the ancient maritime tradition of twisting bits of string into puns....or was that punnets?
We are hands-on teachers of creative, ecological, and practical skills.
and two of our personal favorites, for practical amazement:
Ernie's #1 trick to learning any knot: practice. It's your hands that learn it, not your head. Start with one or two useful knots; practice them a lot. Once you've mastered those, move on and add more.
What Erica looks for in knots: "Over-Under-Over" (like Celtic knot art), and "Looping Through." Over-under-over tends to secure a knot, most reliable knots have this pattern somewhere in them. Looping through can turn a secure knot into a removable slip-knot, handy for many purposes. If you need both the secure and the slip functions, it's not hard to temporarily secure a slipped knot with a half-hitch (or a small stick).
There are a few deliberate exceptions: for fixed gear, you may occasionally want a truly permanent knot that will be worn away in place, or that needs to be smaller than its removable counterpart. (Splices and whippings are often a better permanent choice if time allows.)
'Trick' knots that release under sudden load may in rare cases actually be safer (e.g. the Horseman's Knot allows a quick-release option in case the animal panics, but gives enough resistance to restrain a calm horse.)
Avoid knots that tend to slip or jam, and that weaken the rope by pinching or kinking. These are dangerous, annoying, and unsightly knots; you can't trust them, or the rope they've corrupted.
Can We Get a Permit?