What is Maedeup (매듭)? Literally, a knot, in form and in direct translation of the word. It’s another example of how Koreans take humble materials and through precise, diligent labor and careful attention to detail, end up with something really beautiful and precious. These knots were used by both men and women as accessories for many things, from fashion to home decor.
How to Make the Ring Knot
There are dozens of types of knots ranging in all levels of difficulty, so let’s start with the simplest one, called the Ring Knot (가락지 매듭). This knot exists in both Eastern and Western cultures, and are used as a ring shape, or pressed flat as a flower. It can be used to decorate ends of curtains, worn as a ring, used for a hair accessory, and I’ve even seen them used as souvenir key chains, usually paired with a mini fortune bag (복주머니).
What you’ll need:
Korean knot string (in the color of your choice)
(This special string is more like thin rope, and quite strong. Feel free to practice with a substitute rope from your nearest hardware store.)
A spike-tool (any kind will do)
Hold the string with your thumb against the spike, wind twice, and raise the loop loosely leaving ample room and take the wrapped top string over the lower sting and under the top string, from bottom to top.
Next insert the open string to the bottom, under the bottom string . Again take the loose string over the lower string, and under the top string, as you’re rotating the spike in your hand while following the over-under sequence. You should see five petals if you view it from the top.
Now align the loose string end and the connected string to the right and continue to weave the string end from top to bottom, and bottom to top. If the five petals become two, it’s a two-petal ring. If the five petals become three, it’s a three-petal ring.
Korean knotting is a time-old tradition, passed down through generations from fingertip to fingertip. So it may be difficult with just instructions– here’s a video that will help. 🙂