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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.

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

ItÂ’s primarily used as a finishing knot at the ends of cords, to prevent them from unraveling. But you can also use it 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






Standard Barrel Knot - 1 Cord

Barrel Knot




Step 1: To practice, you need one cord at least 12 inches long.

Make a loop in the center, crossing left over right.



Overhand Knot  

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

This creates an Overhand knot.



Second Wrap  

Step 3: Bring the right half 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 sometimes find Macrame patterns where you are asked to tie this knot with two cords.

This technique is a great way to finish off the cords when making jewelry designs, because it will be flatter than other types of Barrel knots.

This variation needs to rest against other knots. 

Cross Cords

Step 1:  Tie two knots with a pair of cords, to mimic what you would find in a Macrame project.  Square knots without fillers are shown here.

Cross the cord on the right over the left.


Step 2:  Wrap the right cord under - over the left cord.

Around Again

Step 3:  Wrap the right cord under - over the left cord one more time.

You can wrap as many times as you wish, if you want to experiment.


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

Make sure the two cords are arranged horizontally after tightening.

Tighten Firmly

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

In most cases, adding glue while tightening will prevent this knot from loosening. 

Barrel Knot

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

The result was a flat knot that was more comfortable than a round one would have been. 


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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: Make the Barrel Knot as described in the basic instructions.   Make sure the two halves exit the knot as shown in this image.

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



  Step 2: Flip the curved part of the knot over the crossed area, 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.




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Barrel Bead 

Barrel Bead



Description: The Barrel Bead can be made longer than the regular Barrel Knot.  The length depends on how many coils you make in step 1.

The shape resembles a Tube Bead, so it can be used to decorate a cord.   But you can only use it when you have both ends free to pass through the knot.



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 half should be heading downward and in front of your fingers.  The right half 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.



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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.



Designer's 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 it 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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