Knotty Notions

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Fantastic Knots: Hellspark by Janet Kagan

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.

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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)

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Today's blog is also brought to you by the letter 'T'

blue mystic letter T knot A simple modification of a mystic ‘+’ from Lydia Chen’s Chinese Knotting 2 gives us a nice ‘T’. There was nothing inherently difficult about the process, but I had to retie it a few times because I kept miscounting and ending up with one side longer than the other (not paying enough attention while doing). Also, in trying to keep the stem and crossbar join crisp, I ended up tightening the whole works a bit more that I would like, in final analysis.

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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.

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Today's blog is brought to you by the letter 'O'

yellow letter O tied in a bao knot Next up yellow and the letter ‘O’. Obviously, for the letter ‘O’ we’d need a round knot. I had two initial thoughts: something big and sunny or a hollow round form. I started with a 8x3 bao knot but it really didn’t want to hold the form (cord too soft? fumble hands?) so I moved on to the 2x12 which had troubles of it’s own. When you have so very many ears with such a large centre, they can disappear on you. The centre loops can easily flip and the ears themselves can disappear into the centre in a confusing way. Also, because the centre is so crowded, it is difficult to make the centre structural loops to sit flat. As you can see, I eventually got the 2x12 bao to behave. More or less. But I’m still not sure I’m happy with it. For one, the yellow is such an intense yellow that it encroaches on orange territory. Two, the crowding still gives it a feeling of… untidiness?

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