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Aren't these paracord balls cool? They could be strung together on wire for fun and colorful bracelets ad necklaces. The creator of the video tutorial is TIAT short for Tying it all together.

It's a rounded Turk's Head knot (although it does resemble a Monkey's Fist knot ). TIAT made a Turk's Head mat and rolled it up.  Both knots have interesting histories.

Monkey's fist                       Monkey's Fist Knot via WikipediaThe Turk's Head is not only decorative but it has a useful function. It indicates when the rudder is in the central position - when the knotted spoke of a ship's wheel is in the upright position.

The Monkey's Fist is also a nautical decoration but as it forms the weighted end of a short piece of rope, these were often used by 19th century sailors as handy weapons in street and tavern brawls.

Alexander cuts the Gordian Knot, by Jean-Simon...Alexander the Great cutting the Gordian knot via Wikipedia

The Turk's Head knot was most likely the knot featured in the story of Alexander the Great and the Gordian knot. He and his army had come to the ancient city of Gordion (in the present day Anatolia region of Turkey) to visit the temple of Zeus.

He was drawn to the old ox cart there which had an intricate cornel bark knot binding the yoke and wooden pin to the central shaft of the cart.  The ends of the knot were not visible making it difficult to see how it could be untied. According to local legend, the person who could undo it will become ruler of Asia.

 Alexander the Great ( 356 –  323 BC)

The earliest historical source reported Alexander removing the wooden pin and thus releasing the knot completely from the yoke and cart shaft. He could then undo the knot as the ends were now exposed. But the most popular story (which some historians discredit) has this historical overachiever slashing the knot open with his sword. The "Alexandrian solution" is now our way of describing a bold and speedy end to an intractable problem.

That night a thunder and lightning storm occurred which was taken as a sign that Zeus was pleased. Alexander, as we know, did go on to conquer much of Asia, getting as far east as India before his homesick and near mutinous men forced him to turn back.

If you have time and find it, watch the BBC documentary  about the Gordian knot from historian, Michael Wood's award winning series, In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great.

Michael Wood (2001) In the Footsteps of Alexander The Great: A Journey from Greece to Asia

More knotty tutorials :

Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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  1. Pearl, thanks for the intriguing history and legend that surrounds this most attractive knot.
    Back in the late 60's early 70's macramé was the rage and though I recall making some very intricately knotted macramé hangers I never made anything like this Turk's Head knot.
    I can imagine small versions of it used as buttons on oriental styled clothing, it does have vast potential.

  2. Bwaaahahahahaha...just viewed the tutorial video and I was lost at 3 minutes and 37 seconds. That is one extremely complex knot! It would take me a piece of paracord and most of the day of viewing and reviewing TIAT's tutorial to perhaps complete one lopsided and misshapen Turk's Head knot. The way those hands went back and so knowingly tugged and tightened just the right portion of the cord to bring the knot into a firm and rounded ball...short of amazing. I know that I'd be forever tugging at the wrong loop and pulling in the wrong direction ending up with a tangled mess. However this doesn't mean I won't attempt it...I'm a glutton for punishment. :D

  3. It's not an easy knot for sure! Just keep at the video - it helps to pause, "rewind" and watch over and over again the bits that aren't clear. Pearl

  4. Wow...what a fabulous tutorial...complicated yes, but it was done so slowly, I also liked the fact there wasn't any talking, I think it might have been distracting. On my first run it looks as though once you do the first round the other rounds are repetitive as you go round??? Will have to watch again... :0)


  5. Oh my gosh. Mesmerizing. What I want to know is - who on earth created that the first time, and then was able to reproduce it again!!?

  6. thank you so much for your informative blog about knots. I really appreciate your investment in gathering information and enlightening me. I love all you write, thanks, judy (via email)

  7. Very cool! I must try this, thanks Pearl :)

  8. They make great key chain adornments, Heather!

  9. I saw very beautiful tassels on Pinterest/ and was wondering if I could make the same for my linen curtains. After surfing for a while I was about to conclude that it was a 'complicated' Monkey's fist knot when I found the Turk's head knot which brought me hear. Many thanks for the article and a most interesting story!

  10. Glad you enjoyed the background. History makes many things, including knots all the more interesting, doesn't it?


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