Day 10: Tie a complicated knot

September 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

Looking for alternatives to family game night? Try group knot tying – an exhilarating way to spend four hours on a Sunday night!

You may think that tying an intricate knot was a last minute idea because I couldn’t think of anything new to do today. In reality, I woke up this morning determined to go tying.

I received a strange look from the employee at Home Depot when I asked him to cut only three feet of nylon rope. After dinner, I sat down at the table and cracked my knuckles with the intention of throwing together some quick knots before going back to season six of “Family Guy.” I began by finding a series of videos on YouTube that provided reasonably paced tutorials on some cool looking decorative knots:

I began with the Celtic Heart Knot, which I learned from the following video tutorial: By my third try I was able to get a pretty nice looking product.

Next came the Tea Cup Knot: It was this point at which things became more difficult than I had anticipated. It turned out that the rope from Home Depot was too thick for such a complex knot and my fat fingers were having trouble. Luckily, I found a thin rope in the toolbox that we had used for moving. It took about ten tries to get this one looking right.

Finally, meet the mother of all knots, the Pan Chang knot:…. According to the instructions, this knot is believed to be one of the eight Buddhist Treasures. It was agonizingly difficult. After I screwed up the first thirty times, I asked Stephanie for help. We worked on this knot for nearly two hours and became emotionally invested. After tightening and retightening, weaving and reweaving, we ended with the following:

Although knot perfect, we were proud of our efforts. It was more time consuming then I had anticipated, but it had actually been a pretty enjoyable way to waste time.

Think you can master the Pan Chang knot? Any reader who successfully ties the knot and sends me a picture of him/herself with it  can choose my activity for next Sunday. This offer is good until Friday. Photos can be emailed to

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