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Feb 09

Weaving to Woo Week – Lover’s Knot

In many marriage ceremonies there is a tradition that symbolizes the union of the couple. Two or more ropes are joined together by the couple to signify the intertwining of their lives. This knot is named the True Lover’s Knot, and could be used in such a ceremony.

Incredible Rope Machine True Lover’s Knot

Making knots is an art form in itself and I love to create custom ropes to make beautiful knotted interlacements, both decorative and useful.What you need: Incredible Rope Machine, two colors of linen (or use pearl cotton or even embroidery floss). I used 16/1 linen in pink and bleached white (16/2 linen would also work). Generally, you’ll want to add a third more length to your desired rope length, but this also depends on the size of your rope. The bigger in diameter, the more take up. This rope is about 1/16” in diameter and is made up of 36 strands or 6 complete windings. See the directions below for how to make a rope.

Diagram of incredible rope machine set up for weaving rope

1. Clamp the separator to a table top. Determine the desired length of the rope and then tie the yarns to the first hook on the Rope Machine. The Rope Machine should be as far away from the separator as the desired length of rope, plus additional for take-up (the amount is determined by the kind of rope being made – the fatter the rope, the more take-up),Following the diagram, carry the yarns around Peg A, around the middle hook on the Rope Machine, around Peg B, then around the last hook on the Rope Machine, and finally return around the outside of Pegs B and A, ending where you began. There should be two lines of yarn from each peg. For a thicker rope. repeat the process as many times as desired.

Diagram showing how to orient the weaving strands around the separator

2. Begin to make the rope by turning the Rope Machine crank clockwise (this is the direction of the twist in most yarns you will use; you want to put more twist in the yarns and so you need to crank in the direction of the twist). Keep the yarns taut as you crank. The more turns, the tighter the finished rope will be. As the yarns become more twisted they will take up, shortening the rope strands. Crank until the twist is so tight that when tension is released, the yarns kink back on themselves.

Twisted yarn kinking up as it is released from the separator

3. Now twist the three strands together to make a rope. Take hold of the yarns at the back of the separator. Hold the three strands and pull them slowly away from the separator, twisting them together in a counter clockwise direction (opposite what you did in the first step). It is helpful to have a second person hold the Rope Machine while you pull the yarn through the separator. Add more twist, if needed, by cranking clockwise.

ave a second person hold the Rope Machine while you pull the yarn through the separator

4. The three strands will naturally twist together. As you pull them through the separator, guide the yarns to ensure that they are even and smooth. As the Rope Machine moves closer and closer to the separator, occasionally give the crank a few clockwise turns to keep the strands tightly twisted. When the Rope Machine reached the separator, slip the three strands off the hooks and tie an overhand knot in the end to prevent raveling.


Image of the supplies needed to make rope with the rope machine

Making the knot:

1.Tie a loose overhand knot with the pink rope.

Tie a loose overhand knot with the pink rope

2. Slip the working end of the white rope through the opening in the first knot.

Slip the working end of the white rope through the opening in the first knot

3. Tie a second overhand knot with the white rope.

Tie a second overhand knot with the white rope

4. Pull on both ropes to tighten.

Pull on both ropes to tighten

Now, use the rope to wrap a special gift, surround a beautiful vase of flowers, or even create a special necklace or bracelet.

The lover's knot is wrapped around a gold paper wrapped gift

Resource: Handbook of Knots (expanded edition) by Des Pawson has excellent illustrations.