What Are Knots Good For?

Why don't we start with a knot that everybody knows? And I know what you're thinking: "I don't know any knots! I'm not a sailor, batboy." But trust me, you know this one. It's called a thumb knot. It's the basis of a lot of other knots. For example, it's the first part of tying you shoes.

1) Begin by making a crossing term (Begin with a loop).
2) By going under the loop, pull the working end through the loop (the working end is the end you are working with while the standing end is the end attached to something or just not being used).
3) Cinch it (tighten it).
4) Voila! A thumb knot.

You can make this more interesting by making the knot slipped. Slip knots are knots that can be untied in a hurry. The slipped thumb knot is tied exactly like the thumb knot except it uses a bight.

1) Make a crossed loop.
2) Pull a bight through the loop. A bight is a "loop" formed by folding the rope back on itself.
3) Cinch it.

Obviously, the loop that's formed in the slip knot is not very solid. If you want to make are really simple loop out of the thumb knot, try:

1) Make a bight out of the loop.
2) Make a regular thumb knot using the bend as the working end and the two parallel pieces of rope as the rope.

One last thing you can do with a thumb knot: you can make a very simple noose. A noose is any sliding loop.

1) Make a very loose thumb knot with a short working end.
2) Feed the line (the standing part, not the working end) through the hole left by the thumb knot.
3) Cinch the thumb knot around the line. You can tighten it so much because the thumb knot really sucks and so it won't catch unless you are using string, thread or fishing line or something.

Ya I know. Those are really weak knots but look at all the terms we've learned:

Crossing term - make a loop
Working end - the end of the rope being used to tie the knot
Standing end - the part of the rope fixed or not being used
Cinch - to tighten
Slip - easily undone
Bight - formed by folding the standing end back on itself
Noose - a sliding loop

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