List of decorative knots

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Monkey's fist knot Knot Monkey Fist.jpg
Monkey's fist knot

A decorative or ornamental knot (also fancy knot [1] ) is an often complex knot exhibiting repeating patterns. A decorative knot is generally a knot that not only has practical use but is also known for its aesthetic or ornamental qualities. [2] Often originating from maritime use, "decorative knots are not only serviceable and functional but also enhance the ship-shape appearance of any vessel." [3] Decorative knots may be used alone or in combination, [4] and may consist of single or multiple strands. [5] [6]


Though the word decorative sometimes implies that little or no function is served, the craft of decorative knot tying generally combines both form and function. [5]

Coxcombing is decorative knotwork performed by sailors during the Age of Sail to dress-up, protect, or help identify specific items and parts of ships and boats.


This is an alphabetical list of decorative knots.

See also

Bellrope Klockstropp1.jpg

Related Research Articles

Knot Method of fastening or securing linear material

A knot is an intentional complication in cordage which may be practical or decorative, or both. Practical knots are classified by function, including hitches, bends, loop knots, and splices: a hitch fastens a rope to another object; a bend fastens two ends of a rope to each another; a loop knot is any knot creating a loop, and splice denotes any multi-strand knot, including bends and loops. A knot may also refer, in the strictest sense, to a stopper or knob at the end of a rope to keep that end from slipping through a grommet or eye. Knots have excited interest since ancient times for their practical uses, as well as their topological intricacy, studied in the area of mathematics known as knot theory.

Tatting Craft of making lace with loops and knots using a small shuttle

Tatting is a technique for handcrafting a particularly durable lace from a series of knots and loops. Tatting can be used to make lace edging as well as doilies, collars, accessories such as earrings and necklaces, and other decorative pieces. The lace is formed by a pattern of rings and chains formed from a series of cow hitch or half-hitch knots, called double stitches, over a core thread. Gaps can be left between the stitches to form picots, which are used for practical construction as well as decorative effect.

Celtic knot

Celtic knots are a variety of knots and stylized graphical representations of knots used for decoration, used extensively in the Celtic style of Insular art. These knots are most known for their adaptation for use in the ornamentation of Christian monuments and manuscripts, such as the 8th-century St. Teilo Gospels, the Book of Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels. Most are endless knots, and many are varieties of basket weave knots.

Anglers loop

An angler's loop, otherwise known as a perfection loop, is a type of knot which forms a fixed loop. Useful for fine or slippery line, it is one of the few loop knots which holds well in bungee cord. It is quite secure, but it jams badly and is not suitable if the knot will need to be untied.

Double bowline

A double bowline is a type of loop knot. Instead of the single turn of the regular bowline, the double bowline uses a round turn. This forms a more secure loop than a standard bowline.

Carrick bend

The Carrick bend, also known as the Sailor's breastplate, is a knot used for joining two lines. It is particularly appropriate for very heavy rope or cable that is too large and stiff to be easily formed into other common bends. It will not jam even after carrying a significant load or being soaked with water.

Chinese knotting

Chinese knotting is a decorative handcraft art that began as a form of Chinese folk art in the Tang and Song dynasty in China. The technique was later popularized in the Ming dynasty and subsequently spread to Japan, Korea, Singapore and other parts of Asia. This art is also called "Chinese traditional decorative knots". In other cultures, it is known as "decorative knots".

Macramé Technique of knotting cords or thick yarns to make lace or fringe

Macramé is a form of textile produced using knotting techniques.

Sheet bend

The sheet bend is a bend. It is practical for joining lines of different diameter or rigidity.

Stopper knot

A stopper knot is a knot that creates a fixed thicker point on an otherwise-uniform thickness rope for the purpose of preventing the rope, at that point, from slipping through a narrow passage, such as a hole in a block. To pass a rope through a block, or hole, is to reeve it. To pull it out is to unreeve it. Stopper knots prevent the rope from unreeving on its own.

Wall and crown knot

A wall and crown knot is a decorative kind of rope button. The original use of the knot was to put at the end of the ropes on either side of a gangway leading onto a ship as stoppers.

672. ...the wall and crown knot...was mentioned by Moore in 1801. The wall is tied first, and then a crown is superimposed.

Turks head knot

A Turk's head knot, more commonly known as a sailor's knot, is a decorative knot with a variable number of interwoven strands forming a closed loop. The name refers to a general family of knots, not an individual knot. While this knot is typically made around a cylinder, it can also be formed into a flat, mat-like shape. Some variants can be arranged into a roughly spherical shape, akin to a monkey's fist knot.

Half hitch

The half hitch is a simple overhand knot, where the working end of a line is brought over and under the standing part. Insecure on its own, it is a valuable component of a wide variety of useful and reliable hitches, bends, and knots.

Cow hitch

The cow hitch, also called the lark's head, is a hitch knot used to attach a rope to an object. The cow hitch comprises a pair of half-hitches tied in opposing directions, as compared to the clove hitch in which the half-hitches are tied in the same direction. It has several variations and is known under a variety of names. It can be tied either with the end of the rope or with a bight.

Halter hitch

The halter hitch is a type of knot used to connect a rope to an object. As the name implies, an animal's lead rope, attached to its halter, may be tied to a post or hitching rail with this knot. The benefit of the halter hitch is that it can be easily released by pulling on one end of the rope, even if it is under tension. Some sources show the knot being finished with the free end running through the slipped loop to prevent it from working loose or being untied by a clever animal, still allowing easy but not instant untying.

Two half-hitches

Two half-hitches is a type of knot, specifically a binding knot or hitch knot. One variety consists of an overhand knot tied around a post, followed by a half-hitch. This knot is less often referred to as a clove hitch over itself, double half-hitch, or full-hitch.

Two half hitches is the commonest of all hitches for mooring in particular and also for general utility. Steel gives the name in 1794. The difference between two half hitches and the clove hitch is that the former, after a single turn around a spar, is made fast around its own standing part, while the latter is tied directly around the spar.

The Shakespeare knot, a type of decorative unknot, is a heraldic knot. It is a derivative of the Bowen knot and closely akin to the Dacre knot. The knot is most notable for its appearance on the Shakespeare badge.

Interlace (art) Decorative element of bands or portions of other motifs looped, braided, and knotted in complex geometric patterns

In the visual arts, interlace is a decorative element found in medieval art. In interlace, bands or portions of other motifs are looped, braided, and knotted in complex geometric patterns, often to fill a space. Interlacing is common in the Migration period art of Northern Europe, especially in the Insular art of Ireland and the British Isles and Norse art of the Early Middle Ages and in Islamic art.


  1. Owen, Peter (1994). The Book of Decorative Knots. Globe Pequot. p. 6. ISBN   978-1-55821-304-3 . Retrieved 2010-02-18.
  2. Owen (1994), p.125. Access date: 2010-02-18. "They can be used for practical purposes or pure decoration.
  3. Owen (1994), p.11.
  4. Owen, Peter (2003). The Ultimate Book of Knots: More Than Two-Hundred Practical and Decorative Knots, p.493. Globe Pequot. ISBN   9781592281602.
  5. 1 2 Penn, Randy (2004). The Everything Knots Book: Step-By-Step Instructions for Tying Any Knot, p.189. Everything Books. ISBN   9781440522772.
  6. Randall, Peter (2012). The Craft of the Knot: From Fishing Knots to Bowlines and Bends, a Practical Guide to Knot Tying and Usage, p.29. Adams Media. ISBN   9781440552502.