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Clew Knot

Clew Knot

Description:  The Clew Knot is an interesting decoration that is sometimes seen in manufactured hammocks and similar Macrame projects.

ItÂ’s a type of weaving where the ends are gathered together to form a V shaped design.

First they are attached to a ring, and then to a dowel, where they spread out again.


There are additional instructions for making it in reverse, which is sometimes necessary.


In the images shown below, I left space between the rows of weaving, so you could make out the design more easily. 

The Clew knot is supposed to be firm and compact, so tighten it completely, as in the image above.

I recommend the first time you practice, you attach the cords to a dowel, so you can spread them out more easily.

Step 1: To practice, fold six 36-inch cords in half and mount them to a dowel or ring with reverse Larks Head knots.  Secure the ring to your board.

Mentally number the ends 1 - 12, moving left to right.

When you are finished weaving in each row, secure the cord off to the side, since each cord is used only once.


This chart provides a general overview of the weaving process for the Clew Knot. 


Working Cord





Left to Right

3, 5, 7, 9, 11

2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12

12 Right to Left 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 11, 9, 7, 5, 3
2 Left to Right 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 4, 6, 8, 10
11 Right to Left 10, 8, 6, 4 9, 7, 5, 3
3 Left to Right 5, 7, 9 4, 6, 8, 10
10 Right to Left 8, 6, 4 9, 7, 5
4 Left to Right 5, 7, 9 6, 8
9 Right to Left 8, 6 7, 5
5 Left to Right 7 6, 8
8 Right to Left 6 7
6 & 7 NO WEAVING    
Row 1  

Step 2: Start with cord 1 on the left. Weave the cord by alternating under and over, as you move it left to right.

Make sure you start the weaving by passing under cord 2.


Row 2  

Step 3:  Cord 12 is next, heading right to left. Pass it under cord 11 as you begin to weave. 

The over - under sequence has changed, so it's now the opposite of the previous row. 


Row 3  

Step 4:  Weave cord 2 over cord 3 as you move it left to right

After you moved cord 12, it was under cord 3.  For this row, it's the opposite. 


Detail of Entire Knot  

Changing the over - under pattern is an important part of the Clew Knot process. 

Always make sure the weaving pattern you are creating with the working cord is opposite of the previous row.

Use this photo and the chart above, to continue the weaving.  



Step 5:  Since this knot is used in the construction of hammocks, the pattern may require you to attach the cords to dowels. 

That process begins after the knot is completely finished.

The last two ends (6 and 7), don't need to be woven, so bring them straight down when you are ready to attach them to the dowel.

Tighten the Clew Knot by pulling on each end firmly to removing the slack.


Cords 6 and 7 are attached at the center of the dowel with Double Half Hitches.  Click on the link for a review.

Next, you attach cords 8 and 5, followed by 9 and 4.

Attach cord 10 and 3, followed by 11 and 2.

The last two cords attached, near the right and left ends of the dowel, will be 12 and 1.


Clew Knot on Hammock  

This is an image of the Clew knot in a Hammock design.

Notice how it's small and compact, and how the ends spread out from it, to cover the dowel.



Reverse Clew Knot

Most hammock patterns are made by creating both Clew knots first, and then the woven portion.

In some cases, you may need to work from one end to the other.  This next set of instructions show you how to make it from the bottom up.

Reverse Clew Knot

Step 1:  Secure the dowel to your work surface or project board.   The cords should already be attached to it, unless you are just practicing. 

In that case, mount the 6 cords to a dowel to mimic how the design will work in an actual project.

Determine where you want to start the Clew knot, by measuring the one at the opposite end of the hammock design.  Measure the distance between the dowel and where the first knot ended.  That's where this one will begin. 

Mentally number the cords 1 - 12, moving left to right.  You can place small pieces of tape on the cords with the numbers on them, to stay organized.

Secure cords 6 and 7 so they are heading vertically, straight up towards where the ring will be placed.

Cords 5 - 7

Move cord 5, under - over cords 6 and 7, heading left to right.  The cord should be horizontal.

Secure it on the right, and then curve it so it's vertical.

Cord 8

Step 2:  Weave cord 8 from right to left, passing over the portion of cord 5 on the right, near where it curves upward.

Pass it under - over cords 7 and 6.  

Secure it on the left, and curve it upward vertically.  You can see this better in the next photo.

Cord 4

Step 3:  Weave cord 4 from left to right, passing over the portion of cord 8 where it curves on the left

Bring it under 6, over 7, and under 5.

Secure it on the right, and curve it upward to rest beside the others.

Do you understand the process for the reverse Clew Knot? 

You move each cord on the dowel towards the Clew knot, on either the right or left (alternating).  Progress from the center of the dowel, towards the ends.

As you begin the weaving, the first step is to move it either over or under the cord previously used, near the place where it curves upward.   Make sure the weaving is the opposite of the previous row.

After each row of weaving, remember to curve the cord upward, so it's vertical.

Cord 9

Step 4:  Weave cord 9 from right to left, starting by passing it under the portion of cord 4 on the right.

Bring it over 5, under 7, over 6, and under 8.  Secure it and curve it upward.

Cord 3

Step 5:  Weave cord 3 from left to right.  Pass it under the portion of cord 9 on the left. 

Move it over and under the remaining cords, alternating as shown.  Secure it on the right and curve it upward.

Cord 10

Step 6:  Cord 10 is next, moving right to left.  Pass it over the portion of cord 3 on the right, near where it curves.

Alternate under and over the remaining cords.  Secure it on the left.

Cord 2

Step 7:  Cord 2 is next, so weave it left to right. 

Begin by passing it over cord 10 on the left, and then alternate under and over the remaining cords.

Cord 11

Step 8:  Weave cord 11 from right to left.  Start by passing under cord 2 on the right.

Weave over and under the remaining cords.

Step 8, continued:  Before moving on to the final steps, slide the cords closer together inside the Clew Knot. 

Pulling upward on the vertical portions will help, too.

Steps 9 - 10
Cord 1
<< Weave cord 1 left to right.  Pass it under cord 11 first, and then over and under the
remaining cords.

Weave cord 12 right to left.  Pass over cord 1, then under and over the remaining cords.  >>
Cord 12


Step 11:  Tighten and adjust the Clew Knot by pulling each cord taut.   After you do so, secure it at the top.

The next step is to attach the cords to a ring.  You need to check the other side of the hammock and determine which knot you used to attach the cords to the other ring.

For cords mounted on the ring with reverse Larks Head knots or Double Half Hitches, you should attach each cord to this ring with a Double Half Hitch.  This is the best knot to use, so the two ends match. 

Attach the cords from the center working outward to the right and left. 

For cords mounted with a normal Larks Head knot, with the heads face up, use the instructions below. 

Make sure each cord is pulled taut, and the ring is resting against the top row of the Clew knot.  In the images shown, I left some space so you could see the details better.

 For Cords 7 - 12
First Loop
<< Pass the cord over-under the ring, and then cross over from left to right.  Bring it under the ring to the right of where you started.

Bring the end over the ring, and under the horizontal portion.  >>
Loop 2

Right to Left

For cords 6 - 1 the knot should be tied so the end crosses over in front right to left.

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Have any comments about the Clew Knot? Contact Me.


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