Tutorial 2: The Forward Knot

Let’s begin knotting!

We first will cut our string to around 2-meter lengths. This is the length I usually start with as it’s typically plenty for making a bracelet and it’s a quarter of the length you get when buying DMC floss, which comes in 8-meter lengths. So if you cut the string in half and half again, you will have your 2-meter length. I do this because it’s cost-efficient; if I used longer lengths I’d have a leftover string that simply couldn’t be used due to it being shorter than 2 meters. But you may find this won’t work on a design you desire to make. Most of my patterns are based on using each color as evenly as possible so that there isn’t one string that runs out before the others. I’m just telling you this so you’re as best prepared as possible.

The Loop

Also sometimes referred to as the buckle, the loop gives the friendship bracelet an easy way to tie it to your wrist once completed. A braid will give it a much more professional look and it’s best to make sure you have centered it properly. So now you have 1-meter lengths to work with. In my demonstration I’ll be doubling up the strings – this isn’t necessary, but is how I prefer to tie my works. Single string knots are much smaller and take longer to complete. They also don’t last as long because they are also thinner and more susceptible to wear and tear. And once you get to bigger projects like a bag, the doubled-up strings make adding string to your project easier.

All laid out

Here I’ve chosen distinctly different colors to make it easy to see what’s going on so that you can follow the steps without confusion. Due to a total lack of terms here as I’m relatively self-taught, I’ll be referring to the string that’s doing the work of making the knot as the one ‘traveling’. We start with the string on the far left. This string will travel over the ones to its right.

The knot used is simple and is called a half hitch. It looks like a figure 4 then pulled up through the loop that’s formed.

Be careful to not drag the string too harshly against the one that’s underneath. But pull the knot firmly. Not too tight, but firm. This tension will be the skill you need most. It’s what will set the beginner apart from a world-classed knotter. Relax. it will take some time and practice to get the hang of it.

You do the same knot with the same strings a second time and draw it firmly to complete the first knot, forming what is known as a double half-hitch knot.

Notice how the traveling string has dropped from where it first started to a space lower? This is how and why these knots work diagonally. Next, the traveling string goes and ties over the next string to the right. Twice just like the first time.

Repeat until you have no more string to its right. Once there it’s no longer the traveling string and becomes just like the others and the next traveler is up.

Again we start at the furthermost left and you may notice it’s at the highest point that we work our way down through the rest. The furthest left string becomes the traveler and it’s just a repeat of what you did with the first row. In fact, all rows in this exercise are just the same. So basically you are on the way to your first bracelet.

Now no matter how well you tie them, the bracelet will have a curl to it. This is natural. However, you may notice that some parts curl more than others. This is due to changes in the tension of your knots. Your goal should be to keep that tension so even that your work is a constant curve. That takes practice. I was making this basic kind of bracelet for quite some time before I moved on to anything else, which meant I totally mastered the basic skill before going on to bigger or different projects. Truthfully, that was because this was all I was shown how to make. I enjoyed working with different color combinations and noticed that once the first row was in, that was it. The choice was made and that was just how the bracelet was going to look. That same truth is true no matter how big or small a work is or how complex the pattern is. Setting up the colors from the start is crucial to having it come out the way you intended.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions of what you’d like me to cover next, please add your thoughts in the section below. I’d love to hear from you and it could help make this site more useful for other knotters too!

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