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Barrel Knot


Barrel Knot



Description: The Barrel Knot is similar to the Overhand Knot, and is used frequently in Macrame projects, as well as other crafts.

In Vintage patterns, this decorative knot is sometimes called the Coil Knot. In other crafts, it's called the Blood Knot.

ItÂ’s used as a finishing knot at the ends of cords, to prevent them from unraveling. But you can also use it to secure items such as Macrame beads, or any time you need a firm knot that doesn't come untied easily.

This page contains instructions for tying the knot with one cord, as well as two.

Also on this page are instructions for three similar designs:

  • Strangle Knot
  • Barrel Bead
  • Knuckle knot





Barrel Knot

Standard Barrel Knot - 1 Cord





Step 1: To practice, cut a single cord, at least 12 inches long. Make a loop in the center, crossing left over right.



Overhand Knot  

Step 2: Bring the right end (now on the left) through the loop over - under (from the top).

This creates an Overhand knot.



Second Wrap  

Step 3: Bring the right end through the loop one more time (over - under).



Barrel Knot
  Tighten the Barrel knot slowly, so that it doesn't twist, and is firm.




Flat Barrel Knot

Flat Barrel Knot - 2 Cords

You will often find Macrame patterns where you tie this knot with two cords, which will be flatter than the other types of Barrel Knots.

So this technique is a great way to finish off the cords when making jewelry designs.

This type of knot needs to rest against other knots.

Cross Cords

Step 1:  Secure two cords on your board. 

Tie two Square knots near the top of the cords.

Cross the cord on the right over the left.


Step 2:  Wrap the right cord under the left cord, and then over it as you pull it left.

This is an Overhand knot, which does not hold together very well. 

Around Again

Step 3:  Wrap the right cord around again.

Pass it under the left cord, and over it further to the left.

This produces a much more secure knot.  You can wrap as many times as you wish.


Step 4:  Tighten gradually, pushing the coils together as you progress.

Make sure the ends are horizontal.

Tighten Firmly

Tighten the knot firmly so it rests against the other knots.

Now try to untie it, and you will see how it's much harder to remove.

Barrel Knot

The 2-Strand Barrel knot was tied in the back of the Caterpillar Bracelet to finish off the cords.

It produced a flat knot that was more comfortable than a round one would have been. 


Macrame Cord Divider


Strangle Knot

Strangle Knot



Description: This variation is called the Strangle Knot.  It provides a strong grip that can hold weight. 

This design is similar to a Figure Eight Knot, but is constructed differently.




Barrel Knot
  Step 1: You need an 18-inch cord to practice. Create a Standard Barrel knot (first set of instructions).

Make sure the right end comes out of the circle passing over the bottom, and the left comes out from under it.

The blue X is the area moved in the next step.



  Step 2: Flip the bottom part of the knot over the top portion, forming a figure 8.



Strangle Knot
  Tighten the knot by pulling on the ends.

Make sure you hold the knot to keep the figure 8 shape as you tighten.




Macrame Cord Divider


Barrel Bead 

Barrel Bead



Description: The Barrel Bead is a little longer than the regular Barrel Knot. The shape resembles a Tube Bead, so it can be used to decorate a cord.

I've seen it in fringe designs, both at the tip of the cords, as well as along the length.



I found this design in  "Decorative Fusion Knots" by J.D. Lenzen, and I have seen it in other books as well.

Click on the link or image to see his website, which has a video gallery with tutorials for a variety of knots.

  Fusion Knots




  Step 1: Wrap the central portion of a 36-inch cord around your index and second finger 4 to 6 times.

The left end should be heading downward and in front of your fingers.  The right end should be heading upward.



Right End
  Step 2: Pass the right end around your index finger, then through the center of the wrapped area, moving right to left.



Left End
  Step 3: Pass the left end around both fingers, then through wrapped area, moving left to right.

Pull on both ends to tighten the knot slightly, then remove the cord from your fingers.



Barrel Bead  

Step 4: Pull on both ends slowly and gradually, until the Barrel Bead is firm.

If the material is not smooth, you may need to help the loops tighten by pushing them towards each other.



Macrame Cord Divider



Knuckle Knot


Knuckle Knot



I found this variation of the Barrel Knot in "Decorative Fusion Knots", too.

In the book it's called the Bloody Knuckle knot.

It's a very unique design, and can be used as a small pendant. The loops along the lower edge can be used to hang charms or beads.




Step 1: Make 5 counter-clockwise loops using a 60-inch cord. Start on the left, about 8 inches from the end of the cord.

Mentally label each side of the loops as right or left.



Design Tip: The directions in "Decorative Fusion Knots" show you how to make the knot while holding the cord, instead of on a project board.

Should you decide to create it in hand, the right portion of each loop needs to face forward.


Loop 2

Step 2: Slide the second loop partially under the first loop as shown.

Secure both loops at the crossing point at the top.



Loop 3
  Step 3: Slide the third loop under the second one, and secure it.




Step 4: Position the last three loops in the same manner.

The fourth one should be under loop 3, and the fifth one should be under loop 4.



Important:  Make sure you can clearly recognize the right half of each loop, since the ends will pass under those segments in the next step.



Right End

Step 5: Pass the right end through the loops, moving right to left.

Make sure you pass the end under the right half of each loop, and over the left half.



Left End

Step 6: Pass the left end through the loops, moving left to right.

Follow the same path as the right end.




Step 7: Begin tightening the Knuckle knot by working the slack out of each loop, so they tighten around the two ends.

Start on the left and move right.  Slide the loops together as you progress.



Knuckle Knot
When all the loops are tightened, pull on the ends to complete the Knuckle knot.



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