old dog ... new tricks department
April 2, 2004 2:46 PM   Subscribe

By the way, I'm not really Not a Knotting Nut, nor am I Likely a Lacing Loony.

posted by MrMoonPie at 2:56 PM on April 2, 2004

You might laugh at a site dedicated to shoe-lacing, but it took me a trip to Google before I could whistle at all.
posted by Evstar at 3:02 PM on April 2, 2004

Classic, cheers.
posted by carter at 3:07 PM on April 2, 2004

I never advanced beyond Second Class in Boy Scouts because of three reasons: One, the endless fascist marching drills; Two, my best friend Bill Berg moved to Illinois; and Three, I couldn't tie a fucking knot to save my life.

Still, I'm going to try this. I like trying things I'm no good at.
posted by kozad at 3:13 PM on April 2, 2004

At least he acknowledges the two-loop knot. Most people look at me funny when I show them how I tie my shoes -- using this method, rather than the standard one. I'm the only person I've ever known who's done it that way.
posted by jammer at 3:15 PM on April 2, 2004

Jammer: I do the two-loop too! But I hated tying my shoes when I was a kid and that has kind of stayed with me, so now I don't where shoes that require knots of any kind. Plus, people used to make fun of me for not using the "Standard" method, which I never learned.
posted by shotsy at 3:25 PM on April 2, 2004

His "Ian Knot" is in fact the only way I know how to tie my shoes. A high school boyfriend taught me, and I've long since forgotten the "regular" method. I am surprised that this Ian claims to have invented it...and now that I think about it, I would have learned it around the time he says he came up with it. Wonder if he's from my hometown!
posted by icetaco at 3:26 PM on April 2, 2004

Jammer: Two-loop knot here, too. I may try this "Ian knot", though.
posted by mdeatherage at 3:48 PM on April 2, 2004

Heh, the so-called "Ian knot" flat out rocks, but I don't think he's converted me from my habitual standard knot though. Even though he claims that I'll reduce my knot tying time by 66%, I don't quite think it's worth breaking a couple of decades of habit.
posted by TheCuriousOrange at 4:01 PM on April 2, 2004

I love this site. Cheerfully obsessive, straight-ahead, useful, colorful. And after 48 years I finally learned why my freaking laces always come undone! Humbling but also liberating. Wheee. I particularly like his thoroughness. "Oh, so the picture of the left-handed version didn't do it for you, nor the right? Perhaps this step-by-step description? How about this list of symptoms?"
posted by cairnish at 4:13 PM on April 2, 2004

Yes, this is a fantastic link. Like cairnish, I only now discovered that I have been mis-tying my shoelaces for several decades. I had always wondered why my shoelace knots tended to lie parallel to the shoe rather than at a right angle. Now I know.

I had a lot of trouble with the “Ian Knot”. I was confounded. But the “Secure Ian Knot” was easy and its elegance and symmetry gave me a warm feeling inside.

Knots make me feel stupid. I feel like I should understand them, and I don't.

Though, this is mostly moot for me because my arthritis prevents me from reaching my shoelaces—I just slip my shoes on and off. But I'm all excited about tying my shoelaces correctly! (On preview, there appears to be a problem with the site.)
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:55 PM on April 2, 2004

Man, the site's down.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 5:31 PM on April 2, 2004

Most of the pages are Google cached, but without diagrams there's not much content.

In middle school, I laced my shoes with the standard ladder technique, because it was awesome.
posted by eddydamascene at 5:56 PM on April 2, 2004

I emailed Ian about the site, but I haven't heard from him. I didn't get a chance to look at the "lacing shoes" section—and I'm bitterly disapointed.

Oh, come on. Isn't everyone excited by shoelaces? It's not just me, is it?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:35 PM on April 2, 2004

Where the Google cache fails, occasionally the Wayback Machine succeeds, but not this time. The images are lost to the ravages of bandwidth.

I, for one, use what is likely a modified form of his standard knot, going around twice instead of just once before pulling the loop through the "hole", as he calls it. I think I read about this method in a book, either by Chuck Palahniuk or Nicholson Baker. Either way, or another, it doesn't matter, it works very well and never comes untied until I pull it by the ends. It also never tangles.
posted by codger at 6:37 PM on April 2, 2004

Double loop also. It was the first method and one I picked up well. It replaced my velcro Kangaroos with the lace kind.
posted by brent at 7:10 PM on April 2, 2004

people tie shoelaces?

*shakes head in disbelief*
posted by quonsar at 7:17 PM on April 2, 2004

I couldn't tie my shoes until I was around seven and even then I did the double loop thing for the next two years. I was something of a strange child. On the plus side, I was literate at 3.

Maybe I'm Rain Man.
posted by jonmc at 7:22 PM on April 2, 2004

Man, the site's down.

Oh god ... I always feel so guilty when I destroy people's sites by posting them to MeFi. It looked so sturdy too....

posted by anastasiav at 9:25 PM on April 2, 2004

pssst - the site's back up for the moment.

Quick, you can tie your freakin' shoes if you hurry.

(nice post, anastasiav!)
posted by yhbc at 9:47 PM on April 2, 2004

::staring at successfully Ian-knotted shoe::

Unbelievable. If this holds up under running-shoe stress, I'll be alive with pleasure. Thanks, anastasiav.
posted by LinusMines at 11:30 PM on April 2, 2004

Ah. I was able to read about lacing. Then, following a mousepath of links led me to the Wolfram Research Mathworld page on knots and knot theory—including a page on the exquisite unknot. I'm generally more curious than most; but these pages inspire in me a curiosity so intense it's actually unpleasant. I need a drink.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:48 PM on April 2, 2004

I don't know how to tie my laces. *Hangs head in shame*

My dad taught me how to tie my laces, but he taught me some really crappy way that isn't very secure. (I end up re-tying several times throughout the day.) I've always had to resort to the ol' double-knot to keep them in place.

Now I can learn how to tie my shoes from the privacy of my own home! Thanks, Metafilter!
posted by jennak at 2:26 AM on April 3, 2004

I've never understood why my laces come untied, and have unconsciously blamed it on the shoes or the laces themselves. Now I know that I am lace deficient, this should straighten it up right away!

What a prime link, anastasiav. Thanks!
posted by precocious at 5:08 AM on April 3, 2004

For the record, I DID already know what an "aglet" was.

But the Ian Knot is super-licious.

Great link.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:19 AM on April 3, 2004

I started out tying my shoes in the two loop not, and it was years before I figured out the standard "rabbit runs around the tree..." method.
posted by kayjay at 11:35 AM on April 3, 2004

Ack! Knot. So much for previewing.
posted by kayjay at 11:35 AM on April 3, 2004

i feel like i'm in girl scouts again. and yes, i remember when i was in preschool and my biggest concern was whether i'd learn by the end of the term how to tie my shoelaces...there was a shoelacing board and during recess sometimes the student teacher would pick a kid to sit with her; the kid would try to tie the shoelace in front of her. ack. nerve-wracking. the first big test i remember.

i also still remember when exactly i finally tied my shoes for the first time. my family was on vacation during easter, we were in cape ann and one morning before breakfast there i was, sitting on the floor staring dumbfounded at my tied shoes. of course, my next fear was that i'd never be able to do it again. remember how it seemed kind of like magic? and you'd do it over and over just to make sure you could still do the magic? ha. maybe that was just me...

great site. i think i may even use the ian knot from now on, as i too apparently do the starting knot wrong (reversed) for the traditional way i've always tied my shoes (resulting in slipknot syndrome, as diagnosed by ian), and it's easier than just programming myself to reverse my starting knot.
posted by ifjuly at 5:44 PM on April 3, 2004

Metafilter has now taught me very pleasing techniques to both fold t-shirts and tie shoelaces. Now I delight in these mundane tasks. Thank you metafilter!

(also, this thread is delightful.)
posted by palegirl at 11:20 PM on April 3, 2004

Just catching up on some old threads here, and yes, this is wonderful, and very timely for me, too. I recently bought a new pair of shoelaces which have been coming untied several times a day--and I was tying them the same way I've tied shoes my entire life, and had never had this problem before. After confirming that I was indeed tying a reef knot and not a slip knot, I started looking at some of the other knots. A lot of the knots, including the Ian Knot, just felt too "weird" to hands that had been accustomed to tying shoes the same way for almost thirty years, but I found the Surgeon's Knot similar enough to the standard that I could manage it. My shoes feel nice and tight now; we'll see if the knot lasts the day, but I'm optimistic.

If you like this, you might also enjoy the book The 85 Ways to Tie a Tie: The Science and Aesthetics of Tie Knots. And yes, I'm tying a tie differently than I learned growing up because of this book. I also learned that the way my dad taught me, which he called a Full Windsor, is not quite the same as what most people call a Full Windsor.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:19 PM on April 5, 2004

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