Mallory McInnis spends most of her time on the Internet amassing awesome things to share on her blog, Gems. She lives in Maine (the woodsy, Stephen King-book-setting part, not by the ocean) and drives all over New England looking for vintage books to sell in her shop, Elwood & Eloise. She’s happiest when sipping an iced coffee, wearing a robe and watching a movie (or reading a book), with a sandwich on a plate beside her.
If there isn’t a jaunty rhyming children’s book about all the different sorts of people who use knots, there should be. For most, the introduction to the wide world of knotting arrives with the bow (learning how to tie your shoes) — but that’s only the beginning! There are so many ways and reasons to knot.
[1. Tie the Knot card by Memo; 2. Tree swing by Peg and Awl; 3. Pretzel bag by Bell Street; 4. Pretzel earrings by Izzie Tale; 5. Vintage knot ring at Sinantiques; 6. Rope leash by BLINK; 7. Twist Twine vintage book at Rank & File; 8. Vintage rope horse from jadekudzu; 9. Tie-front crop tank by Leah Goren; 10. Knotted bolo bag clip by Karen Kimmel Studios.]
Summertime is prime knotting season. While it’s prudent to double-knot bikini strings before taking a dip, you’ll most likely emerge from the water with more knots than you went in with: in your hair. Tangles are knots your hair makes for you; top knots are knots you make for your hair. If you went to summer camp, you probably spent many an hour tying knot after knot into embroidery floss to make a friendship bracelet. On a summer day during the macrame fad of the 1970s, you’d see tons of knotted planters outside blowing gently in the wind. Summer is also the perfect time to tie your shirt up into a crop-top, grab your fishing pole and use your knotting skills to tie up your line and lure.
The most famous way to use knots is undoubtedly for sailing: the bowline, figure eight knot, reef knot, clove hitch, cleat hitch — avid sailors can tie them off more easily than I can tie my sneakers.
[10. Baby top knot hat by Juniper Wilde; 11. “Remember Me” ring by Melanie Favreau; 12. Skipping rope by Jupiter’s Child; 13. Vintage silk scarf from vintagedame; 14. Nautical card by Hello Small World; 15. Vintage rope pig from Lackluster Co.; 16. Anchor card by Caitlin Hinshelwood; 17. Vintage macramé planter from Drowsy Swords Vintage; 18. Vintage pretzel stickers from Vintage Sticker Love; 19. Monkey’s fist knot from Perch Shop; 20. Ombré knot necklace by ChezKristel; 21. Pretzel lunch bag by girls can tell.]
But the knotting doesn’t end there: hikers use knots to save lives, while hangmen use knots to take them. Gardeners, butchers and magicians all use knots (even if in the last case they’re trick ones); physicists can even tie water into knots. Then you have the non-literal knots, like the ones you tie when you get married or the ones that twist up your insides when you’re anxious or upset.
[22. Vintage brass earrings from sparklefarm and Pretzel necklace by Gold Teeth Brooklyn; 23. Figure 8 knot linocut print by Rachel Joy; 24. Rope bracelet by What Knot Shop; 25. Let’s Hang card by Hartland Brooklyn; 26. Painted monkey’s fist knot by Made By Cassandra Smith; 27. Vintage life-preserver earrings from Vintage Jewelry Chest; 28. Anatomy of a Sailor tee by Maiden Voyage Clothing; 29. Canvas pop-up bag by Chris Van Veghel; 30. Macramé print by Alia Diaz; 31. Nautical knots pillow cover by Whitlock & Co.; 32. Pretzels print by Seinfood.]
Last, but certainly not least, we mustn’t forget my favorite knot of all — a knot of the edible kind: the magnificent pretzel.