaller crowd than knotters. Reviewed on 2010.01.15.





Fine Art by Rocio:q This is the site where I first stumbled across the technique of “Viking Knit” wire. It is a form of fender hitching or rib hitching done over a mandrel. After you make a length of it, you remove it from the mandrel. You then pull it through progressively smaller holes in a draw plate til you get to the size wanted. Clean and mount it, and you end up with what most people would think is knitted wire. Mrs. Rocio Bearer also works in art glass and other styles of jewelry. On the site you can buy a mixture of tools, equipment, and supplies for these arts/crafts. Mrs. Bearer also gives class and sells instructional materials. Reviewed 2010.01.19.

Golden Knots: Is a jewelry business run by Mr. Loren Damewood. His major trade is in Turk’s Head Finger Rings tied in precious metals. He is one of the few who really ties them as you would tie one out of cord — only with much more difficulty. He also gives lessons, which has in turn set him up with the knowledge to make some excellent tutorials. He has several Turk’s Head tutorials available on his site. I recommend him most highly.

JanRa Jewelry Design: My interest in this site is primarily the “Viking Knit”. This is a form of rib hitching or fender hitching done in wire. It is usually done around a mandrel. After the mandrel is removed, the wire is pulled through decreasing sized holes in a draw plate, like those used to size wire. You end up with a very handsome piece that looks like a knitted wire tube. She also does other jewelry, some in wire work of other sorts than the Viking Knit. In addition to this site, she has a blog about her adventures in making and selling wire work jewelry. Reviewed 2010.01.19.


Stormdrane’s Blog: This gentleman has had a knotting blog up since April of 2005. He has done a consistently excellent job and has a large following. He deserves to have one as the fruit of such labors. There are outstanding pictures of every project, and very good video tutorials of some things. He covers mostly lanyards, fobs, and bracelets, with some other projects using similar skills for good measure. There has come of late, things referred to as Tactical or Survival knots — these are bracelets, belts, hat bands, and such which can be de-constructed in the field to provide a length of usable cord. The theory is if you wear them at all times, you can never be caught cordless by the press of circumstances. Stormdrane has some of the best of these, ones that you wouldn’t mind wearing, nor need to explain to wondering observers, unless you wanted to. Some of his video tutorials seem to have migrated to the Instructables site, so you may be familiar with his work even if you never visited his site. Reviewed 2010.01.14.

ZZ Supplies: This site is the child of Herr Fred Reintal Blamauer. He has been blogging about his interests since 2007. Looking through his archives gives an unusual insight into how his skills, tastes, and attitudes have changed over the years. He started out as an above average knotter and has steadily improved. He makes mostly lanyards, fobs, and bracelets of the tactical/survival family. Many of them are fastened to some very nice looking handmade knives. If you have an overly timid outlook on life you might want to brace yourself. Herr Blamauer has developed a persona that has veered hard into the survival of man over the wild world. No blood and guts, but lots of knives and some paracord brass knuckles. There is one thing — this is the second site I’ve hit today that seems to have a Google powered auto-translate system built into the structure of the site or web server. It does a decent job on the translation; the aggravating thing is that if you hover over a phrase or word in the text you get a pop-up which asks if you would like to improve the translation by telling them how you think it should be done. The problem with the pop-up is that it often appears directly over the text you are trying to read. If you kill the pop-up, when you put the cursor over the same word/link the Satanic thing comes back from the dead, in the same spot. Reviewed 2010.01.23.




Free Macramé Patterns: A very nice site on macrame. This is mostly in the America of the 1960’s genre. He has short but complete tutorials on tying the knots he uses, and a fairly large collection of free patterns. I think most of the patterns are his originals — a pleasant change from seeing the same scans of a book that seem to always be on a site when I look. I think I’m haunted by the ghost of macrame past; I also think whoever that artist was would like some royalties. If you are into macrame, or would like to try it, this is a very good place to go.

Handcrafted by Elaine Lieberman: Like many sites, this one has a dual purpose. It acts as a teaser for the author’s works which are for sale. It also is the home for a tutorial she has made showcasing the craft she uses in most of that work — macrame. Miss Lieberman has done some excellent work, some of which was used as the props for a movie called “The Hoax”. The tutorial is also well above average for the Internet. If you step through the short but adequate course, you will have a grasp of the basics. With that, a generous dose of inspiration, and like all knotwork … practice, practice, practice, you are off to a good start. I think that if you are interested in entry-level macrame you would be well-served by a look at her site. Reviewed 2010.01.29.

Olga’s Macrame: This is a very nice site. In addition to showing of her own macrame, Miss Olga also gives back to the void. There is a multi-page tutorial on learning macrame, which assumes only minimal knowledge on the part of the student. She goes from a brief history of the craft, to mounting the cords on a work surface, to basic knots, to some full project instructions. Like everyone else, she has her share of plant holders. Unlike many, she has gone beyond that level. In particular some of he half-hitching work stands out. The multi-colored butterflies are excellent — and she gives you what you need to duplicate them. All things considered, this is a site a shade on the small side, but very well done. I’ll take quality over quantity any day. Reviewed 2020.01.29.

This Year’s Dozen: The title alludes to the goal “Learning something new each month”. An admirable goal at all times, especially for those of us who have a very low threshold for boredom. For my readers, the prime interest will be in her macrame. She has pages which show samples of her work, as well as some excellent tutorials. I looked at a random sampling and they were all well done. The web-mistress, a Miss Donna, also does crochet and jewelry, particularly wire work. She not only does a nice job with her own work, but has been equally generous with her tutorials on these subjects. If you have any interest in these subjects a visit will pay you back for your time. Reviewed 2010.01.20.


Retired Rope Rugs: The basic concept here is that if you climb a lot, you go through a lot of rope. Rope that has become untrustworthy where your life and limb are concerned is retired. Most climbers, and many sailors, end up with piles of rope unsuitable for the original purpose, but too good to throw away. You send them the rope, and some money of course, and they send you back a rug made of a rope mat using your rope. That way you have the rope handy for those “There I Was” stories. If you need a smoother, and slightly more formal look, you could get a Flemish coil secured into a round or oval mat, and backed with silicone non-skid. They will also make leashes, collars, key fobs, and wreaths of Solomon’s bar. I have no experience with them, being more of a DIY guy, but they may well satisfy a need among the rope users who don’t really do knotwork. They will also sell you a template for a rectangular or oblong rug, sized for climbing rope, yours to have and to keep for endless uses. Reviewed on 2010.01.15.


Texere Silk: This site’s primary aim is to sell silk scarves. To facilitate this, and maybe to help the consumers (and curious knot tyers who fall in accidentally), it has tutorials on how to properly tie a scarf for wear. I didn’t know and wouldn’t have guessed that so many had been puzzled out. It may not be the highest link on your list of “sites to see”, but it is about knots. Some of you are bound to be like me and at least want to look at anything with knots — just in case.



Chinese Knotting: Truth in advertising, a site about Chinese Knotting. This site is associated with the New Jersey Council on the Arts. Apparently first issued as a video-disk, it’s now living on happily in the void. It is a small but well-crafted site on the history and practice of ornamental Chinese knot tying. It has eight tutorials on the basic individual knots, and four labeled advanced. There is also a gallery of smallish, but professional, pictures for inspiration. There are no instructions on putting the knots together into a finished project. A nicely done site, if somewhat restricted in size/coverage. Nota Bene: On some of the tutorial pages there are links to files with the “smi” file extension. None of my browsers knew what to do with these files, other than to offer a download — a courtesy I refused. I have since discovered that these are files produced using the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language. I can only assume this was done for the original disk. Quicktime appears to be able to play SMIL files, but I have not tested this, so take care. Reviewed 2010.01.28.




The Basic Turk’s Head Knot: Their variants, kin, and interweaves. There is enough solid material here to keep you busy for a while. Most absolute beginners would find it pretty steep going. The ones who stuck it out would benefit greatly. Those who have some knowledge of Turk’s Heads and their making would get a head start. Mr. Wood does an excellent job of laying out some of the normally hidden secrets of this type of knot. The more of the secrets you know, the better a knot tyer you will be. Then it is time to practice — and there are enough knots here to keep you from getting bored. If Turk’s Heads are one of your things, then this should be a favorite.

Mr. Don Burrhus runs a sideline business making custom knot tying mandrels and selling his books on how to use them. He runs it better than many large full-time businesses. His tools are excellently made and perform their tasks without fault. The “Knottool” is actually a series of PVC mandrel with threaded holes so the pins can be added/subtracted easily. I have yet to find any errors in his directions for tying some very complex and intriguing knots. I consider it money well spent.

Rab’s Knots: Is by one of the people who inspire me with their skills in tying knots. He seems to tie knots and run a lathe with equal effect. Meticulous craftsmanship is always impressive, but I find it more so when I’m in on the gaff. By knowing some of the secret difficulties hidden behind a handsome work, I can better appreciate it.


Instrucables: This is one of the most well-stocked of the video tutorial accumulator sites. The lessons are produced by netizen and posted for your viewing pleasure and edification. While most of the lessons are adequate for learning from, they are not of consistently excellent quality. This is, in part, offset by the weeding action of choices made by visitors. It is also offset in part by someone seeing one, thinking he can surely do better, then acting on that inspiration. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they have overstepped their skills, at which point the weeding action restarts. Like the net itself — it may be slow and inefficient at times, but it works. If you want to learn a skill best acquired by watching someone else you may want to start here; they have a very broad assortment aimed primarily at what most people are interested in. Reviewed 2010.01.14.

Knots Made Easy: This site’s sole purpose is to entice you into purchasing a DVD named: “Knots Made Easy”. Its funny how those little coincidences happen. Mr. Richard M. Phelan & Mr. Phil Cook do a very good job of coaxing. They show a list of twenty three knots, most decorative in use, that they teach. If the pictures on the site are any guide, they know the ropes. I ran the price through the currency converter and it came out to just a hair over $29.00 (this will float a little as the currency rate does) for the DVD, including postage and handling. That sounds like a very reasonable price if the product lives up to its billing, and I have no reason to doubt that it does. Both gentlemen are members of the International Guild Of Knot Tyers, a fine reference. With the rapid consumer response on the Internet, if it was too far off from its billing, or people were unhappy with the value offered, it would be on the Net. I searched and found no negative statements. Reviewed 2010.01.22.

YouTube: A video upload site for your viewing pleasure. Although it is not targeted directly and soley at tutorials like some other sites, it does have a nice collection of knot tutorials. For some reason, it seems that YouTube has a collection that looks consistently more polished than other sites. I haven’t used the site enough to know if this is because of the site’s editorial policies, or just a more critical set of viewers. Reviewed on 2010.01.15.

The Knotheads World Wide site is an excellent resource for decorative and fancy knotwork. A gallery and several tutorials fill out the site. I have a more thorough review in the Practical Knots section. Or you could go directly to their site.

Published on January 12, 2010 at 12:38 AM  Leave a Comment  

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