Knotting Basics

International Guild of Knot Tyers

As a general term, 'knot' includes all configurations made in a cord or line (or other material). However, when naming knots, the term knot is used in a more specific way. The knotting 'family' is best explained by the following diagrams made by IGKT Member Tim Field:

The rope is tied to itself

Making a bulky part in a rope to stop it passing through an object or to stop the strands unlayingStopper Knots Joining the ends of a single rope around an object or objects. The knot 'bears upon' the objectBinding KnotsWhippings, lashings and seizing are special types of binding knot. A single loop or more than one loop that does not close under strain.Fixed Loops Knots that slide, closing the loop under strain or allowing it to be opened.Slip Loops
  • Thumb knot
  • Figure of eight knot
  • Oysterman's knot
  • Heaving line knots also make weight at the end of a rope:
  • Barrel knot
  • Monkey's fist
  • Loaded Turk's Head
  • Reef knot
  • Surgeon's knot
  • Packer's knot
  • Constrictor knot
Whippings for binding rope ends:
Admiralty whipping
West Country whipping
Palm & needle whipping
Lashings for binding spars:
Square/Japanese Diagonal/Filipino
Sheer lashing
Tripod l
  • Seizing for binding ropes:
  • Flat seizing
  • Round seizing
  • Bowline
  • Artillery loop
  • Figure of 8 loop
  • Fireman's chair knot
  • Alpine Butterfly knot
  • Running Bowline
  • Honda knot
  • Handcuff knot
  • Jar sling
  • Hangman's knot
BENDS… join endsHITCHES… tie to something elseSHORTENINGSSPLICES
Joining the ends of two ropes. The knot must hold, even when jerked in mid-air. Unlike a binding knot, a bend does not have to bear upon an object.Bends Attaching the middle of a rope to an object when there is strain on both sides of the knot.Middle Htiches Attaching the end of a rope to an object - a ring, a post, a bollard, a peg or even another rope.End Hitches Taking up the slack in a rope. Working with the constituent parts of the rope - disturbing the structure and intertwining the strands.Splices
  • Sheet bend
  • Carrick bend
  • Fishermans 'knot'
  • Hunter's bend

For different thicknesses:

  • Racking bend
  • Bowline bend
  • Clove hitch
  • Marlinspike hitch

Various other hitches are adapted as 'crossing hitches' Blackwall from other knots:

  • Mooring hitch
  • Constrictor knot
  • Cat's paw
  • Lark's Head
  • Timber hitch
  • Becket hitch
  • Round turn and two half hitches
  • Anchor hitch (Fisherman's 'bend')
  • Buntline hitch
To a hook:
Blackwall hitch
Highwayman's hitch
Lengthwise pull:
Rolling hitch
Increase tension:
Waggoner's hitch (Harvester's hitch)
  • Sheepshank
  • Chain shortening
  • Bellringer's knot
  • Eye splice
  • Short splice
  • Long splice
  • Cut splice
  • Back splice
  • Chain splice
  • Tucked splice