An image on Flickr of these small dragonflys lead me to this tutorial on the Dragonfly knot
This sent me scurrying all over the net to see what was out there on the traditional handcraft of Chinese knotting . I knew that lovers had used knots to symbolise their commitment to each other and that knotting had a long history dating back thousands of years.
I did manage to find the significance of the dragonfly knot in this listing of meanings associated with classic knot designs . On this site take a look at the snail and the butterfly. They would make wonderful motifs for any crazy quilt!
As I discovered when I attempted this little dragonfly Chinese knots are actually woven from a single thread
Chinese knots are built up from a group of basic formations. This gallery of knots give clear illustrations of basic knots.
Tutorials for these basic knots are pretty thin but I did find some. This tutorial illustrates what looks like another version of the dragonfly and a little person. Most of the tutorials give directions but this article shows how the knots are worked over the hand. (Scroll down the page)
As you can see most of the tutorials work with gimp but I wanted to create smaller knots and I was having trouble I found as I was using finer cord that I was having trouble holding the knot. Dexterity has never been a problem for me but the smaller I attempted tomake the dragonfly the more of a pickle I got into. Once I realised these knots were woven I pinned the thread to a polystyrene tray, and following these diagrams for the Dragonfly knot off I went.
I experimented with various threads and various sizes and am gradually building the skill to make them quite small. The thread is a fine cord. As you can see I am still mastering the tension and the body seems to twist but a few stitches will hold it in place and I plan to fill the wings with seed beads when I attach it to a crazy quilt block. I probably have the craft of hand tying these totally cacky handed but for my purposes ie. creating motifs that can be used on crazy quilt blocks it works.
I took a photograph with an American dime (is that 10c?) and an Australian 5c piece in order to give people a sense of scale.
Sarah – I think it must be your thunderstorm as they all work for me – hope noone else has problems
Sharon, I love the knot stuff; I tried to check out the first six links in this note, those re: the dragonflies, etc., and the links did not work. Have I done something wrong, or is this Texas thunderstorm (right overhead now!) that’s affecting things?! Thanks so much for all you do!
Candida – thanks for the link to the history site and I checked out your flickr site Carole – I like where the dragon fly is going to live
Oh how pretty, you made one! It looks so tiny and delicate. Thanks for researching these Chinese knots- I have also seen knotting projects in Japanese craft magazines, but I wonder how theirs differs from the Chinese knots… Maybe I need to bone up on my macramé… haven’t tried that since I was a little girl in the early 7O’s!
Sharon, thanks for this. Like you I found it easier on a small lace pillow with pins. I used a rather stretchy pink cord, but it turned out okay. I think my body twisted when I forgot which way I was working the square knot. I may use it on a small purse I’m making from Sophie Gelfi’s Magic Patch magazine. I’ve posted a couple of pictures on Flickr.
These knots are used in macrame works. There is a brief history of this art at http://www.moonlightsys.com/nemo/mac_hist.html. It is interesting to know that this art originated with 13th-century Arabian weavers which the sailors kept alive and spread to China and the New World.
Those are just fabulous! AND I have time on my own tonight. Hmmm, I think you know what I’ll be trying! 🙂