Maori Hook and Sailor Square Knot Sinnet Necklace

Long ago, sailors would craft with rope, not only to hone knotting skills, but to pass time on long boat travels. I can understand this even today, as I am looking for which craft to take with me on my upcoming flight. I find knotting to be a fascinating craft- there are actually many groups and forums that explore historical and present day knotting techniques, like those used in sailing, fishing, and even decoration.
Another interest of mine has always been the Maori Fish Hook, used by the native Maori of New Zealand. It has been adopted as a Hawaiian symbol as well, no doubt due to exploration and migration of people in the Pacific. The fish hook has been claimed to be a protection for travel over water. I could use a little of that.
For this project, I used simple waxed cotton cord, a large hole bead, and a Maori Style Bone Fish Hook with a hole drilled at the top.
I used two weights of cord: the heavier weight was used as a core cord, while the thinner cord was used for the sinnet. I measured approximately 1 yard for the core cord, and 4 yards of the thin cord I will use to make the square knot sinnet. I’m planning on making a short necklace that won’t get in the way when surfing.
Here’s how I began, with taping the core cord down, keeping in mind that I’m making the necklace around 16-18″ long, so I wanted to keep that knotted section in the center area of the core cord.

Cording used with the core cord taped down

Next, I started tying the thin cord around the core, making sure to ensure I had about equal amounts on each side (2 yards on each side).

Starting to make the sinnet

For the sinnet, a square knot is basically right cord over the core, left cord under the core, tighten, then left cord over the core, right cord under the core, tighten, then 1 square knot is completed. I continued this sinnet of square knots down until I was about halfway down the necklace, or had about 8″ or 9″ of length.

Sinnet of square knots

At this point, I wanted to add my fish hook. I took my left cord and strung my large hole bead onto it.

Putting the bead on first

Next, I took the cord, made a loop, then pulled the loop through the hole at the top:

I then took this loop and pulled it down and behind the whole hook, making a lark’s head knot. I then took the free end of the cord and threaded it back through the large hole bead to end up back at the sinnet.

Starting to make the lark’s head knot
Going back through the bead to join the sinnet again

Now that both cords are back with the sinnet, I can continue with my square knots. I continued doing this for the equal length as the first half. When I was done making square knots, I made an overhand knot with the core cord right up against the sinnet to ensure the sinnet doesn’t stretch out:

Overhand knot of core cord at end of sinnet (sinnet cords are not clipped off yet)

At each of the bitter ends of the core cord, I put an overhand knot to prevent the necklace from sliding out with the tie I’m about to do.
You can tie the necklace on directly and knot it, but if you need to take it off over your head, try this:
I placed each free part of the core cord together going opposite directions. I used some skinny cord to make a simple knot which would be the start of a short sinnet over these two core cords.

Start of the adjusting sinnet
Completed sinnet for adjusting, thin cords have not been clipped

You will find that by pulling the ends of the core cords in opposite directions, the necklace gets tighter, and the opposite happens when you pull them apart. It is recommended at this point to put some glue on the ends where you finished off sinnets (including the adjusting sinnet) to ensure the knots do not become unraveled.
Here’s the finished necklace:

Front of necklace
Back of necklace, showing how it can be adjusted

Now, I hope I can wear this without getting in trouble with Da Hui- I just want a little protection on my travel.
Speaking of which, I’ll be in Costa Rica next week hopefully enjoying good weather and good surf, and won’t be posting (like anyone will notice anyway…) But even if it’s rainy and there’s no surf, it’s still Costa Rica, and that’s OK by me.

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