The clove hitch is the go-to knot to tie down things in place quickly. Also referred to as the double hitch, the clove hitch is a series of two half hitches tied in the same direction (or a single hitch and a half hitch depending on context). In day 4 we looked at its use as a basic lock using the clove hitch, and it’s such an important foundation, there are more explorations to do with it.

The clove hitch acts like a single column tie, but it tighten and grip as we pull on the standing end. This may be unsafe to tie around wrists or anywhere with exposed nerves, but it is perfect to tie on inanimate objects, or on a less vulnerable part of the body that we wish to wrap tightly.

Clove Hitch Threaded with the Bight

A clove hitch can be tied with the middle of the rope (day 4) but it can be much faster to tie if the bight is available to tie with. We can visualize the clove hitch as an X with the two ends coming from under the diagonal.

Bit Gag

A fun craft project to practice the clove hitch is to make a simple bit gag using a short stick and a short rope.

Clove Hitch Stack

To make a clove hitch using the middle of the rope you need to pull the whole rope through twice but there is a faster trick if the end of the column is accessible. Just create a loop and insert the column into it. You can also prepare the clove hitch in your hand and slide the whole column into it then tighten. This method also work for faster half hitches.

Using a folded rope, this method makes it a bit more tricky to avoid undesired twists in the rope and the tension can be a challenge to maintain compared with threading with the standing end.

Stacked Hitch Pattern

An interesting way to drill the clove hitch is to stack many of them using the same technique. This pattern can be quite decorative and has a strong structure at the same time. It is also one of the classic macrame technique. You can keep it straight or naturally let it spin into an helix shape.

Practice Time!

Create a tie with consecutive clove hitches.

Self-evaluation checklist:

  • There are no unnecessary twists in the rope
  • The rope folds in a way that makes the clove hitches folded for maximum efficiency
  • Each loop is in the same direction (if you change direction, you’ll have a cow hitch instead)
  • Each hitches is of the same level of tension and tightness
  • The distance between each loop is equal (or of the desired distance)
  • The location of the hitches align together

Exploration ideas:

  • Try the patterns on different body parts
  • Try the pattern on an inanimate objects such as a pole or a chair
  • More than one columns in the hitch
  • Play with the level tightness. Can you make it into a tight compression tie around the calf or a corset around the waist?
  • Play with the distance between each loop. Ex: no gap at all, having a gradient of distance
  • Play with the knots location to create patterns. Ex: straight, helix, S shapes
  • Look at different macrame patterns that uses hitches sequence and try them on the body

Credit: M: _Era_ R/P: Ebi McKnotty

Next: Crossing Hitch

Share this page!