I’ve been tying decorative ropework for well over 10 years now since I taught myself to splice ropes for my narrowboat. The knot books I bought also had pictures of beautiful decorative knots so it wasn’t long before I was learning some of them as well. To start with there was a great deal of swearing as I got the hang of each one but gradually it all started to fall into place. Above are pictures of a bellrope made for my neighbour’s doorbell a couple of years ago and below is a big challenge, a “swan’s neck” made for the elum of an historic working boat. (It’s the long piece running down to the rudder).
The term “tiddlywork” (as I was told by a fellow boater) is Navy slang for small scale knotwork and it’s where I took my business name from.
The knotting took a back seat when I started working with leather until a few months ago, when I found out that round leather cord in different thicknesses was available. Why not trying a bit of tiddlyworking in leather?
So I did! I nearly fell at the first hurdle. The 4 mm cord I began with was far too stiff to shape into intricate knots and I was puzzling about how to soften it. I found that by soaking the leather for several hours (or overnight) it became pliable enough to work with. Another bonus was that it shrank slightly as it dried, meaning that the knots tightened up nicely.
Since then there’s been no stopping me! I’m beginning to list my creations on my Etsy shop, Tiddleyworks and more will be appearing soon. I was especially pleased to learn to tie the Dragonfly and Cross knots. They make really beautiful keyrings or bag charms when tied in delicate 2mm cord.