Knots So Good

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I have a confession to make. I was a slow learner when it came to tying my shoes. As the only left-hander in the family, I struggled to understand the instructions given by my righty helpers. It just didn’t seem, well, right to me. I was eight years old before I could tie a shoelace that would hold itself together for more than an hour. I eventually double-knotted the laces for added security, and still use that method today.

But I admit, I am a knot flunkie.

When I have to tie something down in the back of the truck, I use the “confusion” knot tying method. First I cover whatever I am transporting with a big blue tarp. Somehow blue tarps make the whole task seem more professional. Then I wrap the tarp bundle with rope or twine and tie a simple square knot, then wrap again, changing the direction of the rope and knot every now and then. Wrap, knot, wrap, knot. I do that until I can barely see the tarp under all the rope. I jump in the truck cab and head for home as fast as I can, to beat the knot expiration date. Usually, I end up announcing my arrival with a giant tarp flag flapping behind the truck, and one or two sad little knots desperately clinging to the item that is sliding around in the bed.

I have tried tying my own Martha Stewart-ish packages with trailing curls of colorful ribbons. My kids always knew which Christmas packages came from me – they were the ones that looked like they had floated in from a shipwreck. I finally resorted to paying the kids to wrap their own gifts.

The kids also never had a rope swing, for obvious reasons. I never learned to rock climb. Or tie a dinghy to a dock. Even the Thanksgiving turkeys went unlaced.

For my New Thing extravaganza, Sandra Hume suggested I learn to tie a knot in a cherry stem using my tongue. Snort. Like that’s really going to happen.

So, I decided to learn how to tie a simple knot . I chose a clove hitch – because it seemed easy. But I wondered why you would ever need to hitch a clove to anything in the first place. I didn’t know cloves were that frisky. Then after I learned how to tie it, I read that it wasn’t a very reliable knot to use on much of anything. Even cloves.

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