Knotty Notions

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) But maybe the difference is in the tying method even if the end result is identical. The method that gives you the two strand diamond knot can be extended to give you a three, four, five, etc, etc diamond knot. While the method that gives you the single button knot and extends into the double button knot, triple, quadruple, etc, etc is not the same. I’ve tried it, the exact method used to generate the multi-strand diamond knot when reduced to 2 strands is most definitely not the same knot usually identified as the two strand diamond knot (that being the Chinese button knot). I’m being awfully repetitive here, but naming practices grown organically by multiple parties over centuries just defy precision and disambiguation.

The important thing to take away from all this, however, is that the four strand diamond knot looks almost identical to the Chinese button knot as my letter ‘Y’ demonstrates. The top branches of the ‘Y’ were started separately as a series of button knots, then the four ends were joined into four strand diamond knots, a four strand diamond sinnet.

I had a look at my Ashley and the chapter on chains and sinnets does not include a formal definition of the word “sinnet” as related to knots. Even the web is kinda unhelpful in this regard. So here’s my definition: a sinnet is a braid or chain created by a series of knots, usually the same knot repeated over and over.

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