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I started tying knots in 1985 while working on off-shore oil rigs in Alaska. A few of the work crew started making Monkeys Fist key fobs and before you knew it, we were trying to out do each other with all kinds of knots and braids. This was a wonderful way to pass the time while on fire watch or when the seas were too rough to work on deck.
At home in Anchorage I found myself fumbling with a piece of cord while all the time making key fobs, zipper pulls, bell ropes and Turk’s head bracelets. After 20 years in Alaska I have relocated to Charleston, South Carolina; drawn to the lowcountry by its maritime history and scenic coast line.
I have been a member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers since 1992.
What did Spanish and English sailors do in port between ship assignments? To earn extra money and to keep themselves busy, they would make decorative knots to sell to the travelers visiting the seaport towns. Their knots included knot boards, bell ropes, lanyards, button knots for coats and fancy knots for hanging inside or outside the home.
The Monkey's Fist
The Monkeys Fist is a weighted knot used to heave a lighter line to an other boat or dock. Once the lighter line is received a stronger towline or bow line can be transferred. Before Monkeys Fists were painted bright red or orange many a sailor were hit in the head by the flying Monkeys Fist. Today the Monkeys Fist is still one of the most recognized knots. It makes a fine key fob, zipper pull on your rain slicker and a tug & toss dog toy that floats. A small bowling ball or steel ball bering can be used as the core making a door stop. Add a wooded ball and chain you have a fan or light pull. Place a small bell inside and watch your cat dance with joy.