Author Topic: Knot Tying course  (Read 12366 times)

Phil_The_Rope

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Knot Tying course
« on: January 09, 2008, 03:42:46 PM »
Hi Folks, and a Happy New Year to you all!

I have been asked to present a one day course in August 2008. The course is entitled "Get Knotted - Create a Bell Rope". It is meant for total beginners, so hopefully I can attract a few new members to the Guild.

Whilst I have plenty of teaching and training experience, this will be my first formal "knotty" course. I'd be pleased to hear from anyone who has specific experience in classroom teaching of decorative knots - any experiences that might help me plan ahead for potential pitfalls (apart from students developing blisters!) would be most welcome!

Depending on the room and facilities available, I would like to set up a live video feed onto a big screen to help demonstrate techniques, but I'm also open to any suggestions you may have to make the day go smoothly.

Thanks in advance,

Phil The Rope
http://www.gr8-knots.com

Fairlead

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Re: Knot Tying course
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2008, 04:16:40 PM »
Hi Phil,
Two from me:
1. Keep it Simple
2. The speed of a convoy is the speed of the slowest ship

Good Luck

Gordon

Tom

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Re: Knot Tying course
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2008, 04:33:57 PM »
and, though I am very envious of your proposed live big screen, I have another convoy caution: it took 'Our Boys' longer to reach Egypt in 1956, than it took Nelson to make the same journey. Make sure you have a big table in reserve!
x

Phil_The_Rope

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Re: Knot Tying course
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2008, 04:52:53 PM »
Thanks Guys!

Good advice, as I would have expected from knotting chums. As I've said in the words I supplied to the college, knotty folks are an elite fraternity that are friendly and always keen to help.

I've just emailed Des and Liz Pawson at Footrope Knots for their advice on "friendly" materials - my biggest fear really is the blisters! It's sometimes easy to forget how tough knot tying can be on the digits, even when you're experienced.

The college has been very helpful and cooperative too - they recognise that this is a new, unusual course and are quite willing to keep numbers down to make life easier on this first attempt.

Live feed to a big screen - although not essential for a small number of students, it's something I'd like to try in case I can provide courses to larger audiences in the future.

I also mentioned in my email to Footrope Knots that I will hand out an "Information Pack" at the end of the course to make it easy for students to find materials, tools and resources in order to carry on knotting. My aim is also to provide a DVD demonstrating the techniques learned - no point getting home and not being able to remember how to do something! The Information Pack will include details about the IGKT - any other suggestions?

Thanks again,

Phil The Rope
http://www.gr8-knots.com

squarerigger

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Re: Knot Tying course
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2008, 05:07:42 PM »
Hi Phil,

Good luck with your course and I wish you every joy of it!  It sounds like you have all the bases covered.  As with other journeys - one step at a time and practice, practice, practice your presentation!  I have been teaching mixed groups (adult + child) for some time now and I think your idea of a big screen is good - be sure that the camera is placed over your shoulder so that what the student sees is what you see and be sure the feed is reliable and the screen is behind you!

Other hints I have found useful:

Be sure that you do not attempt to teach too many steps at a time - take each cord slowly and deliberately.
I imagine that making a star knot is not going to be high on your list of knots to teach beginners?
The Matthew Walker too presents some difficulties for spatially challenged individuals - they cannot imagine how one knot gets tied inside another.
Do you have a helper?  If your group is larger than about ten you will have a hard time getting to everyone, and it is then useful to have someone else who can guide the students close at hand so that the slower ones do not feel left behind.
I suggest strongly NOT waiting for everyone to catch up, but rather to re-direct those who are slower on the uptake to make a different knot (everyone does not have to make the same) otherwise the weak ones will give up, feeling like they are holding up everyone else.
Watch all the students from the start - the slower ones will soon be evident, because they will not have a clue where to start or with which end of the string.
Be prepared to put in some substitute knots for when their frustration level gets so high that they give up altogether.
Use a reasonably stiff cord, so that less nimble fingers can adapt to what may be an entirely new medium.
Watch out for the know-it-all - they can ruin an otherwise pleasant experience for everyone else.  If you find one, re-direct their activity to helping one other person.
Avoid saying things like "S-part" or using other "knottese" - it confuses people and they don't want to learn a whole new language at the same time as they are learning a manual skill.  Do throw in a FEW words, like saying what a loop is or what a working end is.
Be sure you have plenty of room to stand or sit alongside the students.

Plenty more where that came from - so good luck once again!  You have a great presentation style and I think you will have great success!

SR

Fairlead

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Re: Knot Tying course
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2008, 06:55:39 PM »
Phil,
I am not far away if you need any help - e-mail me IGKTLibrary@aol.com

Gordon

Phil_The_Rope

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Re: Knot Tying course
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2008, 07:07:32 PM »
Hi SR!

(Apologies to those who think some of us are too keen to reply to posts, but repetition (ok, rambling too) sometimes helps to emphasise main issues. Bouncing ideas in the forum will help me produce a course that students will enjoy.)

You raise some interesting points!

"Know it all" - I'm guilty! I once attended a one-hour "knot tying course" on a cruise ship. I wore my "Phil The Rope" T-shirt and asked if the bosun had heard of the IGKT (he hadn't). He was only teaching a few basic knots (bowline, reef, sheet bend etc), and wasn't really teaching anything about their applications, it was just for a bit of fun. I confess that I did start to interfere, but thankfully realised soon enough that I wasn't helping, and held back. Even as a non-practical knotter, I knew more than the teacher, but so what? He was providing entertainment to a group of novices, and they enjoyed his presentation, so why should I spoil it? Unfortunately, as you say, there are some who will possibly try to take over. I will watch out for that.

Camera position - yes, I'm grateful to those on the forum who helped me get the videos sorted for my web site, and I'm now more aware of what's required. Just because you spend ages producing something, it doesn't mean it can't be improved.

Star Knot? You're absolutely correct - it's not on my list! It's one of my favourite knots, and I can't understand now why I found it so difficult to learn, but I do remember it took me ages to master all those years ago.

Some of your hints I've already thought about, but the fact that you mention them really does make me think hard about certain things.

Matthew Walker - hmmm ... this is one I really do want to use. I'll certainly limit it to four strands to start with (in fact, for this one day course I don't expect to get beyond four strands for anything).

My ambitions will be limited. Simple knots that can be strung together (forgive the expression) to construct a simple bell rope is the main aim. I remember constructing my first light-pull many years ago, and I was SO proud of the end result, even though it consisted of nothing more than a four-strand braid. The vital thing for this course will be to ensure students can start and finish the bell rope - what goes in between is almost a bonus!

I will certainly have some "extra stuff" up my sleeve just in case people catch on quickly, but I will try to keep things simple initially. If everyone can tie a simple bell rope with a (very) limited number of knots then I'll be happy (and so will they I hope). If one or two are able to learn something more compicated that's great, but it won't stop the others constructing something less complicated. You are absolutely right about people giving up if they find it difficult - I MUST endeavour to teach the slowest learner something to take home which he or she can be proud of.

Cord - yes, this is a dilema! Stiff cord does indeed produce a more uniform end result, but can also be hard on the fingers. I await Des and Liz's recommendations!

A helper - what a fantastic idea! As I said, the college will keep the numbers down (probably 6 for this first attempt, which I know will make you all groan with jealousy). So, at least on this course, I will manage without a helper, but you've planted a very useful seed for any future, more adventurous courses.

So, what next ...?

I'd really appreciate your thoughts on what knots are appropriate and easy (or easier, at least) to learn in order to construct a simple bell rope. This will really help - thanks!

Regards,

Phil
http://ww.gr8-knots.com

Willeke

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Re: Knot Tying course
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2008, 11:27:52 PM »
I think you know my site, but it might help to remind you that many of us have simple bellropes or key-fobs that are almost bellropes on our sites.
Mine are here:
http://knopen.ismijnhobby.nl/tables/fob_table.html

Search or use your bookmarks and mix and match from our sites.

And when you write that reminder sheet, use pictures that work the same way as you teach, (or as your principle way of teaching.) If you can not find that way on the normal knot sites, Scoubidou and Boondoggle sites have many of same basic knots but often a different way of showing or even tying them.

Willeke
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Phil_The_Rope

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Re: Knot Tying course
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2008, 12:04:02 PM »
Hi Willeke

Thanks - yes, there should be lots of inspiration on members' sites, and I'll be sure to include links in the Information Pack.

The course is entitled "Create a Bell Rope" - it was dilema deciding whether to say key ring, light pull etc. As you say, a simple key fob is actually a small bell rope anyway. The ones you gave a link to are absolutely ideal for them to start with - I am sure every student will be able to tie a simple key ring by the end of the morning session, and will be delighted with the results if they've never tied one before.

I'll need to put together a number of possible items, ranging from very simple to something a little more complicated. Ideally, I'd like to be able to teach them how to tie the bell rope in my "Videos" section on my web site, but that is possibly too ambitious for a day course, especially the diamond knots. I think the most difficult part is starting and finishing an item, so that's a priority for the course.

Keep your thoughts and ideas coming - I do appreciate them.

Regards,

Phil
http://www.gr8-knots.com

Willeke

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Re: Knot Tying course
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2008, 10:56:24 PM »
Here are some loose thoughts, I can not seem to make them into one whole, so I just put them as they are.

For starting, remember the trick with the safety pin, masking tape or artery clamp, (I think the clamp is the least useful for this) fixing the strands together.

Working in colours shows mistakes better, can be an advanage or not.

Have them do a 4 strand diamond knot before tryin a more difficult one, (in case we talk about different knots by the same name, this is what I call a diamond:
http://knopen.ismijnhobby.nl/tables/diamont-4_table.html
http://knopen.ismijnhobby.nl/tables/variation_diamont_table.html
In these two links you find two different ways of making the knot, one building them in one go, the other letting it grow. I find that most people take to one or the other, not many can handle both when starting diamonds. But once they have done one with 4 strands they understand can often handle bigger numbers of strands, as long as they can build them the same way.

For simple bellropes, use 6 or at most 8 strands of fairly thick string.

If they can not get a real finishing knot, put a whipping under the last knot and let the ends fray under that.
But it does show better if there is a big knot above the whipping.

Have some tools there that the people can use, but also have some simple home remedies like a hairpin, a knitting needle and a screw driver, if you know how to use them.
It is great to work with gripfits and threaded needles, but remember that your students will not have those when back home. And if you show them some tools they will have at hand or can buy for little money, they will be grateful later.

Willeke
"Never underestimate what a simple person can do with clever tools,
nor what a clever person can do with simple tools." - Ian Fieggen

Writer of A booklet on lanyards, available from IGKT supplies.

CPO

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Re: Knot Tying course
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2008, 04:15:08 PM »
It sounds like a lot of fun.  Hopefully the student to teacher ratio won't be to big.

Is the goal for the class that each student will have made a bellrope?  May I suggest that for the students that fall behind you could have them make key fobs.  Either way at the end of the day, each student will have a completed project.

Good luck,
Jim

 

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