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DO YOU LIKE CELTIC KNOTS???
HERE’S HOW TO MAKE THEM!!
What you need:
- Graph paper
- Pencil with a good eraser
Got those things?? Good.
To start with, draw out some dots in the shape of the knot you want. Want a square knot (like the example above)? Make a square out of dots. Want a rectangle? Make a rectangle. Get good with basic shapes and you can go on to more complex shapes like borders, circles, etc. I’m going to do a rectangle one for the sake of the tutorial.
Important things to remember when making your dots:
- No closed corners. Make sure all corners are 2 dots diagonal from each other, not a single dot.
- Make sure the edge dots are 2 squares apart. ie: Dot, skip a line, dot, skip a line, etc
- Fill in the entire shape with dots, but make sure they’re in the right places. This is most easily done by drawing your dots diagonally.
Next, draw short lines through every edge dot, but do not let them connect. These lines are called “splits” and are points where a section of the knot will end or split off. Your corners should look like this:
And your whole shape should look like this:
Next, add splits inside the shape wherever you’d like! This is how you’ll “design” your knot. After a lot of practice you’ll have a good feel for how your knot will look just by adding these splits.
I like symmetrical knots, but your knot can look however you want! Don’t add too many splits though. A few will go a long way. Here are the different kind of splits and how they will look:
- One split line: A simple arc. These will be your edges and are the easiest splits to incorporate inside your knot.
- Two split lines: These make a U shape. They will be your corners and are useful for when you want the “rope” of your knot to make a U-turn.
- Three split lines: These are my favorite (but there aren’t any in this tutorial knot). They make cool loop-da-loops and add a splash of fanciness to your knot. However, if you’re not careful about where you place them, they can look strange.
One more type of split, which isn’t really a split at all:
Making a square of split lines, like this one, will make a hole in your knot. No “rope” will pass through these. Likewise, if you square off a smaller shape inside your main shape (leaving no openings into the small shape) the knot inside the small shape will be an entirely separate know from your main knot. (I may do a tutorial about super fancy knots that will include this concept later on). SO if you want holes in your knot, include a couple of these.
OKAY now to the tricky part. Draw short diagonal lines between all the dots that ARE NOT CONNECTED BY SPLIT LINES. If a dot is even remotely connected to a split, leave it alone. These diagonal lines represent parts of your knot that will be straight. Any other space will be filled by a curve in your knot. Here’s sort of what it’ll look like:
Now you need to add the curves. Connect the remaining dots according to their split lines. Refer to the close-ups a couple steps previous to see what I mean. It should look like this:
Notice how all the edges are arcs and all the corners are U’s, but that there are arcs and U’s inside as well. Here you can also see the how the hole in the center will look. This is the step in which you should fix any issues with your knot and add/remove splits you want/don’t want.
Next is probably the most confusing part. From the top row, choose a direction, left-to-right or right-to-left. In the top row (not the edge) draw lines connecting each intersection in the direction you choose. I usually choose left-to-right for my top row. On the next row down, go the opposite direction all the way across. IF A ROW DOES NOT HAVE ANY INTERSECTIONS, DO NOT JUST SKIP IT. TREAT IT AS IF IT DID. This means if you do a row of LtR and the next row doesn’t have any intersections, you treat it as a RtL row anyways and the following row will be LtR. If you simply skip it, the knot will not flow correctly and won’t connect in the right places. Your knot should end up looking something like this:
Now you can see roughly what your knot will look like when completed! Awesome! This is a good time to check and see if your knot is continuous. Follow your line from one point all the way around and see if you pass through every section of your knot. If you see that some of your knot was left out, there is an inconsistency in your knot. While this is fine and you can still make the knot and it will probably still look good, it’s notable that to be considered a “true” celtic knot, the knot must be continuous. But there are no celtic knot police who are going to bust down your door if you prefer to have a rad knot in pieces. If you are happy with your knot, move on! To flesh it out, outline the knot as if it were a rope. Follow the lines. If an intersection has a LtR line through it, the the topmost layer of the rope will go LtR. The picture explains this better:
Finished up, it should look like this:
Now, erase those pesky inside lines, get rid of the outer edge split lines, clean everything up and….
BLAMO!! You’ve made your very own celtic knot!! GO YOU!! You now have a mostly useless, but impressive skill that you never knew you needed!
Edited for typos…