Knot Throwing

One twist on knotting comes from trick knotting and slight of hand. This represents a special group in knotting interests. The followng description of knot throwing was posted in rec.crafts.knots by John Rauser and is quoted with his permission.

It is challenging but just the sort of thing to catch a youngsters interest when teaching the subject.

After all knotting can be fun.



Subject: Knot throwing tutorial
Date: 21 May 1997 17:41:27 GMT
From: (John Rauser)
Organization: (missing)
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.knots

Ok.. here goes. John Rauser's treatise on basic knot throwing. I
wrote all this myself, and I'm mostly self taught, so I may be making
this stuff harder that it needs to be. I'd appreciate any feedback
you can give me.

I should thank Andrew Conway for introducing me to knot throwing, and
Ochen Kaylan for teaching me a bunch of cool knots when he came back
from the '95? Portland juggling festival (where the gym pass was a
Mr. String). 

First, some obligatory knot throwing humor. Shortly after I learned
about knot throwing, I went around asking people at my local club if
they knew any cool knots they could teach me. One guy, Jon Poppele, I
think, said something like "Oh yeah, knot throwing... you know I
heard people talking about that for years before I figured out they
didn't mean contact juggling."

BTW, I use an approximately 3' length of 3/16-1/4 inch braided nylon
string for this stuff. I think Bruce Kate (Mr. String) uses thinner
string, but I've only seen him on video (totally amazing).

Now for the knots...

1. Overhand knot. The basic one handed knot. Also happens to be
about the hardest one handed knot I know (that I can actually pull off).

Hold string between the index finger and thumb of your right hand, let
the free end dangle. In one smooth action, draw an upsidedown capital
U with the right hand. The situation is now as shown below: About two
thirds of the string (the part closest to your hand) goes up and forms
the upsidedown U, and the remaining third is below your hand. The
proportions here are important, one third should be going up from your
hand, one third should be going down from the peak of the upsidedown U
to about the level of your hand, and the last third should be below
the level of your hand.

Now, continuing in the smooth motion, you tap the descending part of the loop with your index finger about a third of the total length of the string from the free end. Remember, the whole motion should be nice and smooth! If you did it right, the upsidedown U becomes a closed loop where you tapped the string, and the resulting wave will make the free end flip to the side and through the loop, and voila! you have a knot. When it works, it's almost too fast to see. As a beginner, you won't know if it worked until it's all over and the string is hanging there knotted or not. 
Probably took me 30-40 tries to get it the first time. It's still about a 1 in 3 proposition for me. 2. Two handed throw the end through the loop Hold the both ends of the string between the index finger and thumb of your hands, as shown:
Quickly move your right hand in a circle counter clockwise to make loop that will travel the length of the string. Throw the end you hold in your left hand through the loop. Easy. 3. Over the arm knot Hold the string between the index and middle fingers of your right hand, and let the free end hang down. Stick your arm out so that it is parallel to the ground, and your elbow is bent a little more than 90 degrees. Now swing the string backwards, around the back of your arm, such that the free end goes into the hole created by your lower arm, upper arm, and the part of the string that goes from your hand to your upper arm. It should look something like this (from above): 
There is now a loop of string that goes all the way round your arm. Slide that loop off your arm and as you do, make sure the end you hold in your right hand passes through the arm loop, and you've done it. It pretty easy to do sloppily, but very hard to do quickly and smoothly.  4. Quick-n-easy one hand knot Hold out your right hand palm up. Lay the string across your palm, and let one end dangle down between the pinky and ring fingers, and the other end should dangle between the thumb and index finger. Now turn your hand palm down bringing the thumb over the top, and grab what used to be the thumb string with the index and middle fingers. There is a loop that goes across the back of your hand, slip that loop off, and you're done. What could be easier? Only impressive if you do it really fast. 5. Flashy version of the Quick-n-easy Hold the both ends of the string between the index finger and thumb of your hands, as shown:
Throw the string about six inches straight up, and give it just a tiny bit of clockwise helicopter action when releasing the string. Quickly stick your right hand palm down under the string in the middle so that as it comes down, the ends swing down underneath your hand and back up on opposite sides. With your right index and middle fingers grab the end of the string that comes up on left side (but was originally on the right side). If you gave a little bit of helicopter, the string that started out on the right side passed behind the the string that started out on the left side, and is now held in your fingers, and there is a loop running across the back of your hand. Slip this loop off your hand and you've got a knot. This is pretty easy and looks very cool. -John Rauser