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Cloverleaf Knot

Cloverleaf Knot

Description:  The Cloverleaf knot is the most common design used in Chinese Macrame.  You need to know how to tie this basic decorative knot easily, if you want to create combinations using Chinese knots.  

On this page I not only describe the 3-loop variation shown above, but also show you how to tie it with two loops and four loops.    Each variation has it's advantages, particularly when tying elaborate Chinese designs. 

Practice tying each variation several times, so you are as comfortable tying this knot as you are the Square Knot.

If you can, reverse the direction you tie each design, so you can make them in both directions.

Cloverleaf Knot -- 3 Loops


Working End on Left

Step 1:  Fold a 60-inch cord close to the center, so the left half is about 10 inches longer than the right.

Secure both the fold and the right portion to your board.

Loop 1

Step 2:  Make a clockwise loop on the left.

Pass over and under the two segments, as you bring the working end to the right.

Back to Left

Step 3:  Bring the working end back to the left, forming Bight 1.

Make sure you pass under - over the two segments.

Loop 2

Step 4:  Bring the working end up above the first fold, and rotate it clockwise to form loop 2.

Bring the end down through the bight you made in the last step over - under.

Bring Cord Up

Step 5:  Bring the working end to the right and back up, passing through the first bight under - over.

This forms bight 2.

Loop 3

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

Bring the working end over - under  bight 2, moving horizontally towards the left side of the Cloverleaf knot.

Bring it under the secured end and under the right side of loop 1.

Back to Right

Step 7:  Bring the working end back to the right, passing over the secured end.

Move it under - over the 2nd bight (on the right).


Step 8:  Tighten the center of the Cloverleaf knot first, by pulling on the three loops and the ends. 

Don't tighten it completely, just enough for the knot to hold it's shape.

Step 8, continued: Reduce the size of each loop in the order they were made.


Macrame Cord Divider

4 Leaf Clover

Cloverleaf -- 4 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 feature knot for items like bracelets or belts. 

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

Step 1:  Start by making a 3-loop Cloverleaf by following steps 1 - 7 above. 

Loop 4

Rotate the working end clockwise to make loop 4

Bring the working end over the first horizontal segment you come to, at the bottom.

Pass it under the next two segments. Pass it through loop 2 over - under.

Step 2:   Pull on the loops and ends to tighten the center slightly. 

Then reduce the size of the four loops by removing the slack from each one, in the order they were made.


Two Loop Cloverleaf

Cloverleaf -- 2 Loops

The main advantage to using this variation is that it's easy to attach to other Chinese knots.   The two loops can be any size, and still be balanced.   Make sure you practice this variation several times.

Loop 1

Step 1:  Fold a 36-inch cord in half and secure the left half.  Make Loop 1 in a counter-clockwise direction,   with the right half.

Bring the end over to make the crossing point, and under the left half of the cord. 

Back to Right

Step 2:  Bring the working end back to the right, passing under - over the two segments. 

This forms a bight on the left side of the Cloverleaf knot.

Step 3:  Rotate the working end counter-clockwise to make loop 2.

Bring the end through the knot on a diagonal slant:

Loop 2

Pass over the bight at the left, and under the secured end.

Move it under the loop's crossing point, and over the crook of loop 1.

Final Step

Step 4:  The final step for this Cloverleaf knot is to bring the end back to the left, passing over the secured end.  Bring it through the bight under - over (from below).

Tighten the knot by pulling on the loops first.  Then reduce their size by removing the slack.

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Have any comments about the Cloverleaf Knot? Contact Me.


Wire Writing

Macrame Cord Divider