Friday, June 28, 2013

Short Attention Span Challenge | Knotty Knotty!

Why Knot?  As I looked at the library book, Why Knot?, which inspired this week's blog post, I thought the same thing.  Why should I learn how to knot?  I remember briefly learning knots when I was at camp and trying to earn some sort of generic badge, although I couldn't recall how to tie any of the knots now.  I am not a fisherman or a sailor.  I am fairly sure I invented a new knot when I used two hairbands and a ribbon to straighten up my Christmas tree last year. However, according to Philippe Petit (You might have heard of him, the tightrope walker who illegally walked between the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in 1974.), there are many practical uses for knowing specific knots.  Such as, securing items in travel.  So wait, me just tying random twists and pulling the rope into strange convolutions is not the best way to tie that IKEA stuff onto the top of my car?  Who knew?  Another use, he says: rescuing people!  Yeah, I guess that's pretty important.  But the best use (although I'm not sure why this is more important than saving lives), says Petit, is making connections!  Linking pieces of land, creating bridges, and connecting people.  Okay, so knots are pretty important.  In fact, upon reading that, I remembered a  documentary I saw a few years ago about a region in China where people cross a river everyday by sliding across a rope.  So, they probably think effective knots are pretty nice too.

The Challenge:
Learn some useful knots.  I used the book referenced above, which includes a little rope to use while practicing your knots. You can check out the book and the rope at the library, but remember to bring BOTH back!

The Process:
Petit says a good knot has 4 virtues:
1.  It is easy to tie.
2.  It is stable under a load.
3.  It does not reduce the ultimate breaking strength of the rope.
4.  It is easy to untie.

Also it keeps it's shape.  Wait that is five things!  I'm still not sure why there weren't 5 virtues...

And he isn't the only one who thinks knots are important.  In 1933, Clifford Ashley wrote a book with over 7000 drawings and featured 3,854 knots!  I wonder if my double hairband ribbon knot is somewhere in there.  I bet knot! yucka yucka...

The same year, the International Guild of Knot Tyers (IGKT) was established. "Tyer" is intentional; the use of "tier" is ambiguous, they say. 

The IGKT has something called the Six Knot Challenge, where participants must tie six knots as quickly as possible.    The world record is 8.1 seconds.  I will not beat this record, I assure you, but as I am typing this it is 12:58 p.m. on Friday.  My blog is set to run at 2 p.m., so I am giving myself an entire hour.  I know, it is astonishingly fast. To make this more impressive, I will attempt this feat while working on the reference desk (which means I will be happily interrupted several times, for sure).

Sheet Bend Knot
The Result:

The Sheet Bend Knot (Common Bend, Ordinary Bend, Single Bend, Flag Bend, Swab Hitch, and the Barbers' Knot)
Use: This knot has many uses, such as fishing nets.  It can also be doubled and used to tie sheets together and escape out of a window!  Good to know in case I am kidnapped and placed somewhere with excess bedding.

It is now 1:12 p.m....

The Square Knot (Reef Knot, True Knot, Hard Knot, String Tie Knot, Common Knot, Regular Knot, Ordinary Knot, Flat Knot, Hercules Knot)
Use: Close a sack, tie a package, secure a roll, tie scarves, reef or furl sails on a boat.  Petit mentions that there is a Reef Knot in Arizona 9000 years old!  Also, in Ancient Greece brides tied these knots on their belts, and it was supposed to make them fertile.

1:22 p.m....
Square Knot
Round Turn and Two Half Hitches

The Round Turn and Two Half Hitches
Use: to tie something to another object like a pole or mast.  It will not slip up and down on the object it is tied to.
1:36 p.m.

The Bowline (pronounced Bo-lynn or boo-lynn. Like Anne?)
You can tie this knot around yourself if you are about to fall down a cliff.  I'm not sure I ever quite got it right, so I think I'm doomed.

1:53 p.m....
My unsuccessful Bowline

Sheepshank (Dogshank, Catshank)
Use: To repair a damaged rope or shorten a rope.  Petit suggests using the loops to hang stuff when camping.

1:59 p.m...

Clove Hitch
(Builder's Hitch, Boatman's Hitch, Peg Knot, Double Half Hitch, Steamboat Hitch)
Use: Attach a rope to a post (or water bottle) super fast.

2:03 p.m.!  On no!!!!  In my defense, in this last hour I signed about 20 people up for our summer reading program, Reading is so Delicious! It has my stomach tied up in knots!  Have you signed up yet???
Clove Hitch

1 comment:

  1. I'm intrigued. That round turn is kind of pretty. Maybe I'll have to learn how to tie it. I've heard of most of these over the years and always felt I ought to know how to tie them.