The half hitch can be used as a friction (Day 2), combined into a lock (Day 4) and many more complex hitches use the half hitch as one of their building blocks. Because of its simplicity, the half hitch is a powerful tool to create structure and beautiful patterns. For example, a series of half hitches on a limb form a quick ladder tie, or use it to change direction to create a zig zag pattern. Looking at its use in macrame and knitting is very inspiring to create new ties.

Half Hitch

Half hitches are a great way to add structure to a tie but it requires that tension is maintained in order to keep it’s grip.

Here we are are using the half hitch as described in ABOK 2490. For more knot geeking, the Ashley Book of Knots is an excellent resource to explore the difference between the overhand, single hitch, the half hitch, and the half knot. They are all basic components of knot work.

Zig Zag Armbinder

An armbinder is a tie that brings the two arms parallel in the back and is also known as strappado. This is a great way to try both the ladder structure and the zig zag pattern.

Safety tip: When tying on the arms, make sure the rope is slightly loose to avoid nerve compression. For most people this arm position will be hard to maintain, be ready to untie quickly if needed.

Dreamcatcher Leg Tie

Dreamcatchers are an amazing inspiration, this Native American tradition has a huge variety of beautiful patterns to study. The classic basic pattern only use half hitches and is quite easy to tie.

Practice Time!

Create a tie with zig zag or dreamcatcher pattern to drill half hitches.

  • Self-evaluation checklist:
  • There are no unnecessary twists in the rope
  • The rope folds in a way that makes the half hitches folded for maximum efficiency
  • Maintain equal tension across the tie, note that catching a previous rope and pulling will progressively add tension

Exploration ideas:

  • Try the patterns on different body parts
  • Try the pattern on an inanimate objects such as a chair or a frame
  • Compare half hitches vs just going straight (not catching on itself, for the same tie design
  • How does the tie behave when moving the limbs after they were tied?
  • Look at different macrame and dreamcatcher patterns and try them on the body

Credit: Half hitch R/P: Ebi McKnotty. Zig zag armbinder M: Nathaniel Flumen R/P Ebi McKnotty. Dreamcatcher leg tie M/R: FreakyFerret P: Ebi McKnotty

Next: Clove Hitch

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