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The Ashley Book of Knots Hardcover – June 21, 1944
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The Ashley Book of Knots takes us back to a time when knots saved lives and put dinner on the table. Whether out at sea or in a pioneer cabin, knots were a part of daily life, one that is nearly lost today. But in this attractive, well-organized archive of more than 3,900 different knots--presented through 7,000 illustrations--the art of knot tying lives on, both as a historical reference and a reservoir of handy knowledge.
About the Author
CLIFFORD W. ASHLEY had two ruling passions all his life: marine painting and knot tying. A student of Howard Pyle's, he is represented in the permanent collections of museums and libraries all along the East Coast. At the time of his death he was one of the world's leading authorities on knot tying. Both these interests kept him close to the open sea, and when he wasn't trading knot knowledge with sailors, his easel was set up on wharves, decks, or shorelines.
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Top customer reviews
...the Des Pawson or Brian Toss books are better because the diagrams are far clearer. Still, you have this.....
It is a surprising book in two respects. One, Ashley manages to show you how to do most knots in one picture, occasionally two or three. That is a real talent. Look online for knot instructions and you will see twelve pictures per knot. That almost makes it more confusing. The other surprising thing is that the little paragraphs about each knot are really interesting. I have learned a few things.
If you like knots you probably need to own this.
However, the sections on decorative knotting are extensive, and if one is ready for that, this is a good resource.
Written from the perspective of a man who apprenticed on a square rigged whaling bark, where rope was a raw material and knots were tools, it lacks the 21st century approach. Since he is writing from that era, there is nothing on synthetic materials nor are there any photographs. His line drawings do a fine job of conveying the ideas he is presenting, with the possible exception of a few of the very complex knots. But what it lacks in modern parlance and presentation it far more than makes up with richness and depth.
Even though it starts out simply, it is not a book for beginners. It would be better to start out learning a dozen or so knots and getting the feel of line in your hands as a foundation and then move on. That way, Ashley can provide you with page upon page of delight as another lightbulb goes on and you add to your knot vocabulary.
An interesting transformation occurs as you continue to dip into this book: it becomes less of an instructional manual and more of an epic journey that began thousands of years ago; one that you are invited to recreate with the knots that you tie. Dive into Ashley's and you will never look at a piece of rope, line, yarn or twine the same way again.