Crossed Ian Shoelace Knot

Crossed Ian Shoelace Knot diagram

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.

Step 1:

Begin with regular “Starting Knot”

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

Step 2:

Fold both lace ends into “loops”

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

Step 3:

Twist both loops CLOCKWISE

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.

Step 4:

Cross loops, left (yellow) in front

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.

Step 5:

Feed loops through each other

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.

Step 6:

Loops emerge from both sides

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.

Step 7:

Pull tight to complete the knot

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.

Technical Details

Technical Description

The Ashley Book Of Knots

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 Shoelace 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 Shoelace 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 isn't secure.

Personally, I also don't like the way that the two loose ends stick out of the front and back of the knot instead of lying more naturally alongside the loops, as is the case with most other shoelace bows. It just doesn't look “neat”.

Visitor Feedback

i would point out that the “crossed ian knot” is reffered to by some sources as a flemming shoelace knot (don't hold me to the spelling, but it's on animated knots by grog something similar).

– Brian P., Oct-2012

also, thanks for your shoe tying section, I figured out just yesterday that I was always tying my shoes wrong, but now I use your crossed Ian knot, because I can tie my shoes faster now, but also like your Halloween knot because it's fancy

– Emily L., Wisconsin, USA, Aug-2008

If you'd also like to send feedback, please Contact Ian.

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This page last updated: 04-Sep-2022. Copyright © 2005-2022 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.

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