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Cloverleaf Knot


Cloverleaf Knot

 
Description:  The Cloverleaf knot is the most common design used in Chinese Macrame.  It's a very important knot, so you must know how to tie it if you want to create combinations using Chinese knots. 

On this page I not only describe the traditional 3-loop variation in both directions, but also show you how to tie it with 4 loops and with 2 loops.    

Practice tying each variation several times, so you are as comfortable tying this knot as you are all the others you have learned.   


2018 Update:  Instructions for tying the knot in the opposite direction have been added.  Text and images were also changed, so contact me if you need the original page.
 
 

 

Left Cloverleaf Knot


Left Cloverleaf

The Cloverleaf knot can be tied with either half of the cord.  In the instructions below, you will learn how to tie it with the working end on the LEFT.  The loops are made in a clockwise direction.

Be sure to practice more than once, until you can tie it without the instructions.
 


Fold

Step 1:  Fold a 60-inch cord in half. Adjust it so the left portion is 15 inches longer than the right, since it will be the working end.

Secure the cord vertically at the fold, which will be called fold 1 in the instructions.  Secure the right portion, too.



Loop 1

Step 2:  Make a clockwise loop with the working end, securing it on your left.  Mentally label it as loop 1.

Pass it through fold 1 over - under, arranged horizontally.



Fold 2

Step 3:  Fold the working end and move it to the left, forming fold 2.

Pass it through fold 1 under - over.



Designer's Tip:  The Cloverleaf is made by alternating between folds and loops. After making a loop, the working end passes through the previous fold to make a new one. 

Try to see this concept as you complete the next two steps.



Loop 2

Step 4:  Bring the working end around fold 1 in a clockwise direction to create loop 2.

Move the working end forward vertically, passing it through fold 2 over - under.



Fold 3

Step 5:  Move the working end backward, passing it through fold 2 under - over.

Mentally label it fold 3.



Designer's Tip:  In the next two steps you make the final loop, then connect loops 1 and 3 with another fold.

Make sure you can clearly see all areas of the knot before you move on.



Loop 3

Step 6:  Rotate the working end clockwise to form loop 3

Move it to the left horizontally, passing it through fold 3 over - under.

Bring it under the secured end and through loop 1 under - over.



Tie Fold

Step 7:  Move the working end to the right, passing it over the secured end.

Pass it through fold 3 under - over.

Remove the pins from the folds, but keep them on the loops.



Center

Step 8:  Tighten the folds in the center of the Cloverleaf knot first, by pulling loops 1 and 3 as well as both ends of the cord. 

Try to avoid pulling loop 2, since it's harder remove the slack from it compared to the others.




Tighten

Step 9:  Tighten loop 2 first by working the slack out from one side of it, then the other.

Remove the slack from loops 1 and 3 by pulling the segments marked with X in the previous image.  Those segments lead to the ends.





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Right Cloverleaf Knot


Right Cloverleaf

The right Cloverleaf Knot is like the first design, but the working end is on the right and the loops are made counter-clockwise.

It's important to know how to make this knot in both directions because other Chinese knots are often based on this one, and may require you to turn it around. 

Remember to practice more than once, until you can make it without the instructions.



Fold 1

Step 1:  Fold a 60-inch cord in half. Adjust it so the right portion is 15 inches longer than the left.

Secure the left portion as well as the fold, mentally labeling it fold 1.



Loop 1

Step 2:  Make loop 1 in a counter-clockwise direction. 

Pass the working end through fold 1 over - under, heading left horizontally.



Fold 2

Step 3:  Make fold 2 by moving the working end to the right, passing it through fold 1 under - over.



Loop 2

Step 4:  Move the working end counter-clockwise around fold 1 to make loop 2.

Move it forward vertically, then pass it through fold 2 over - under.



Fold 3

Step 5: To complete fold 3, move the working end backward, passing it through fold 2 under - over.



Loop 3

Step 6:  Move the working end counter-clockwise to make loop 3.

Pass it over - under fold 3 as you move it to the right.

Pass it under the secured end of the cord, then through loop 1 under - over.



Tie Fold

Step 7:  Move the working end to the left, passing it over the secured end of the cord.

Pass it through fold 3 under - over.

Remove the pins except for those on the three loops.



Tighten

Tighten the Cloverleaf Knot as you did in the previous design (center, loop 2, then loops 1 and 3).




 

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Cloverleaf Knot with 4 Loops


Four Loops


The advantage to making a Cloverleaf knot with four loops is that the ends are heading in opposite directions.  So this is a great focal knot for items like bracelets or belts.  

The traditional three loop variation is better for items that dangle, such as earrings and pendants.   

You need to tie additional knots with the working end to stabilize it so loop 4 will remain in place.   Be careful not to pull the working end during tightening, until you are ready to remove the slack from loop 4.




Make Space

Step 1:  Make a LEFT Cloverleaf knot following the first set of instructions on this page.  Do not tighten it.

Make some space in the center of the knot by pushing the secured end to the left and fold 3 to the right.



Loop 4

Step 2: Rotate the working end clockwise to make loop 4

Weave it through the center of the knot vertically, passing it under - over - under - over the four segments.

Pass it under the crook of loop 2.




Tighten

Step 3:  Tighten the knot as follows:

First, pull loops 1 and 3 and the secured end to tighten the center. Then reduce the size of loop 2, followed by loops 1 and 3.

Pull on the working end to reduce the size of loop 4. 



Butterfly

In most cases, the 4-loop Cloverleaf knot looks best with all 4 loops the same size.

This butterfly was made simply by making two loops larger than the others.





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Cloverleaf Knot with 2 Loops


Cloverleaf 2 Loops

This variation has two loops rather than three.  The tightened portion in the center has a triangular shape rather than a square.

The two loops can be made any size and will still be balanced.   It's easier to tighten than other variations, so is often used to connect two or more Cloverleaf knots to one another.

The instructions below show you how to make it with the right half of the cord.  Practice reversing it so you can tie it with the left half, too.



Loop 1

Step 1:  Fold a 36-inch cord in half and secure the left half.  Mentally label it fold 1.

Make Loop 1 in a counter-clockwise direction using the right half of the cord.

Pass it over - under the two vertical segments, heading left.



Fold 2

Step 2:  Complete fold 2 by moving the right half of the cord through fold 1 under - over, heading right.



Loop 2

Step 3:  Move the right half of the cord in a counter-clockwise direction around fold 1 to make loop 2.

Move it forward vertically, then pass it through fold 2 over - under.


 
Loop 1

Step 4:  Here is where the 2-loop variation differs from the traditional Cloverleaf knot:

Move the right half of the cord under the left half, then through loop 1 under - over, heading right.
 

 
Tie Loops

Step 5:  Move the right half of the cord over the left  half moving right to left.

Pass it through fold 2 under - over.



Tighten

Step 6:  Tighten the center of the Cloverleaf Knot by pulling on both loops as well as both ends.

To remove the slack from the loops and reduce their size, pull the areas indicated with X in this image.  Those segments lead to the ends of the cord.






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Have any comments about the Cloverleaf Knot? Contact Me.




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