Turk's head knots go back centuries. They were and still are useful for numerous applications especially on sailing vessels. The knot could be used as foot or hand holds on ropes, in lifelines and on the up and down (king) spoke of the ship's steering wheel - when it is upright, it indicates the rudder is centrally located. Shown below is the knot in shipboard netting. Some racing crews wear a turk's head knot bracelet or anklet.

But landlubbers also love the knot for its many practical and decorative uses as hand grips on fishing poles, archery bows, vaulting poles and in basketry, bell ropes, napkin rings as well as jewelry.

As you can see the turk's head knot is actually a closed loop braid. It's usually formed circularly but it can also be worked flat for a mat.

There is a specific terminology for variations of this knot. Take this blue 3-lead, 10-bight Turk's head knot for example. The 3 lead refers to the main strands used - i.e. 3 pairs of working strands. The bights refer the number of crossings.

You work either with just your hands or weave it around something cylindrical like a can. The ends are tucked in and usually made more secure with glue or sewing. Game to try? Then here are the tutorials to get you started.

1. Turtledove on ehow.com wrote the instructions for how to make a sailor's knot bracelet using nylon cord.

2. Selfmadesailor's quick video on how to make a turk's head knot also shows you how it can be converted into a ball - this is a super idea for making knotted jewelry albeit with finer cord than he is using!

2.Selfmadesailor has another great video tutorial where he shows us how to make the turk's head knot in a flat fashion to create a mat. But watch what he does at the end where he easily turns it into a cylindrical turk's head knot like for a bracelet.

3. One super site with free tutorials on knotting is Stormdrane's blog.  He has a useful idea for making turk's head knot lanyards which can decorate anything from cell phones to Swiss Army knives as well as ways to make luggage handle wraps - helps identify your black bag amongst zillions of other black bags at airports! Also check out his videos on Youtube.

4. For utter inspiration on colored cords and the introduction of beads into turk's head knot bracelets is George who writes the Whatknotnow blog and has an Etsy store. This black one with red beads below is lovely!

jewelry making supplies


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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM