Single Monkey's Fist Knot Necklace
4 October 2013
Monkey's Fist Knots were originally used by sailors to weight ropes for easier throwing. Historically the knot consisted of three interconnected coils of rope, tied around something heavy (other past uses include a hiding place for precious stones or even a hand weapon on 19th century brawls). As this is a decorative knot, we've omitted the extra weight!
It's much easier than it looks and has many uses and possible combinations. This version of the necklace is easier to make and takes less time than our Multiple Monkey's Fist Knot Necklace so it's a good one to start with. If you would like to give your necklace the color effect as shown in the image then just follow the simple dip dye steps found here.
- 3 meters (10 feet) of 6 mm braided natural cord
- Off-white DMC Stranded Cotton
- Double-sided tape
- Sewing needle (fit to string size)
- Crochet needle (recommended option)
Take all 3 meters of cord and tightly wrap double-sided tape around both ends-- resembling ends of shoe laces.
Make a 'pull through loop' knot about 8" (20 cm) from the center of your cord.
Begin the monkey's fist knot by making a peace sign with your less dominant hand.
Using the shorter end of cord, measured from the knot, make 3 loose loops around your spread index and middle finger. At the end of the 3 loops, place the knot in between your index and middle finger (you may need to give it more slack or pull some cord back).
Now take the longer end between your fingers and behind the loops you already made, and pass it between your index and middle finger back to where you started.
Repeat step 4 twice. There should be 3 loops around the 3 loops you previously made. Carefully push the knot into the center of the loops and don't let it escape!
This step might be a bit tricky because the last 3 loops have to pass through where your fingers are holding the knot. So, gently take your index finger out of the loops and continuing with the same (longer) end, pass it through the hole where your index finger just was. Then take out your middle finger and pass the same end back through that hole. Repeat this twice more, then pass the cord through the top hole for the last time to complete the knot.
Although the knot is complete, it needs to be tightened. Start gently pulling the loops tighter from the overhand knot, following the loops around so that each is being tightened as you go. Keep the overhand knot hidden at the center and do not pull it out of the knot. Do not try tightening the knot all at once! A crochet needle may be handy in picking up the correct loop and acting as a lever to pull it with. When the knot has an even surface around and feels as dense as a ripe orange, roll it between your hands to finish rounding it out.
Now it's time to make the surrounding small knots. First, make a small loop in the cord right next to the Monkey's Fist Knot. With this loop-- and all loops that follow-- size to liking as you go because there is no final tightening step.
Next to the loop fold the cord in a U shape and pull it through the loop. Only pull it through as far as needed to keep it the same as the first loop's size. Consistency in loop size will make all the difference for the end result.
Repeat step 9 until the stitched knots reach a length of about 5-6" (12-15 cm). Be sure to keep the long end of the cord on the same side at all times.
Once the knots have reached the above length, pull the entire cord through the last loop instead of continuing with U shaped bends.
Switch to the other side of the Monkey's Fist Knot and repeat steps 8-11. Remember to keep the loop size consistent and mirrored with those you just made so the necklace comes out balanced.
Once all knots are finished lay the necklace down straight and trim the ends so the total necklace length becomes 24" (60 cm) with the Monkey's Fist Knot centered. Overlap the ends about 1" (3 cm) so the necklace becomes a circle.
Cut a 20" (50 cm) piece of DMC stranded cotton and fold in half. Hold the folded end behind the overlapping pieces of cord and pull the cut ends of cotton through the loop the folded end makes. Wind the cotton tightly around the cords and keep the cotton strands neatly side-by-side.
Once the cotton strands cover the overlapping ends, take a needle and thread the cut ends (if need cannot fit both ends at once, you can do one after another). Push the needle under the cotton strands you just wound towards where you started then cut off the excess that sticks out.