Ian Knot Technical Info.
This page contains some technical information on the Ian Knot, including its knotting origins, its advantages and
Ian Knot Technical Description
The finished Ian Knot is identical to both the
Standard Shoelace Knot and the
Two Loop Shoelace Knot. In fact, all three of these form
exactly the same finished knot, which appears in
The Ashley Book of Knots as #1212 and #1214,
"The Bowknot", where it is described as
"... the universal means of fastening shoe-strings together."
The Ian Knot therefore isn't technically a new "Knot", rather it is a new "Technique" or "Method", which differs
only in the manner and speed of tying. The finished knot is just as secure and just as easy to untie.
The core of my technique is almost identical to that used in the
"Tom Fool Knot", which is a similarly "instant" knot that is usually tied in the middle of a length of rope,
using the whole hands instead of just the fingertips. The Ian Knot could be described as a more intricate variant
of the Tom Fool Knot.
While the Tom Fool Knot is described in various knotting books, the definitive reference
The Ashley Book of Knots even has a picture on the front cover of an old sailor tying a Tom Fool Knot! (as
seen at right).
Naming It The "Ian Knot":
Since publishing my instructions, I've received the occasional e-mail from other people with similar techniques,
although many of them had confused the Ian Knot with the very similar looking
Two Loop Shoelace Knot. I'm humble enough to accept that I am only one of many to have come up with this
method. However, I have yet to discover any other name for this technique. Perhaps I'm simply the first person
to have named my invention, documented the procedure and actively and freely shared it with the world?
Note that the Ashley Book of Knots has some inconsistencies. The "Tom Fool Knot" is shown as both #1141 and in
more detail as #2534, the final illustration of which is actually that of the "Handcuff Knot", which in turn is
shown as both #1134 and #1140, and which uses the same core technique as my
Crossed Ian Shoelace Knot
My Own Technical Observations
How Does It Compare To Regular Shoelace Knots?|
When I first invented the Ian Knot, I was curious to see how it differed from the tried and tested conventional
knot that I had been using until then. For several months, I tied one shoe the old way and the other shoe with my
new Ian Knot. This led to the following conclusions:
- The Ian Knot
was quicker to tie, taking only a split second compared with a couple of seconds for the conventional knot.
- The Ian Knot
was easier to tie than the conventional knot regardless of the prevailing conditions (ie. hot or cold, light
or dark, wet or dry).
- The Ian Knot
was functionally identical to the conventional knot, thus it stayed tied just as reliably, was just as easy to
untie, and was just as prone to occasionally get tangled when untying.
(Eg. Due to a loose end inadvertently going through a loop during the day's activities).
- The Ian Knot
caused less wear & tear on my laces than the conventional knot.
(The lace of the shoe with the conventional knot became tattered and eventually broke, thus ending the experiment).
- However, the Ian Knot
was more difficult to tie than the conventional knot when the laces were too short or when something had to be
tied extra tight.
The Ian Knot: Tying It Tight
Every knot has its own peculiarities that have to be overcome in order to learn how to tie it tightly. With the
Ian Knot, the simultaneous inward movement from both sides makes it harder to maintain outward tension on the
Starting Knot. Also, neither hand has a finger free to hold things in place, as is usually done with other
When learning, it's natural to begin with large loops to allow for easier manipulation. After gaining confidence,
start using progressively smaller loops. This helps in many ways, some of which will only become apparent when you
actually try them:
- The fingers stay closer to the starting knot, meaning that it is not released for as long.
- The fingers can in fact be so close to the starting knot that they actually hold it in place to some extent.
- The loops swing in a conical arc, maintaining tension the whole time.
- The finishing knot requires less tightening down once the loops are pulled through, again reducing the length of
time during which any drop in tension could loosen the starting knot.
Keeping the loops small and tight helps maintain tension in just the right way to keep the Ian Knot tight from
start to finish.
An Alternative Measure:
While practicing the Ian Knot, one useful measure is to tie a
Double Starting Knot, which helps keep everything tight while working on the Ian Knot. It's sort of like using
"Training Wheels" until the Ian Knot has been mastered, after which the regular
Starting Knot can once again be used.
Identical knot using a different technique (much slower).
Mega Ian Knot
Enhanced, more secure variation of this knot (much trickier).
This page last updated: 27-Jan-2013. Copyright © 2003-2013 by
Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.