Basic Bits -
The basics characteristics of a useful knot
are generally considered to be:
a. Easy to Tie
b. Easy to untie
c. Secure under load
Some other points to consider -
a. Most knots can be tied in more than one
way. Therefore one method is no more right than the
other as long as the end results are the same.
b. Most symmetrical knots have merit.
c. Left-hand or Right -hand knots (i.e. mirror
image) are usually equally strong versions of the same knot. Use the one
that is easiest for you to tie.
d. Many knots are relatives to each other.
For example the bowline is a loop version of the sheet bend. Considering
that, we can derive many loops from bends and vice versa.
e. Extra half hitches or turns help in many
cases. For example, three inside hitches (instead of two) help to secure
a tautline in slippery material.
f. A library of 10 or so knots will serve
most purposes if you are creative in their use. Add others as need arises.
g. A knot is most useful when it can be tied
easily and without much effort. The only way to achieve this result is
practice, practice, and more practice. Can you do them with your eyes closed?
h. Knowledge of strength of ropes is essential
where safety is a consideration. Add at least one book that addresses this
subject to your library.
a. Competence by the teacher inspires student
confidence that it can be done.
b. Knots are best observed if the student
can observe from the tier's perspective. Therefore, is best for the student
to look over the teachers shoulder or some similar perspective rather than
c. When possible using two cords different
colors helps the student see the structure of the knot.
d. If teaching a group, use the largest rope
practical in order to be easily seen.
e. A small piece of cord in the pocket can
provides the opportunity for learning and teaching. It can also provide
entertainment in slow moments. I call it a "pet rope".
f. Spaghetti. I know you are not supposed
to play with your food but this is an interesting media for knot cards
and boards. There are competitive possibilities as well.
g. Think of brief verbal clues that aid in
remembering the knot. For example, for the bowline, " The rabbit comes
out of the hole, around the tree, and back into the hole." Silly but
h. Use your knots in the outdoor program.
Example is the best incentive and teacher for the boys. Emphasize practical
i The more you know, the better teacher you
Jack Keene - September 1994