I was never a Boy Scout or in the Navy, so until I was 24 the only knots I knew were the Reef and Bow. But when I joined the local caving club it became necessary for me to learn a couple more, particularly the Bowline. So I bought a book, Knotting and Splicing, Ropes and Cordage, edited by Paul Hasluck and Eric Franklin. From this text I learned the basics and when I joined the local Civil Defence rescue team I knew more knots than the instructor, about 10 as I recall. I was eventually sent off to train as a Rescue Instructor which naturally involved a lot of rope-handling.
Two years involvement with competitive yachting increased my experience with handling rope but sod-all knotting. I was introduced to the art of splicing by a workmate and was given ABOK by my lady wife one Christmas. Early in the 1980s I learned of the IGKT and applied for membership. The book collection grew slowly and the funds generated for doing some forensic knot work were used to enlarge the collection considerably. Gifts from family and friends and the odd purchase now see the collection at over 200 books. Knot nut?
While I was playing with knots my wife was collecting small teddy bears. These were made from many kinds of material and she challenged me to make one out of string. This initiated the development of over 20 animals and the production of three books on the subject with help from IGKT members, Sam Lanham, Ron Hacker and Bud Brewer in particular. Development of the FEGs (effigies) was a natural evolution from the animals. When I retired I was approached to help in the restoration and maintenance of the ketch SV May Queen, built in 1867. They don’t build them like that any more.
Two projects that have been in the works for many years are investigations into knot stability and the development of a knot catalogue. Both keep me mentally occupied and out of the pub.