A Golf Ball Wrapped In A Spanish Ring Knot

A golf ball wrapped in a Spanish Ring knot.

A golf ball wrapped in a Spanish Ring knot.

I seem to remember saying this in another post, but just in case, this may save you money, or solve a problem. I don’t really play golf — and these aren’t real golf balls. These are “practice golf balls”, at least that is what it says on the label. They are thin plastic, hollow, and inexpensive. I buy them by the tube when they are on sale. If you tie your knots as tightly as I do, you will crush one every now and then. It is still cheaper than most things of this diameter that you can purchase to tie knots on. You can practice on these and save the good (more expensive) things for when you need to make a high-line item. Like those occasions when someone is actually going to pay you for something.

The knot here is a Spanish Ring knot of 2 passes, doubled in green paracord. Not much else to say that you can’t learn from the photo, so I guess I’m done for the day.

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Medicine Bottle #30; Turk’s Heads And A Spanish Ring Knot Dress This One, Top To Bottom

Medicine Bottle #30; Turk's Heads and a Spanish Ring knot cover this bottle.

Medicine Bottle #30; Turk's Heads and a Spanish Ring knot cover this bottle.

These knots, like many of the ones you see on my site, have performed well during a long hard term of service. Like some of the other knots you see, I had to decide whether or not to post this picture — after 10 years or so, it is starting to show some age. I figure it deserves its day in the sun, after all that.

The knots on this bottle are, from the left/lid end:

The first knot is a Turk’s Head of 3 Leads X 8 Bights, done in white paracord.

The main feature knot is also a Turk’s Head. This one is of 9 Leads X 8 Bights, doubled in dark green paracord.

The white ring on the bottom of the bottle is a Spanish Ring knot of 2 passes. I don’t know if anyone cares or even if this is the way to designate these knots — but it has 13 Bights. I guess that is one of the reasons so many people forge out their own nomenclature system for knots. There doesn’t seem to be any one method which has such a dominating position that it is used by everyone.

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Medicine Bottle #29; A Pineapple Knot Tied Over A Mouse Makes It Easier To Open

Medicine Bottle #29; A Pineapple knot improves the grip. 01

Medicine Bottle #29; A Pineapple knot improves the grip. 01

Medicine Bottle #29; A Pineapple knot improves the grip. 02

Medicine Bottle #29; A Pineapple knot improves the grip. 02

This small bottle has one of those demon inhabited opening-resistant caps. The diameter of the Hell blasted thing is just under 1″. The cap is just barely larger — with hands the size of mine it doesn’t work as advertised. When I get a firm enough grip on the bottle to open it, you can only see/touch the cap by looking down into my fist. I could improve this only by throwing it out, or tying knots on it to make up for at least part of its shortcomings. Now let’s see …. William ties knots every day …. he also hates to throw out anything that can be made to work … I wonder, do you think he would tie some knots on this thing and try to bind that demon. Yes Sir, that is just what I did.

The cap was so thin and slick that turning it was a problem. In addition, you had to push down with about 4 pounds of force to unlock the mechanism. When you’ve done that,the problem is holding the bottle firmly enough to resist the applied force levels.

The only way out for me was to tie knots. The knots on this bottle were, from the lid:

The cap/lid was made easier to grip and turn by clapping on a Spanish Ring knot. This increased the diameter and also added a high-friction surface so you could turn it without looking like you were practicing some schtick for a live slapstick  act.

This left you with the problems of the bottle itself. It was way too thin, and way too slick. This led to a 7 Lead X 5 Bight, Turk’s Head knot being conscripted to act as a mouse. Over this went a Turk’s Head knot of 7 Lead X 6 Bight, doubled in white paracord. I then gave it a Pineapple interweave. Because the interweave is a single strand as opposed to the doubled base knot, it has an unusual look. It is however, as far as function goes, an elegant answer to the problem. The moused-out Pineapple knot is just large enough to fill the hollow of my palm so I can hold the bottle tight enough to grasp it with my off hand. Then it is just — squeeze very firmly (note: back off if you hear cracking noises) — make sure enough of the cap is out far enough to push and twist it open.

I can get it open if I’m fully alert and don’t get mistaken for someone trying to do a magic trick. …..Hey, you’re cheating, I can see the bottle!

I will be happy to see this one go, even though it has served its function, and generally kept its mouth shut about the job conditions. It is just that it doesn’t belong to the E-Z-Open class of bottles.

Careful observers can see that the Pineapple knot has distinctly visible undulating ribs. This is in part an artifact induced from the mouse material and the way I worked the knot. When I saw that they wanted to show a slight rib, I coaxed them to go that way …. only someone who has been subjected to greatly coercive treatment like maybe torture …. or a long dragged-out divorce … could understand what I mean when I say coaxed.

This is one bottle that has good knots on it, but one I won’t miss. The underlying bottle with the label which says ” Made in Hades by Mephisto Manufacturing, LTD”. tells me all I need to know.

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Hot Sauce Bottle #6; A Larger 12 oz. Bottle Gives More Space For The Covering Of Turk’s Head Variants

Hot Sauce Bottle #6: covered in Turk's Head variants.

Hot Sauce Bottle #6: covered in Turk's Head variants.

Every once in a while I remind myself that my real hobby is tying knots, not taking pictures. This is one of those times. It says right here on the box that you should never visually decapitate your photo subject, and that framing space is important. Yep … that’s true. Unfortunately my camera does not have a time travel function, so this is the shot that will have to do.

The knots on this bottle are, from the top:

The neck of the bottle sports a white Gaucho knot of 2 passes; done in paracord. The finished knot counts out to 13 Leads X 16 Bights.

The next knots are a little confusing — both visually and to try and explain. The lower part of the neck is moused out with a knot tied in 5/16″ utility cord. The Bight count is 10 — the Lead count is mmufmp-mum-murkle. I lost the cheat sheet and forgot the knot. It doesn’t seem to mind, and performs its duty as a mouse without complaint. You can see the top rim of this knot between those that surround it. I do not remember the things that led up to it ending up like this — I’m sure I had some logical sounding ideas at the time — or maybe I meant to cover it up later with another knot and it fell through the cracks.

The next knot covers the moused out portion of the neck and the upper part of the shoulders. The base knot is a Turk’s Head of 9 Leads X 8 Bights, doubled, in black paracord. This knot is one of my standards. The upper portion of this knot has an interweave done in white paracord, also doubled. The top edge would qualify as a Herringbone in a more customary use. The bottom part of the interweave would be called a Pineapple knot in normal usage. What do I call this usage. Beats me … what the canonical nomenclature would be I haven’t got the foggiest notion. Maybe a Herringbone/Pineapple knot? I’ll let you decide based on the description given, and your personal naming system.Under this knot, and the first knot fully on the body of the bottle, is a Spanish Ring knot. It is done in the same 5/16″ utility cord used for the mouse.

The main feature knot on the body is a bi-color Gaucho knot of 2 passes, done in paracord. I have always called this two-toned effect a “Lightning Stroke”. I have lately heard that a Gaucho knot is called a “Lightning Knot” in some parts of Australia. I can not vouch for this, but given that many of the people tying these knots in isolated parts of that country probably didn’t have a copy of Mr. Grant’s book on horse tack and braiding, they could have come up with the name the same way I did.

The black knot on the bottom of the bottle is of 9 Leads X 36 Bights. It is done in an over 2, under 2, weave of black paracord. It is tied in what I have seen called a “W” knot, a 2 pass Gaucho knot, which, when looked at with the knot going around a horizontal cylinder, shows a “W” in the weave pattern. Or I guess more properly 36 “W’s” — one for each Bight.
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Hot Sauce Bottle #04; Turk’s Head Variants Completely Cover This Bottle

Hot Sauce Bottle #4; covered in Turk's Head variants.

Hot Sauce Bottle #4; covered in Turk's Head variants.

As I was trying to figure out what to write today’s post about, I heard a noise coming from the shelf that holds the hot sauce bottles. It occurred to me that I had not posted anything about them in a little while. Was it a starstruck bottle making the noise? Beats me, but it gave me the idea for this post.

This is labeled as Hot Sauce Bottle #4. If you have looked around my site, you know I had posted several of these bottles before I gave in and started numbering them. Trying to come up with titles that were different enough to be identifiable and accurate enough to be meaningful was becoming difficult. I figured if they were all running together for me, you had no hope of knowing if you had already seen any particular bottle. Numbers are easy to track — so numbers it is.

The knots used on this bottle are, from the top:

The cap on this bottle is covered by a round wooden bead which makes it easier to put on a nice looking knot. This one has a Turk’s Head knot of 8 Leads X 7 Bights. It is tied with an open weave — done with gutted paracord. It makes a handsome knot which also greatly improves the grip.

The neck of the bottle is covered by a white Turk’s Head of 9 Leads X 7 Bights, doubled. It has a weave of over 2, under 2, over 2, under 2.

The black knot covering the shoulders of the bottle is a Turk’s Head of 7 Leads X 6 Bights, doubled in paracord. It has a weave of over 2, under 2, over 2 — starting from the bottom.

The white knot covering the top of the body of the bottle is a Gaucho knot of 2 passes. It has a finished count of 17 Leads X 15 Bights, and an over 2 under 2 weave.

The black knot that comes next is a Turk’s Head of 9 Leads X 7 Bights, doubled. This knot also has an over 2, under 2 weave.

The 2 thin knots at the bottom, one white, the other black, are Spanish ring knots.

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Medicine Bottle #24; A Black Turk’s Head Knot Under A Spanish Ring Knot Cover The Bottle

Medicine bottle #24; a Spanish Ring knot and a Turk's Head knot cover it well.

Medicine bottle #24; a Spanish Ring knot and a Turk's Head knot cover it well.


The parade marches on; today’s post is Medicine Bottle #24, so we’re back to prescription bottles. I use a lot of hot sauce — the only thing I seem to have more bottles of is medicine. Because I tie so many knots that need an object to live on, it is only natural that I tie knots on them all.

Today’s knots are, from the top:

A Spanish Ring knot of 2 passes. These knots are very useful for filling in those narrow gaps on a knotting project. They also have a hold like a snapping turtle (Pit Bull to y’all city folks). They are hard to beat for permanent seizings on braids. This one also acts as the carrier for a Chinese Button knot, also known as the Sailor’s Knife Lanyard knot ABOK #787. They are structurally the same knot, but worked in different ways. I use the Chinese Button knot name because more people seem to know it better. I usually tie them like the Sailor’s Knife Lanyard method — it is the first way I learned, and is burnt deepest in my neurons.

The black knot that covers most of the bottle’s body is a Turk’s Head knot of 11 Leads X 10 Bights, doubled in paracord. This is another of my “standard” knots that I tie in hand, double, then place on its home and work down tight. When I say that I work it down tight, that is putting it mildly. I learned to tie all my knots tightly, because on a boat any knot that fails has the potential to create a great hazard. On a sunny day at dock it is no big deal if the Turk’s Head on the king spoke of the wheel goes adrift — other than your failings being on display to the others present. You would have a hard time telling them it was gremlins, and not an exhibition of lubberly work. The same thing happening on a dark night, in heavy weather, is another matter all together. It could cost life, limb, cargo, or vessel — or all of them. So yes, I tie my knots tightly, very tightly.

Thank you for coming by my site. I’ll try to keep the parade stepping lively, and playing a catchy tune. Come back and see what comes around the corner next:

A Coin Held Tightly By A Spanish Ring Knot; It Makes A Good Fob

A coin surrounded and held by a Spanish Ring knot tied in paracord.

A coin surrounded and held by a Spanish Ring knot tied in paracord.


A Spanish Ring knot securely holds a coin.

A Spanish Ring knot securely holds a coin.


Over the years I have tried to come up with ways of using my knots that would appeal to non-knotting people. One of the most obvious things is the key fob and its kin. There is, however, a limit to the number of identical items I think is fair to expect a hobbyist to tie. I never wanted to feel as if I were doing piece work in a sweatshop. That would be the quickest way for me to lose all drive to ever tie another knot. Because of this, I was always looking for a new and technically challenging knot project. I eventually decided to try making a fob/pocket charm-type thing that would hold a coin, or minted charm, of some sort. It would have to look good, and it would have to work well — this also meant it would have to work over a reasonable life span.

This is the method I came up with. I originally used Turk’s Head knots, but these didn’t completely satisfy me. One day I found the Spanish Ring knot; the problem was solved. After that it was just a question of material selection and technique.

Gutted paracord makes a fine, long-lasting fob. The technique is something you find over a string of attempts — as long as you cull mercilessly. I have made these for friends who have carried them for years while living in the tropics on sailboats. I have never had a complaint or a request for maintenance. I have had requests for more of them to be used as gifts, to curry favor with the local officials. In one gift you had a nice looking, useful fob — and a way to give someone a U.S. silver dollar — that didn’t look like an outright bribe.

The coin in the photo is a 20 Colone piece, from a trip to Costa Rica. The fob has done various duty over the years and has traveled long, hard miles. It still doesn’t show any appreciable wear.

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Published in: on November 17, 2009 at 2:03 AM  Comments (2)  
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