Knot to Change the Subject . . .

When it comes to comparing knitting and crochet with weaving and knotting, it is fair to say that knitting is more similar to weaving and crochet is more similar to knotting.  A quick glance at a piece of stockinette knit fabric will reveal a weft-type structure (horizontal lines) on the purl side, and a warp-type structure (vertical lines) on the knit side.

(To finish the comparison to weaving, the knitting needles act as the loom and heddle, and your fingers act as a shuttle – simultaneously maintaining the tension on and passing the thread.)

In general, most knitters will say they dislike knots.  Knots in yarn are frowned upon, from tying two strands of yarn together when changing colors to the occasional one which accidentally forms while unspooling a skein.  Even when binding off, knitters don’t usually tie an over hand knot, but are instead allowing the tension exerted by the stitches on each other to prevent the fabric from unraveling.

I, however, love knots.  Knots are fantastic!  Brilliant!  Every closed celtic cable is a knot.  Some braided cables are actually knots too.  Knots are simultaneously decorative and functional when done intentionally.  (I will even confess to knotting two different colored yarns together when knitting, then going back and weaving the ends in later because it is faster and more secure in addition to being lazier.)

So when I finished knitting up a garment with a slit back neckline which needed fasteners, I decided that now would be the perfect time to go and learn how to tie decorative knots from i-cord for the purpose of creating button fastenings.

Some Caveats

As it turns out, there are people as crazy about knotting as I am about knitting.  Whole websites are devoted to it.  I even found a YouTube channel devoted to tying every single knot in The Ashley Book of Knots – an encyclopedic volume dedicated to cataloguing knots from around the world (it has been duly added to my Christmas List).

The tricky part about tying a knot is actually not the tying, but the tightening.  All the instructions follow the same layout:  create a small woven pattern involving two ends of string, then tighten from the inside out.  Tightening will make or break your knot.  It defines the knot’s size, shape, and final appearance.  In the course of learning how to tie a single knot, I created more than a dozen different looking knots because I could not manage to tighten them correctly.

Below are images and links (click the image) to instructions of a couple of knots I particularly liked, and which were easy enough for me to execute more or less correctly.

Knot #1 – Chinese Button Knot – Courtesy of Cuc Nguyen’s Website


Of all the knots I tried, this one was the easiest for me to understand.  There are lots of pictures, and the end product is both cute and functional.  To turn it into a closure for a garment, you can either leave the ends straight or weave them into a second knot.  Keep reading for more examples.


Knot #2 – Chinese Knot Closure – Courtesy of Interweave Knits – Knit Simple blog


This one looked simple enough to tie.  However my butter fingers gave me difficulty when tightening it, and I never did get the top to lay exactly right.






Knot #3 – Monkey’s Fist – Courtesy of


This one is very easy to tie and tighten, as long as you can keep track of which direction the thread is wrapped.  If you get confused, you will  find yourself endlessly tightening and un-tightening.



Knot #4 – Celtic Knot – Courtesy of Stormdrane on


Great video, easy to follow.  The example does leave you with a cord hanging from the bottom which would need to be adjusted for practical use.




 Knot #5 – Flower Knot – Courtesy of  on


This beautiful chinese brocade knot is demonstrated in a two part youtube tutorial.  The  two free ends of the knot can be tied into most of the above button knots for a finished look.  Note: Requires the use of lots of fingers.



Knot #6 – Chinese Knot – Courtesy of  on



This knot can actually be adapted for use with more than one strand of yarn or more than one color as shown.  While not strictly for use in closures, it was a lot of fun to tie, and reminds me very much of some celtic knit cable patterns I’ve seen.  Plus, as demonstrated in the video, this knot may be used in other applications, such as barrettes and headbands.


Knot #7- Chinese Knot – Courtesy of  on


This video is actually a three-for-one tutorial demonstrating the knot to the left, as well as a button knot similar to knots 1-4 above, and a less ornate “flower” knot similar to knot #5 above.  The great thing about the knot shown at left is that one step before tightening, the knot looks very similar to this:




< which I found on Ebay (click photo to see listing).




And there you have it.  After several hours of depleting my stash of waste yarn (and some not-so-waste yarn), the above knots were realized.

May you have the best of experiences learning to tie knots of your own. 🙂

Happy Knitting!

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