Knots Tutorial

Presented by Arbel, from the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Studio,
Instructions by Lexi, Content Development Group, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Overhand Knot

The basic knot for terminating stringing material. This knot lets you end your piece for use with a bead tip. You can also use this knot to connect threads going in the same direction. For example, this is how you tie the threads together when starting a kumihimo piece.

How: Make a loop with the thread or group of threads, and pass the end through the loop. Pull to tighten.

Figure 8 Knot

You might also see this type of knot called a figure-of-eight or Flemish knot. This knot is quick and easy to tie, but also easy to untie. A variation to try uses two cords held parallel while knotting to create a double (or paired) figure eight.

How: Move the cord end under the cord to create a loop, then pass the end under and through the loop. Tighten by pulling both sides to create an 8 shape.

Surgeon's Knot

This knot is what we recommend when you're ending a piece made with elastic cord, or any other slippery stringing material. The surgeon's knot is basically a square knot with an extra twist; providing more friction and therefore more security.

How: Bring the left cord over and around the right cord twice. Cross the right cord over the left cord, through the loop and pull to tighten.

Lark's Head

This knot is used to secure stringing material to another piece. Try using it to create a simple and stylish pendant or bracelet with a donut focal component. You can also use this knot to start a number of macramé techniques; it is also referred to as the mounting knot in macramé.

How: Fold your length of cord in half, pass the fold through the hole of your component, then pass the ends of the cord through the loop.

Adjustable Knot

This knot allows you to create necklaces and bracelets that are conveniently adjustable in length. Since a clasp isn't needed, this is a great technique when you're making pieces for those with metal allergies.

How: Make an overhand knot at both ends of your cord, near the tips. This gives the piece a finished look and keeps the adjustable knot from being pulled free. Make an overhand knot with the right cord around the left cord, go through the loop twice. Slide the knot you just made down to the end knot of the right cord. With the left cord, do the same knot around the right cord. Adjust the length of the design by pulling on the knots or the cord.

Half-Hitch Knot

This knot is generally used for decorative purposes, as it's not very secure. You might want to use this in macramé designs for an extra flair.

How: Pass one "working" cord behind and around one "anchor" cord forming a loop. Continue to pass the working cord through the loop then pull the cord tight. Repeat to wrap the same working cord around the anchor cord to create a double half-hitch knot.

Tip: Form a half-hitch or double half-hitch knot between strung beads, using the length of stringing cord as an anchor, to cushion the beads and as a decorative element.

Square Knot

This is a somewhat secure knot that most already know. Remember the rhyme? Right over left, left over right makes a square knot nice and tight. Because this knot is designed to be easily untied, you may only want to use this in low-strain applications. This can be used to temporarily connect two cords together but is more often seen as a decorative knot in macramé. You might recognize this look from parachute bracelets and shamballa-style bracelets.

How: Using two outside strands (working strands 1 and 4) over two inside strands (anchor strands 2 and 3).

Pass strand 1 over the anchor strands then pass strand 4 over strand 1, under the anchor strands and up through the loop (created by strand 1) then pull snug. (This is a half knot.)

Pass strand 4 over the anchor strands then pass strand 1 over strand 4, under the anchor strands and up through the loop (created by strand 4) then pull snug.

Note: You must alternate starting with strand 1 then strand 4 to get a flat pattern. If you start consistently with the same strand, the pattern will twist.

Fisherman's Knot

Similar to an adjustable knot, a fisherman's knot is used to securely join two pieces of thread together. Used often by seasoned anglers, the fisherman's knot is simple to tie--consisting of two overhand knots that are pulled together to tighten.
How: Hold the two separate pieces of thread with the ends facing each other. With the first thread, tie an overhand knot about five inches in from the end of the second thread. With the second thread, tie an overhand knot about five inches in from the end of the first thread. Pull the two knots together to create a firm hold (the knots should rest tight against each other).

Whipping Knot

This knot can be used to add decoration to a material, such as a pendant or bangle. You can also use this to create a different style of adjustable knot; just perform the steps around two cords that have been knotted at the tips like with the adjustable knot.

How: Cut a length of cord, about 10 inches; this is your binding cord.

Make an approximately 3/4 inch loop on one end of the cord. Place the loop parallel to the end of the cord(s) you are wrapping then hold it in place with your non-dominate thumb.

Wrap the loose end of the binding cord around the cord(s) and loop. Continue to make several wraps, making sure not to completely covering the loop.

Thread the end of the binding cord back through the loop and pull both ends tight to secure. Trim excess thread from the binding cord.

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