Knots are necessary, interesting, fun and have a great history.  There are knots everywhere.  They are used in our wardrobes, cooking, crafts, decorations and  outdoor lives.  Knots are used for boating, packing, fishing, search and rescue, scouting, and climbing.  While most knots are not used in everyday life, there are a few knots that everyone should know how to tie that are useful day to day.  These are the Overhand Knot, Square (Reef) Knot, Standard Bow, Four-in-Hand, Bow Tie and Gasket Coil. Seemingly simple, knots are  an exercise in physics and sometimes a science experiment that can be frustrating until you finally get it.

Overhand Knot:  Simple and commonly used, it makes a knot at the end of a rope, string or thread to either act as a stopper or to prevent fraying. It is very secure and is intended to be permanent.

Knots---Overhand-Knot, appeal of knots

Square (Reef) Knot:  This is used to join two separate ropes or lash two objects together with one line. It might slip under strain so it is not totally trustworthy. I’ve always loved it because it’s great looking and I could always remember “right over left, left over right”.  You can use a square knot to tie up a bundle of firewood you want to carry, for example.


Standard Bow is the one we learn to tie our shoes with. It is the same as the Square (Reef) knot.  These knots tend to come undone, as you might have learned when you were a child! It can be secured by adding an additional Half Hitch tied with the two loops of the bow. A Better Standard Bow that won’t come undone – after making your first loop, go around it twice (not just once) before pulling your other loop through. It is more secure, but much easier to untie.


Four-in-Hand is the most common necktie knot. One drawback of this knot is that it produces an asymmetrical knot, but it is quick and easy to learn.


Bow Tie knot is based on the Square (Reef) Knot and is the same as the bow in the Shoelace/Standard Bow knot.


Gasket Coil is what’s used when coiling a free, unattached rope.  It is the best way to store an unused rope.


Why should you care?  There are many times when you want to secure something, and simple knots are often not secure. There are other times when you just want to show off.  Being able to tie an attractive knot, like a square knot, is a chic magnet.  Or, you are simply trying to get dressed and want your shoes, tie or bow tie to look right!

To learn more about knots, go to the Animated Knots website.  Every knot known to man with instructions is there.

If knots are intriguing to you, download the Animated Knots by Grog app.  It’s available for Android and iPhone for $4.99. You’ll be able to know which knot to use in every situation and how to tie it.

iPhone app

Android app