It's Knot Your Problem
March 23, 2011 4:25 PM   Subscribe

How to tie a knot in a cord when both ends are fixed?

I have a silk pillow with a satin cord attached to each side. When purchased, the cord was tied in a pretty looped knot/bow. Now it's come loose, so there's just slack cord. How can I retie a decorative knot or bow without cutting and resewing the cord? I'm sure there's a name for this technique, but darned if I've been able to google it. Thanks for the help!
posted by cyndigo to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Can you make two loops, like rabbit ears, and tie them into a square or granny knot (like you're tying shoelaces)?
posted by theredpen at 4:28 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

There are numerous decorative variations on the Sheepshank that might suit your needs depending upon how much slack you have.
posted by blaneyphoto at 4:28 PM on March 23, 2011

I'm not totally familiar with the topic, but is the word you're looking for "bight"? A "bowline on a bight" is a bowline tied in a loop to result in two loops, such as you might use for tying a bosun's chair.
posted by straw at 4:29 PM on March 23, 2011

Whoops, I mean: "three loops" (the loop you'd normally tie with the bowline is doubled, and the bitter end is also a loop, in a bosun's chair you'd use that for the waist).
posted by straw at 4:30 PM on March 23, 2011

If the sheepshank doesn't do it for you, pick up a copy of the Ashley Book of Knots. If you can't find it in there, it doesn't exist.
posted by blaneyphoto at 4:31 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

The answers above will work, but if you want to really look over your options download a copy of Ashley's Book of knots
posted by Felex at 4:32 PM on March 23, 2011

Thank you! MeFi to the rescue, there's not a lot of slack but I think the sheepshank will work. Also, Ashley's may lure me into a life of bondage (or craft, or something).
posted by cyndigo at 4:47 PM on March 23, 2011

Make a trucker's hitch, then take the loop and make a bow with it.
posted by notsnot at 4:54 PM on March 23, 2011

Tons of knots can do this. Butterfly knot is the first one that comes to mind. Anything on a bend, like figure 8 on a bend or bowline on a bend will also do the trick.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 5:47 PM on March 23, 2011

FYI: the sheepshank doesn't stay well if it goes slack, which on a pillow, it will.

What I think you want is theredpen's "bunny ears tied into a square knot" idea, which will produce two loops (kinda like on shoelaces). In fact, imagine shoelaces: if the ends were held down, you could still tie the bow.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:05 PM on March 23, 2011

If you have enough slack to tie a sheepshank, use a double sheepshank, in which you add an extra loop at each "ear." This creates a clove hitch (the topological equivalent of a square knot), which won't slip when you take tension off.

If you don't have enough slack to do this, pull up the slack, pinch and tie an overhand knot in the resulting loop.
posted by KRS at 6:47 AM on March 24, 2011

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