Neon knots

We recently bought some 2mm rainbow/neon coloured satin cord. Partly to make a rope toy for our cat, Smoky. And partly so I could indulge my fondness for knots. Here are just a few examples, including the sheepshank. What is a sheep’s hank? I hear you ask. Visit your local butcher’s, I reply. He will know far better than I 🙂

For anyone needing a tad more etail, the knots in this gallery are the bowline, butterfly loop, zeppelin bend, sheepshank, figure eight loop, and two views of a three part, four bight turk’s head, also known as a ‘woggle’. Happy now?

Yarntropy, the scientific facts about yarn barfs.

Knitting and the laws of thermodynamics. I bet you thought they had nothing to do with each other, didn’t you?

But think a little longer, and you will soon realise that knitting (or even crochet) is closely related to the scientific laws of heat. If you’ve ever knitted a sweater or (Hello, Shana 🙂 ) a pair of socks in order to keep warm, then the connection is obvious, isn’t it?

But there’s even more of a link between knitting and all that science, and this will explain why most knitters (including the CraftShack’s very own Shana this morning)  are sometimes bedevilled by the dreaded yarn barf. Shana went to fetch a ball of yarn for a new project and opened the drawer only to find what looked like a nest of vipers inside. Her skills as the numero uno Destroyer of Yarn Barfs luckily saved the day.

Thermodynamics explains clearly why yarn barfs happen. It’s all to do with something called ‘entropy’. Nature tends to progress from a state of order to one of disorder. Well, that’s basically what the science says, and who am I to argue?

But why let scientists hog all the best words? Shouldn’t all those woolly acrylic tangles have their own scientific explanation and a fancy word to go with it?

Well now they do.

Let the physicists keep their entropy. Knitters, crocheters, and any other stick-wielding fibre addict can now adopt the following term:


So, don’t tie yourself in knots wondering why your nice neat yarn stash has suddenly rearranged itself into the world’s most impossible mess. It’s just the way the cosmos works. It’s simply yarntropy in action.

Monkey’s first

Just tried a “monkey’s fist” knot.  This is the first one I’ve tried at this size and it had six passes (ie, I wound it six times round with each change of direction) and the inner core was a polystyrene sphere a couple of inches in diameter. The tying was easy enough, although I had a few false starts using some silver-grey metallic yarn, in the hope of making a small glitterball. I eventually succeeded by switching to some thicker braided cordage we bought a few weeks ago.


With this knot, the real art is in tightening it neatly. I’m still practising that part of it, although I did recently make a rather nice smaller version of the knot, complete with a catnip ball at the core, for Smoky to play with. He seems to enjoy it and there’s little danger of his getting at the innards any time soon 🙂


T-shaped Turks Head Knots and How To Tie Them

Today, you will learn how to tie the T-shaped Turk’s Head knot.

On the Internet you can find lots of different Turk’s Head knots, but you rarely find the T-shaped version. Decorate a tool handle  with it (if you want to have the fanciest spade down at the allotments 🙂 ) or tie one on a car steering wheel Look around and see if you can find any other uses for it in your home, such as a bed headboard or footboard.

If you have never tied any turk’s head knots before, this may be a tricky one to start with, but the results are most rewarding.

tshapedthkb Continue reading “T-shaped Turks Head Knots and How To Tie Them”

Fobs, fobs, and more fobs

I have made a few colourful key fobs from time to time using a series of crown knots. Usually I tie them using four strands, but recently I went a bit mad and tied a six-strand crown knot sinnet. A bit fancy just for a couple of outhouse keys perhaps, but if you can’t give your own shed a bit of bling then it’s a great shame, isn’t it?


And here’s one a tied a while back when I was first getting the hang of those fiendish Turk’s Head knots. This one has a large wooden bead inside it and I somehow managed to conceal it completely (which is what you should do).


I’m now just getting round to trying some “monkey’s fist” knots, with a view to doing more key fobs and also making a cat toy with a concealed catnip ball for Smoky to chase around. Progress updates will follow ‘as and when’. Best perhaps not to hold your breath 🙂

Better the dibber you know…

Doesn’t matter how old you are, you’re never too old to own a dibber. I acquired my first ever dibber only this week and I’m 1 years old (oh dear, I seem to have deleted the figure in the tens column but never mind eh? 🙂 ).

Stranger still, I have a dibber and I’m still not a gardener! So what was the thinking behind Shana’s forking out a whole two and a half English pounds to buy me this dibber? Well, it’s all to do with one of those dastardly Turks head knots that I wrote about a little while ago. The golden yellow 4 lead, 5 bight knot featured in that post can also be tied on a T-shaped handle. You could use it to decorate a tool handle, a fence rail, or even (depending on your choice of fancy cordage) a car steering wheel, if you think of a wheel spoke and where it meets the wheel rim as another kind of T shape.

To practice, I needed something suitable. Which is how this dibber came to me. Here’s some old cordage by way of a sort of sample. Soon, you too shall learn how to tie this knot…

Oh, and if anyone has suddenly been stricken with dibber envy, I can reveal that it is a Silverline dibber. Only the best here at the CraftShack, of course.