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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.

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.

There are several other similar designs listed below:

  • 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) into 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).



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




Flat Barrel Knot

Flat Barrel Knot - 2 Cords

Another way to tie this knot is to do it with two cords.  It's tied differently than what is shown in the previous instructions.

This method produces a much flatter knot, suitable for jewelry. I've included photos of it's use with a bracelet, below the instructions.

Cross Cords

Step 1:  Secure two cords on your board. 

Tie at least one knot (any type) since the knot you are tying needs to rest against another knot.  In the image, Square knots were tied.

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 2-strand 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.

The images below show this knot in a bracelet design.

Barrel Knot
<< The 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.  >>
Flat Knot


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Strangle Knot

Strangle Knot



Description: This variation of the Barrel Knot is called the Strangle Knot.

It provides a strong grip that can hold weight. It's round enough to pass as a button knot, too.

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 Barrel knot as described in the first set of instructions above.

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



Design Tip: I put a blue X below the area you will be moving in the next step.


Flip to Form a Figure 8   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 cord to keep the figure 8 shape as you tighten.




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Barrel Bead 

Barrel Bead



Description: The Barrel Bead variation 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




Wrap Cord Around Fingers   Step 1: Wrap a 36-inch cord around your index and second finger 4 to 6 times.

The left end should be in front, and the right end behind your fingers, when you finish wrapping.



Direct Right End Through   Step 2: Pass the right end through the center of the wrapped portions, moving right to left.



Direct Left End Through   Step 3: Pass the left end through the center, moving left to right.



Barrel Bead  

Step 4: Pull on both ends slowly and gradually to tighten the Barrel knot.

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 in "Decorative Fusion Knots" by J. D. Lenzen.

He named it a Bloody Knuckle knot, and describes it as a fusion of Half Hitches with the Blood Knot. That's another name for the Barrel Knot, by the way.

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



Five Loops  

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: In "Decorative Fusion Knots" the directions ask you to make the loops while holding them.

When holding the loops, the right portion of each loop needs to face forward.


Loop 2 Under Loop 1  

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 Under Loop 2   Step 3: Slide the third loop under the second one, and secure it.



Reposition Remaining Loops  

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:  Pay attention to the right half of each loop, since the ends will pass under those segments in the next step.



Path of 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 Same Path  

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

Follow the same path as the right end.



Tighten Loops First  

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 as you progress.



Knuckle Knot
  Slide the loops together as you progress. When all of them are tightened, pull on the ends to complete the knot.



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