Joining thread with a Weaver’s Knot

Sailors are familiar with the sheet bend [124743], a quick and easy method of joining two ropes which is secure enough for their practical purposes. Bookbinders use the same knot, although some of them may not realize it.

The method shown below is especially useful in bookcrafts since the "almost finished" thread length can be left quite short, as usually happens in practice. This "old" thread plays a small and passive part in the knot formation. This method also has the advantage that the knot can be tied very close to the working part of the "old" thread.

The start of the knot is shown below. The "old" thread is still threaded through the eye of the needle, and the shaft of the needle lies through the noose of a simple slip knot tied in the "new" thread.

A bookbinder's version of the Weaver's knot

The needle and "old" thread is passed through the loop of the slip knot, which is is being used to lassoo the "old" thread. The slip knot is gradually tightened and at the same time is slid as far towards the last hole used by the "old" thread as possible.

Tying a weaver's knot - stage 2

When the slip knot is considered close enough to the paper, the hold on the "old" thread can be released. The new thread will be sewn through the next hole, and the knot must be kept away from the new hole. Ideally it looks best if it can end up centrally on the next stitch (which has yet to be made).

Bookbinding - joining a new thread

The next stage involves changing finger grips. Leave the "old" thread alone and pinch the loose end of the "new" thread with the fingers of one hand. The picture below shows the "new" thread being held. Hold the working end of the "new" thread with the other. This is not shown. It is the spool-end.

A gentle pull on the short and long ends of the "new" thread will cause the noose to choke the "old" thread, pulling it through the noose in such a way that it is unlikely ever to come undone. Snip the two ends to be 5 to 10 mm long and the job is done. The picture, below shows the knot, finally tied, and close-up to the original hole.

Description of picture

It is not possible to see the finshed result in close-up with this, an actual working example. We have prepared a demonstration [XXXXXX] version in more detail should you wish to clarify matters by seeing it in greater close up. Or better still - go and experiment! There is also guidance [xxxxxx] on typing a simple slip knot.

For anyone sceptical about the relationship with the Weaver's Knot and the Sheet Bend we have a few notes [xxxxxx].

The method used by weavers to tie their knot is different. It involves wrapping threads around two fingers of one hand and a quick jiggle with the other. No doubt they are able to tie their knot in milliseconds, and with their eyes closed. Please let me know if you can amplify this, preferably with very much slowed-down pictures. It may be a skill that is being lost to future generations.

I am not a sailor. I am sure they also will have one handed, different, but very quick ways of tying sheet bends whilst holding on to the mast ~ in a typhoon ~ with the other hand.


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