A New Twist on the Nautical Knot by

Issue 25 · The Life Aquatic · June 25, 2014

A New Twist on the Nautical Knot

Issue 25 · The Life Aquatic · June 25, 2014

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. It was billed as "doggie dental floss"—during games of tug of war, your canine's teeth are miraculously cleaned—but my 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, I came across sculptor 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. 

Cassandra Smith nautical knots Haus Interior via Remodelista

Above: A sampling of Cassandra Smith's hand-painted knots, size small; $42 each. Based in Milwaukee, WI, Smith specializes in decorating unexpected objects, such as mounted deer heads, and is best known for her painted antlers.

Cassandra Smith nautical knots Haus Interior via Remodelista

Above: Smith's knots come in sizes ranging from extra small (6 inches in circumference) to large (12.5 inches in circumference) and are priced at approximately $14 to $58.Each knot has a wooden ball in its center.

Cassandra Smith monkey knot | Remodelista

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

Cassandra Smith hand-painted monkey's fist knots | Remodelilsta

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 5 inches to 20 inches.

Cassandra Smith nautical knots Haus Interior via Remodelista

Above: Some of the knots are patterned with tiny dots. 

Cassandra Smith nautical knots Haus Interior via Remodelista

Above: Smith's next project is creating painted monkey's-fist garlands, and, by popular demand, monkey's-fist necklaces.

For more maritime inspiration, browse our image gallery of Nautical Design, including DIY: Nautical Stripes on Stairs and High/Low: Nautical Rope Lights. See Gardenista for Nautical Rope Doormats.

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on October 18, 2013 as part of our Handyman Special issue.

Remodelista Considered Design Awards enter by July 7, 2014



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