The clove hitch knot is not just for Boy Scouts and rock climbers. This knot is very useful for weavers. There are many illustrations that show one how to tie this knot; some can be found online and there are many guidebooks about knot tying. YouTube has several good videos describing the uses for this knot and how to tie it, but most are geared toward outdoor enthusiasts. Here’s an explanation that I hope is useful for my fellow fiber artisans.
Cut a length of smooth, strong yarn 5 times the width of your warp. Thread one end through a tapestry needle. In the video I am using 3/2 mercerized cotton for my clove hitch knots.
(You don’t need the sound on for the video clip but if it is you may hear Mr. Darcy chirping in the background.) 🙂
As you can see in the video, the knot is achieved with a series of wraps around a bundle of warp ends, and then the tapestry needle is threaded through the last loop and pulled tight. I always check to see if I can discern a little “x” shape in the knot after I’ve cinched it. I generally leave a bit of a tail at the beginning and end of a row and bury the tail ends in my woven piece. Here is an illustration of the knot:
I prefer the clove hitch knot over hemstitching when I am interested in having a fringe on a warp rep piece; the warp is so dense (often 30 ends per inch or more) that sewing through all of those threads is a bit of a headache. The clove hitch knot, because it is separate from the weft yarn in the weaving, allows you to exercise some creativity when it comes to color, too. Here is an example of a row of clove hitch knots in bright red for my holiday placemats:
If you have a bit of warp leftover on your next weaving project, give this trusty knot a try. It might take a while to find a rhythm, but it is such a useful knot that I think that you will be glad to have learned it. And if you decide to take up rock climbing or sailing, you’ll impress your instructor with your knot-tying know-how.
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