project diary

describing the genesis and progress of a project

My entertainment reading of choice is science fiction, fantasy, myths, legends, the occasional light horror if written by a favourite author, that sort of thing. As a general rule I stay out of the romance, mystery, fiction and literature areas of bookstores. I will often be found on the children/youth sections looking for books for the kids as well as myself (I have a particular soft spot for remixed fairy tales). Where knots intersect with fantastic fiction, well, it's a happy place for me.

A book I have just finished rereading (bed time story for Tiger for the last couple of weeks) is Hellspark by Janet Kagan, and therein the character of layli-layli calulan (a shaman of Y) ties and unties a "glittery koli thread" throughout the story (I have read this book many times in my life, but reading it out loud was just brutal if totally worth the effort 8). "Intricate" knots are tied in her "thread" as both meditation and ritual. When she is done, she pulls on both ends of her thread and all the knots come undone.

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Today's blog is brought to you by the letter 'Y'purple button knot and diamond sinnet letter Y One of the many names for the Chinese button knot is the one strand diamond knot. Strangely enough, the exact same knot can also be called the two strand diamond knot. This wackiness is due to the idea that if the top of the knot is a loop, then there is only one strand of cord tying the knot. If, instead, there are two separate cords instead of a loop at the top, then it is a knot tied in 2 cords, hence two strand button knot. It's a very fine distinction that I chose not to make most of the time (what exactly is it if you've tied it with one "strand" and then cut the top loop, eh? 8)

Today's blog is brought to you by the letter 'T'green double coin or carrick mat knotted letter t This was the last letter completed (although I am still fiddling with the letter 'O') because I knew I wanted to use inspiration from John Hensel's Book of Ornamental Knots but misplaced it a for good long while (sadly there seems to be distinct theme there). Using one of the epaulet type knots (will look up and correct later) for the crossbar merged with the infinitely extensible prolong knot for the stem, it ended up looking pretty much as envisaged. It felt quite like mathematical knotwork when pulling and stretching the cord during stem construction.

Today's blog is brought to you by the letter 'N'orange letter n tied with plafond and sauvastika knots Moving through the rainbow in a predictable Western sort of way (almost google-ish? 8) the letter 'N' is orange. I wanted each knot to be from a different knot family as well, and for the nicely straight parts of the 'N', the plafond seemed like a good choice. For the corners, something with more built in flexibility would be needed. When I look at the centre of the plafond knot, what I see is the centre of the sauvastika knot. Perhaps this follows logically from the fact that both are built out of interlinked simple overhand knots, but maybe not.

Happy 2010, brought to you by the letter 'K'red letter k tied with flower knots I meant to start last year with this series of knots, but I lost them in the fall move. Being one of those people, I stewed and searched instead of just retying them until late 2009. Of course, when I had retied 1.5 letters I then found the originals. Like wearing a rain coat to ensure that it won't rain that day, I should have started retying sooner. 8)

In any case, we start with a 'K'. Clever people like you can probably guess why, but if not, all will be revealed shortly. The 'K' is tied with a series of square flower knots with a hexagonal flower knot in the middle. I initially thought I might need to tie a heptagonal or octagonal flower for the centre to get the branches of the letter at the correct angle, but a test with a hexagonal centre proved to be close enough to perfect for the job.

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grey hexagonal stellar knot with little beadsback of grey hexagonal stellar knot with little beads The "back" side (see right) is the first side I worked on.

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the hexagonal stellar knot, overlap 1, with the centre bead in place Here's a progress shot of black version with the centre bead in place. Pretty, no? 8)

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hexagonal stellar knot type 2 tied in a shoelacehexagonal stellar knot type 2 sucessfully tied As previously mentioned, I decided to tie the hexagonal type 2 stellar knot with my nice and graphic shoelace in hopes of gaining insight as to what exactly was going wrong. As you can see from the picture to the left, I didn't succeed in tying the knot any better with the shoelace, but I did gain insight:
1) the type 2 is created by a process similar to extra overlapping in a standard flower knot