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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Friendship knots

I received the above "Eagle Camp Mug" while working at summer camp in 1992.  This is the awesome glow in the dark model.  I have a glow in the dark mug and also a glow in the dark frisbee (plate/bowl).  I saw a lady this weekend that had glow in the dark rope and she said they use it on their tents to keep the kids from tripping over the guy lines.  Now that is smart thinking.

Now I love my mug and people decorate their eagle mugs in many interesting ways.  I have always liked mine with a clean slate and nothing on it.
When it comes to camping, everyone knows me first as a diabetic.  Then everyone knows me as the guy that teaches knots and lashings.  I have a real passion for knots and lashings and well I am good at them.  When I worked at a scout camp in my youth I tought the pioneering merit badge and all sorts of leaders would come by my class and the old timers and sailers would get a rope with the boys and help teach knots.  The sailers  would always show and teach me what is known as fancy knots that don't really have a purpose but they look pretty.  Think of old sail ships with all the lines on them.  They had to keep the deck free and clear so they had to store all the lines.  Also on the ships the one thing the had plenty of was rope, so if they needed to keep a hand rail from being slippery they would fancy the railing up with rope.  Growing up my focus was more in the 10 to 15 main knots used in camping but I enjoyed seeing and learning these sailing or decorative knots.
When it comes to survival gear there has of course been an explosion in companies offering products in various ways and uses.  With the world in the state it is they say invest in lead, gold, and well other stuff.  When camping you should always keep some sort of rope on you.  This rope can be used as a bandage, make a shelter, fishing, bridge building, gear repair, and knitting.  The popular choice of rope to carry is 550 paracord.  This stuff is amazing.  It weighs nothing, holds 550 pounds (hence the name) and has an extremely small diameter.  You can take any of the 7 strands from the inside to use in lighter loads and still have a 500 pound rope.  Also the "para" part of the name comes from parachutes which is where this stuff originated.
So put survival gear with rope and the the history of sailors storing their rope on ships with fancy lashings and knots then you evolve into a new form of survival dress wear and survival bling!  I had some free time saturday night and a day pack full of 550 paracord and a scout that owed me some learning on the monkey's fist and by dinner I had a couple of fancy knot basics.  Another scout taught me the "Turks head" knot so I sat down with my mug and some 550 paracord and made the survival bling you see above.
Once I had the basics I off to work and when a fellow knot fanatic saw me and gave me a few pointers and books to look up for some other fancy sailor knots.  Ken gave me his number and told me all sorts of tricks and tips.  It is always fun to find someone who has a passion for their hobby and are willing to get a green horn like myself up and running on my advanced knot tying.
Ken showed me how to expand the traditional turks head into an expandable turks head to put on walking sticks.  So this now takes my basic turks head and monkey fist mug to the next level.  I can take some of my bamboo, make a walking stick and decorate it with rescue 550 paracord.

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