A New Twist on the Nautical Knot by

Issue 94 · Handyman Special · October 18, 2013

A New Twist on the Nautical Knot

Issue 94 · Handyman Special · October 18, 2013

The monkey's fist knot is a sailor's classic, tied around a stone and used to add weight to rope and, on occasion, as a weapon. Its form has an enchanting complexity and symmetry. Which perhaps explains why I succumbed to a looped green-and-white monkey's fist not so long ago at, of all places, a pet supermarket. Though billed as "doggie dental floss"—during games of tug of war, your canine's teeth are miraculously cleaned—my beloved mutt wouldn't even sniff at it. I didn't care. Dog toy or not, I like the way it hangs fetchingly on a doorknob. 

Recently at Haus Interior, I came across artist Cassandra Smith's artful take on the form and felt vindicated. "They have a crafty, vintage feel yet are very precisely made," she said by way of explaining the appeal. I'm now ready to upgrade to a wall of her color-blocked twists. 

To see more, go to Haus Interior and Cassandra Smith.

Cassandra Smith nautical knots Haus Interior via Remodelista

Above: A sampling of Cassandra Smith's hand-painted knots, size large; $58 each. Based in Milwaukee, WI, Smith specializes in decorating unexpected objects, such as mounted deer heads, and is best known for her painted antlers, which, to her dismay, have been widely knocked off.

Cassandra Smith nautical knots Haus Interior via Remodelista

Above: Smith's knots come in sizes ranging from extra small (7 inches in circumference) to large (12.5 inches in circumference) and are priced at approximately $38 to $58. 

Cassandra Smith nautical knots Haus Interior via Remodelista

Above: Custom color combinations are available on request via Haus Interior and Smith's Etsy shop, Made by Cassandra Smith

Cassandra Smith nautical knots Haus Interior via Remodelista

Above: Smith reports that most people hang the knots or perch them on shelves; they also make good curtain tiebacks. The loops vary in length from 6 inches to 20 inches.

Cassandra Smith nautical knots Haus Interior via Remodelista

Above: Smith's newest knots are patterned with tiny dots. Each knot has a wooden ball in its center.

Cassandra Smith nautical knots Haus Interior via Remodelista

Above: The display at Haus Interior. Smith's next project is creating monkey-fist garlands, and, by popular demand, she plans to make painted monkey-fist necklaces.

For more maritime inspiration, browse our gallery of Nautical Designs, which include DIY: Nautical Stripes on Stairs and High/Low: Nautical Rope Lights.



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