Single column tie: Which direction?

Posted on Mon, 30 March 2015

During a private class, I was unhappy with the way the first wrap of the hip harness I was demonstrating was folding over and twisting. Whilst, I was able to show how the rope exited in a specific direction and to illustrate how this was the natural way to follow as the direction of tension closed the knot, it just didn't lie nicely. The knot looked all wrong and the wraps were twisted. Thinking that I had inadvertently lapsed into applying unequal tension and causing a twist before completing the knot, I re-tied it. Same problem. It's an easy mistake to make. If you apply too much tension to the bight, the wraps will tend to twist. The result is ugly. You need to pay attention to keep things neat. However, this wasn't cause.

Upon closer examination, the cause became apparent. My working end was pointing diagonally upwards, thus when tension was applied to continue downwards, the knot was pulled down twisting the wraps.

I had applied my wraps by stacking the second on top of the first, i.e. working upwards. This meant that the working end would naturally exit on the top diagonally. Of course, if it exited to the right, this would be the best direction to proceed since the oppoiste would pull the knot open, not closed. However, the issue was where the rope exited on top of the wraps. This would have been perfect if the intention was to work upwards, like tying into the front wraps of a gote.

If, like this case, the intention was to tie a hip harness, one needs the working end to exit downwards to prevent this twisting and to follow the rule of tying in the direction the rope naturally wants to go. The secret of getting the knot exiting downwards is to build downwards. In other words, the second wrap is applied below the first. If you do this, the knot will no longer try to twist the wraps and it will lie neatly in the right position.

If you think about it, you should almost always follow this rule when tying a single column tie on any part of the body. Off the top of my head, the only exception I can think of would be where you have an 'open end', where you would generally tie toward it for efficiency.  An example would be the wrist where the 'open end' is the hand. If you tie towards it, you can wrap smoothly without letting go of the rope. If you tie up the arm, it is more awkward as you must let go of the rope to complete each wrap which loses control and breaks flow.

Here's a video showing what I mean:

Single column tie: Direction from Esinem on Vimeo.

For more on how to tie a single column tie effctively, see the tutorials on ShibariClasses.