What makes my rope good?

OK I’m going to do a little horn tooting here.  I’m a home-based ropemaker selling high grade shibari rope at competitive prices – that’s my plan.   Because my setup is flexible, and I’m not just cutting rope off a spool unlike some of the big names in rope, I’m able to craft rope with specific characteristics.  I have more ropes and variations that I can make than I’m currently showing, and will add more as I catch up with photos and descriptions.

I have two yarns I’m using for primary rope making – first is a very nice double-ply yarn. This gives a very stable rope, which is very pleasing to use and looks great.  Second is my new single-ply jute yarn; this makes up the highest quality rope I can make so far and is for all intents and purposes, an asanawa style rope.  The downside is ropes made with single-ply yarn tend to require more maintenance to stay in top form, but handle and feel so amazing!

Both ropes use a high yarn count – my double-ply uses 27 yarns for a 6mm rope, and I use 45 with the single-ply.  I’m fairly certain the 45-count is a much higher count and higher grade yarn than you will find from any of the commercial or established shibari rope shops.  Because portions of my rope-walk use gizmos and physics for the variations in how I spin the rope, it affords me the ability to be consistent from rope to rope.

And when I finish spinning up the rope, my hands-on process doesn’t end there. I do a polishing of the rope, to smooth out the surface, bake it to ease the built in tension out of the rope, then “gas” the rope which removes excess fuzzies, followed by a final polishing. At that point the rope is good to go. And I send it off to it’s new home. Although the rope can be used as is, and I often do, some folks will like to add a little mineral oil or jojoba oil to moisten the rope ever so slightly. Please don’t use any vegetable based oils as they will go rancid and leave you with stinky rope in time.

If you’re curious to find out more about what rope I can make for you, please drop me a line.

Stay knotty my friends,

My new store is online!

I’ve got a brand new online store, under my Products page, and am using the WordPress shopping cart – you can pay via Paypal’s processing which allows you to pay via your Paypal account, or credit card.  It’s safe and secure, and I never see your payment information!  The cart is a little clunky, but there will likely be an upgrade soon.

I’ve even launched an eBay account for added exposure here:  http://www.ebay.com/sch/knotknormal/m.html

Thanks to my many customers who’s supported me, given me feedback and helped give me direction.  I simply want to make the best jute shibari rope out there.

From the world of rope, I’m now making two types of rope – double-ply and a new single-ply.  The double-ply is low maintenance and very good – I use double-ply most of the time myself.  The single-ply is a higher maintenance, but is higher performance rope like the Japanese Asanawa, and is very soft, and very light.  Because I make my own rope one at a time, I can mix it up – I  can  offer loose lay, tight lay, 4mm (or smaller) to 6mm (or larger), dyed, natural, etc.  Keep an eye out for my special mind phuck rope coming soon!   Bwahaha!

Stay knotty my friends.


Rope making demo at The Element

At The Element’s rope and photo social, I brought along my rope machine setup. It was a fair bit of stuff to haul, but not too bad – basically an overflowing bin and a sawhorse.  I brought a drill and extension cord, powered from Kat’s garden shed.

The tail end of the setup is a double-pulley with a mushroom anchor hanging from a tree branch about 7 feet up.  The rope machine is mounted to the sawhorse with a homemade bracket and C-clamps.  The tail has a swivel mounted to it and all three yarns are run from it to the rope machine – a traveler is wedged into the ropes at the swivel end as the final piece of the puzzle.

Once you ensure all lines are relatively even in tension you start to spin up the machine – as the yarns spin they shrink and the slack is taken up and eventually the anchor is raised at the tail. When the yarns have enough twist in them, they start to twist onto themselves and “squeeze” the traveler along the rope. That process is the secret to making rope, and that’s about it.  Now to get BETTER at making rope, that’s all trial and error.  My traveler is a bit stiff and I need to make it faster and easier for the rope to push along – when than is done the rope will have a softer and looser lay and will drape better.

The folks there were genuinely impressed with the magic of rope being created.  It was quite amusing to watch folks staring at and following the traveler along it’s path.  Rope making – it’s knotty fun.

DV8 Takate Hishi

Several months ago I rediscovered Mick and Dee Luvbight’s site just before going to my first OctRoperFest in Austin. (And I did get the honor to meet and chat with them briefly, and very much enjoyed their entertaining performance.) On their site, I ran across a striking tie attributed to Mark from DV8 House in Sydney.

The Luvbight’s had painstakingly taken about 60 photos of the tie and I’d been enamored with it since. I had once tried tying it casually at Temple and though close, it just wasn’t the same. After brushing up on the many subtle nuances, I was at The Element and was able to complete it. I met a nice lady there that we’ll call Jade, and she was willing to bottom for me. I was pretty happy with how it turned out and some of the photographers snapped off some quick shots too so I could look back on it and inevitably pick at it, but overall I’m happy with my first completion of it.

Stay knotty, my friends.

Teal rope

A new-to-non-bedroom rope fan I recently tied met, gave me a request for some custom dyed rope — teal to be exact. I was concerned about the color showing properly with the light brown jute so I did a test run and it seems to work. I discussed it with some folks before-hand, but there are so many variables, it’s just best to jump in and do an actual trial. 
After letting it dry under tension I spun the yarns into rope at The Element’s Rope and Photo Social. I had a new rig for the rope machine and it worked great. My only problem was the nut driving the machine – me.  I spun the rope a little too vigorously, and it ended up coming out stiff. I’m learning the nuances of the machine and it’s moving and weighted tail, but it looks like it has a bright future ahead of it.
This week I’ll be dying yarns in earnest to make up three requested pieces — I’d forgotten how much fun it is to make rope!
Freshly dyed jute yarns

Stay knotty my friends.

The Element – 101 class

I received an invite to do a basic rope demo for The Element’s WTF 101 class a little over a week ago. I was honored to do so, and I got the opportunity to meet some new friends and new/old friends. Sky-Wahya was one of the new friends, and was kind enough to volunteer for the floor demo. She was new to rope outside the bedroom, and was all smiles during and afterward which is a good thing.
The demo consisted of a box-tie converted to an ebi, then later into a hog-tie. We did some light pain/pressure play as part of the demo, which consisted of pressure points with a bamboo pole. Some of these I knew from previous play, some I picked up from Boss Bondage’s classes (highly recommended if you get the chance.) The pressure play was fairly light though I did find out later she had round bamboo-sized bruises on each cheek of her tush, but that she was happy for the souvenirs!
Overall a great day, met new folks who love rope, and got to play a little. Oh, and I received a request for some custom teal jute (to be addressed in another post.)
Stay knotty my friends.

2013 – 1 year in and still ropin’

OK, it’s a new year and I’m about to hit my 1 year anniversary of my first bit of rope bondage!  Who could have thought it was only a year ago I attended that rope bondage class.  (Shout out to Lalia!)  One hogtie later and I was absolutely hooked.  OK, I was hooked before that, but the experience of the class confirmed it.

On to 2013 items.  I’ve been to a couple of gatherings, and I have a request for some custom colored rope – I haven’t done any dyed batches in a while and I admit I look forward to the challenge.  I’ve done a rope demo, met new faces at events, and am helping a new Austin rope group get off the ground.  I’m going to make some rope this weekend at The Element’s Rope and Photo social, and will spin up the teal dyed test pieces I made last night.  More to post in regards to that, and in regards to events unfolding in Austin.

Stay knotty my friends.

Building of a rope machine

Let it be known I’m a tinkerer – a family history of it, so that means I like to build and create.  My latest project is a rope machine.  I’ve been able to craft rope using a single power drill with success, but wanted to try something a little faster with possibly better and more consistent results.

There are several different ways to build one – I went with a chain drive system powering three sprockets.  Overall cost with shipping was under $50.  I built the case from scrap plywood and pine boards I had laying around which I’ve reclaimed.  The case is a bit different than others I’ve seen.  I wanted the tension on the chain to be adjustable for when it stretched. The upper portion of the case can slide up and down thus moving the top sprocket and tensioning the chain.  There are most certainly different ways of doing this – but this is what I came up with.

Chain, sprockets and bearings from surpluscenter.com

The case is of 3/4″ birch plywood – certainly strong enough for the task and overbuilt – you could go lighter I’m sure.  The front is secured to two side pieces. The top portion has full length “rails” which slide in a channel in the lower portion of the case.  The back panel screws into the lower portion and clamps the rails firmly in place thus setting the height of the upper portion and the chain tension.

Case and chain without tension.

I used #25 chain and sprockets from surpluscenter.com, along with some of their 5/16″ bearings.  The only other parts I needed were purchased from The Home Depot; namely some 5/16″ washers which are oiled and used as thrust washers, then three 5/16″ laundry line hooks which are the perfect size for this project.

Case and chain tensioned and ready to go. 

Shown below are the first pieces of rope to come off the machine.  I had the hardest time with the ones made from straight up twine – I was over twisting them and causing them to break.  It’s a learning process and for certain different than the power drill method.  It has good potential for long pieces done quickly too – I’m excited.

First test pieces – it can spin very tightly compared to the drill method.

Parts list from surpluscenter.com:
#25 chain: https://www.surpluscenter.com/item.asp?item=1-1163-25&catname=powerTrans
#25 11-tooth sprockets with set screws: https://www.surpluscenter.com/item.asp?item=1-2742-11-B&catname=powerTrans
5/16″ bearings: https://www.surpluscenter.com/item.asp?item=1-3094&catname=powerTrans