Crossed Ian Shoelace Knot

This knot is a curiosity that often results from tying the Ian Knot incorrectly. Twisting the loops in the wrong direction results in a knot with the ends crossed within the knot. It seems more secure – but can easily fall apart.

Completed Starting Knot

Step 1:

Begin with a regular Left-over-Right Starting Knot.

Crossed Ian Shoelace Knot diagram 1

Step 2:

Make both ends into “loops” by simply doubling them back onto themselves. People often refer to these as “Bunny Ears”.

Crossed Ian Shoelace Knot diagram 2

Step 3:

Unlike the regular Ian Knot, twist both loops clockwise so that the left (yellow) loose end is at the back and the right (blue) loose end is at the front.

Crossed Ian Shoelace Knot diagram 3

Step 4:

The left (yellow) loop, which would naturally end up behind the right (blue) loop, is instead crossed back to the front, restoring it to the exact position that it would be in for the regular “Ian Knot”.

Crossed Ian Shoelace Knot diagram 4

Step 5:

With everything back in position, this move is identical to that of the regular “Ian Knot”. Each hand uses the two fingers inside its own loop to grab the loose end of the other hand's loop.

Crossed Ian Shoelace Knot diagram 5

Step 6:

This step is again identical to that of the regular “Ian Knot”. Each hand releases its own loop and pulls the loose end of the opposite loop through its own.

Crossed Ian Shoelace Knot diagram 6

Step 7:

When pulled tight, the result is a perfectly symmetrical knot just like the regular “Ian Knot” with an extra crossover of lace ends in the middle. With practice, this can be tied almost as quickly as the regular method.

Finished Knot

Finished Crossed Ian Shoelace Knot

The finished “Crossed Ian Knot” looks very similar to the regular Ian Knot except for the additional crossover in the middle of the knot.

Technical Details

The Ashley Book Of Knots

Technical Description

Just as the Ian Knot uses the same core technique as the traditional “Tom Fool's Knot” (which appears in the definitive reference The Ashley Book of Knots as both #1141 and in more detail as #2534), the “Crossed Ian Knot” uses the same core technique as the traditional “Handcuff Knot” (which in turn is shown as #412, #1134 and #1140). This knot is generally used to make “handcuffs” from a length of rope. The “Crossed Ian Knot” could be described as a more intricate variant of the “Handcuff Knot”.

Is It A Worthwhile Knot?

Note that although this knot seems more secure than the regular Ian Knot when initially pulled tight, this is easily undone if the knot is disturbed. Even a slight tug to either of the loops or the loose ends will spill the crossover out of the knot, after which the knot falls apart just as easily as a regular shoelace knot.

In fact, the “Ashley Book of Knots” states:

"After the Handcuff Knot has been drawn up snugly, each end may be half hitched around one of the loops to render the knot secure."

In other words, without this final step, the knot is not secure.

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