“Tied Up In Knots”


One of my major learning challenges came in first grade with my first pair of saddle shoes. I had worn other tie shoes before this, but there was usually an adult around to help out. I struggled to learn to tie the things. Then I struggled to make a knot that would hold. Then I struggled to tie the oft-suggested double knot designed to make sure the knot held. Of course after that I had to wrestle with the impenetrable knot that resulted when I tried to undo the double knot. My mother possessed what was to me a magical power to untie things. I have a clear memory of deciding I could never be a mother because I could never successfully remove tightly bound knots.

In Camp Fire Girls I was challenged to tie a square knot in the kerchief that came with our uniform. I consistently tied a slip knot instead of a square knot and never could get the hang of the appropriate kerchief display. Thankfully I never was a Boy Scout. My brother had to learn all sorts of knots as part of the Scout culture. I also grew up without boats so I never had to master nautical knots. In college I was in awe of my sailing friend who effortlessly handled the ropes and the requisite knots.

As I tied my shoes the other morning for what must be one of the thousands of times I have done it, I marveled that at some point it had become second nature. I still lack any more advanced knotting skill. Fortunately I married a man who flawlessly ties things to the top of the car as if it were the easiest thing in the world. And he definitely knows the difference between a square knot and a slip knot. If it were left to me, those car top parcels would be long gone.

8 thoughts on ““Tied Up In Knots”

  1. As well as shoelaces, I had to learn to put on a tie. For a long while my dad tied it for me, and I would just slip it off at night, without undoing the carefully tied knot. Once in my teens, I had to learn to do it myself, but I never managed to learn the classic ‘Windsor Knot’, or to learn to tie a ‘real’ Bow Tie.
    Probably too late now… 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.


  2. I learned macrame at a young age, so I am not terrible at knots. I ended up learning several more when doing oriental rug repair. You’d be surprised at how many you use there.


  3. My husband could never learn how to make the knot of a tie, He used to ask his colleague to make them and after use he would remove the tie carefully without disturbing the knot 🙂


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