A knot is a method for fastening or securing linear material such as rope by tying or interweaving. It may consist of a length of one or more segments of rope, cord, webbing, twine , string, strap or even chain interwoven so as to create in the line the ability to bind to itself or to some other object - the "load". Some knots are well adapted to bind to particular objects such as another rope, cleat, ring, stake or to constrict an object. Decorative knots usually bind to themselves to produce attractive patterns.
Knots have been the subject of interest both for their ancient origins, common use or the mathematical implications of knot theory.
Knots are essential in many industrial, work, home or recreational activities. Even simple activities such as running a load from the hardware store to home can result in disaster if a clumsy twist in a cord passes for a knot. Truckers needing to tie down a load may use a trucker's hitch, gaining a 2-to-1 mechanical advantage. Knots can save the spelunker from foolishly becoming buried under millions of tons of rock. Whatever the activity, on the water sailing or on a cliff-side rock climbing, learning well tested knots prior to some hazardous activity introduces a critical measure of safety. In addition to safety, appropriate knots can prevent the necessity of cutting lines.
Knots in textiles
Many types of textiles use knots to repair damage. One form of textiles, macrame is generated exclusively through the use of knotting, instead of knits, crochets, weaves or felting. Macrame can produce self-supporting three dimensional textile structures, as well as flat work, and is often used ornamentally or decoratively.
Knots in ropes
In Ropework, the frayed end of a rope is held together by a type of knot called a whipping knot.
- Standing end
- The end of the rope not involved in making the knot, often shown as unfinished.
- Standing part
- Section of line between knot and the standing end.
- Working end
- The active end of a line used in making the knot. May also be called the 'running end' or 'live end'.
- Working part
- Section of line between knot and the working end.
- Bitter end
- More a ropeworker's term than a knot term, the reference is to the end of a rope that is tied off, hence the expression "to the bitter end". A bitt is a metal block with a crosspin used for tying lines to, found on docks.
- The center part of a length of rope, string, or yarn (cf knitting and knitting needle) as opposed to the ends. The definition changes depending on whether the definite or indefinite article is used:
- "The bight" is any portion of the rope, string, or yarn between its two ends.
- "A bight" is a U-shaped loop used in making a knot or stitch. Many knots, such as the bowline can be tied in either the end or the bight.
- A full circle formed by passing the working end over itself.
- Two crossing points created by an extra twist in a loop.
- Knot efficiency
- The approximate strength of a rope with a given knot as compared to the rope's strength without the knot, expressed at a percentage. A rope containing a knot is weaker than an unknotted rope, because the loops of the knot impose uneven stresses upon the rope fibers. The tighter the knot, the more uneven the stress.
The list of knots is extensive but there are some general properties common to the various knot categories. For example, loop knots share the attribute of having some kind of an anchor point constructed on the standing end (such as a loop or overhand knot) into which the working end is easily hitched to using a round turn . An example of this is the bowline. Constricting knots often rely on friction to cinch down tight on loose bundles; an example would be the clove hitch.
Knots may belong to more than one category.
- A knot uniting two lines (for knots joining two ends of the same line, see binding knots or loops). List of bends.
- A knot that restricts object(s) by making multiple winds. List of binding knots.
- Knots used to tie up lines for storage. List of coil knots.
- A complex knot exhibiting repeating patterns often constructed around and enhancing an object. List of decorative knots .
- A knot tied to a post, cable, ring, or spar. List of hitch knots.
- A knot used to hold (usually) poles together. List of lashing knots.
- A knot used to create a closed circle in a line. List of loop knots.
- A number of lines interwoven in a simple regular pattern. List of plait knots .
- A knot tied with a hitch around one of its parts, contrasted. with a loop, which is closed with a bend. A running knot can be closed, a loop remains the same size. List of running knots.
- A knot used to hold two lines or two parts of the same line together. List of seizing knots.
- A number of lines interwoven in a complex pattern. List of sennit knots.
- A knot formed by interweaving strands of rope rather than whole lines. More time consuming but usually stronger than simple knots. List of splices.
- A knot tied to hold a line through a hole. List of stopper knots.
- A binding knot used to prevent another line from fraying.
- A knot that is used as part of a magic trick, a joke, or a puzzle. List of trick knots.
Some knots have multiple names. For example, the overhand knot is also known as the thumb knot. The figure-of-eight knot is also known as the savoy knot or the Flemish knot. All three are the same knot.
For a list of knots see List of knots.