April 27, 2020

Sailors Bracelets

Instructions to make your own cotton bracelet at home

There is no knot with a wider field of usefulness. A Turk's-Head is generally found on the "up-and-down" spoke of a ship's steering wheel, so that a glance will tell if the helm is amidship. It provides a foothold on footropes and a handhold on manropes, yoke ropes, gymnasium climbing ropes, guardrails, and life lines. It serves instead of whippings and seizings. It is employed as a gathering hoop on ditty bags, neckerchiefs and bridle reins. Tied in rattan, black whalebone or stiff fishline, it makes a useful napkin ring, and it is often worn by racing crews in "one-design classes" as a bracelet or anklet. It will cover loose ends in sinnets and splices. It furnishes a handgrip on fishing rods, archery bows and vaulting poles. It will stiffen sprung vaulting poles, fishing rods, spars, oars and paddles. On a pole or rope it will raise a bole big enough to prevent a hitch in another rope from slipping. On edged tools it makes an excellent hand guard, and on oars and canoe paddles, a drip guard.It is found employed decoratively on whips, lanyards, telescopes, hatbands, leashes, quirts, and harness; on wicker chairs and basketry; on bell ropes and tassels. Old chest beckets, bell ropes and yoke ropes are resplendent with them… "

Clifford W. Ashley


"Ashley's" is a classic and one of our favorite books on knot tying; secondhand copies tend to be pretty expensive, but we did find a more accessibly priced e-book version here. And there are always plenty of great tutorials free online! Take a look at a few below –

The sailor's knot, also called the Turk's head or "woggle," is part of a family of knots that can be formed into mats or cylinders. Today, they are very popular as bracelets when made from cotton twine. If you make them large enough to fit over your hand, the cotton will shrink a little to fit your wrist as you wear it. Just make sure you don't tie it too tight to begin with, or you'll need scissors when you decide to take it off!

We found a few different tutorials online to show you some of the variety in types you can make at home. Try them with light rope, cotton string, or whatever you can find in the house. If you want to try making one with heavier line, you could try rolling the edges of your Turk's head after the first pass to flatten it and make a small mat or coaster, or come up with your own idea for use around the house! If you don't have any line or string handy, see if you can get an adult to help you order online from a hardware store or business local to you, or try something like this cotton twine if you can't find anything close to home.

A three-lead bracelet; this video was made just down the road from us in Mystic, CT!

Instructions for a five or seven lead version with an even number of bights and step-by-step instructions

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