Once the rope is safely anchored, the rest of the rope can be used to continue tying. The action of rope wrapping around rope creates friction. It can be used to add structure to a rope pattern without any knot. Frictions are great because they are fast to tie and don’t compact into something hard to untie but they require tension to stay in place.

Progressively adding turns will make frictions more and more solid. It is the compromise between speed and solidity, you can choose what’s best depending on the context and intentions. Some common frictions have names, usually because of their aesthetic or efficiency but there is no problem creating your own by making more or less turns.

Here we explore the basic frictions and decompose the X frictions. There are infinite ways to make frictions and we will explore more styles on Day 204.

Full Turn

Wrapping a rope around another rope, making a complete loop, creates a first hint of structure. This is also known as 360 friction, loop around or wrap around.

Reverse Tension

Changing tension direction will allow you to make parallel wraps that can hold as long as you maintain tension.

Half Hitch

Adding a turn to the reverse tension will allow the tie to stay in place without pulling so much. This is a structure called the half hitch.

Munter Hitch

More turns make the frictions progressively more stable. This specific shape was made popular by Mr. Munter as a belay technique in climbing. It may be stable if the rope is grippy, but may slide with more slippery rope.

X Friction

The rope crossing over itself in different directions creates a very solid system. The X friction is a very classic pattern because it is very sturdy.

Finger Hooking

Efficient movement will give you more control and will feel completely different for the person being tied. Finger hooking is a technique to insert rope in tight gaps, usually under another rope. The trick is to get a finger in and wrap the rope on it like a crochet hook to pull the rope in. If you have more space, you can also use two fingers and trap the rope between them. Pushing rope in a gap is generally inefficient and can damage it, this is why we need to focus our handling on always pulling the rope.

Video Tutorial

Activate subtitles or transcript to view instructions. Please like and subscribe to support the channel. Also available on Vimeo thanks to our patrons on Patreon.

Practice Time!

Create different variations of the rope skirt using a variety of frictions. Use the finger hooking technique to tie efficiently.

Self-evaluation checklist:

  • There are no unnecessary twists in the rope.
  • The rope folds in a way that makes the frictions compacted for maximum efficiency.
  • Tight frictions will make the rope hard to the touch. The tighter the friction, the more efficient it will be.

Exploration ideas:

  • What is the difference between going under and exiting over, versus going over first and then exiting under? Which one has more friction?
  • More slippery rope might require additional turns. Which friction is stable enough for your rope?
  • Mix and match different frictions in the same tie
  • How many movements are required to create each friction?
  • How fast can you make it?
  • How fast can you untie it?
  • Which friction do you find the most aesthetic?
  • How much do you need to pull to make the middle section (stem) completely vertical?
  • How much space should be between each friction on the stem? Can you make them all even?
  • Can you create new frictions based on this technique?

Being Tied: Exploring Balance #1 – sansblague

In this exercise, your rope skirt limits your balance in standing. Take a moment to explore your balance with the help of the person who tied you – let them stay close to you in case you need support. How does it feel to just stand in the rope skirt? How does it feel to stand on one foot? What happens if you try to get to the floor and back up again? To be out of balance can be an exciting experience for some people, just make sure that you do it safely, and there is someone around to support you.

Inspirations and Resources

Credit: Rope skirt idea by Butterfly Bondage –  Pictures –M: Miss_Soffia R/P: Ebi McKnotty



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