Tuesday, April 10, 2012

M IS FOR....

M  IS  FOR....


I have spent many hours this past week learning the METHOD of how to make Celtic knots and in particular the one that is in a basket weave style. The interesting thing about Celtic Knots is that they appear to have no beginning and no end. The one I did yesterday for Twinchies on Monday was a simple knot, yet quite attractive I think. The one above is a basket weave style.

These designs were very popular in illuminated manuscripts and other decorative work in the middle ages as well as in earlier years  in other cultures.  The name Celtic became attached to the style because it was used so profusely in by the Celts. Yet there are many many examples of these all over the world in early art work. Amazingly, for many years learned authorities had no idea what METHOD the scribes used to draw them.  Some thought they were done with a compass and ruler others thought it was just a gift that these men could sit down and draw one.  There were other theories involving mathematics and geometry.

Then one day in the 1970's scholars were going through a number of old manuscripts 
and found one that had a series of dots on it and after much conjecture they discovered that this was the beginning of the METHOD used for drawing Celtic knots.

I learned all the above information from the web so I am not 100% certain it is accurate.  However what I did learn from all my searching the web was the METHOD I could use to draw my own Celtic knots.  I used several different  places for instructions and put together my own METHOD with their help.


If you are not interested in learning to draw Celtic knots like the one above, feel free to go visit another ABC Wednesday now.  But if you would like to learn more, also feel free to copy my instructions which follow.  You don't have to be an artist to do this, because it only uses straight lines with small hooks on the ends.  So take the plunge and try something new. You may be surprised to find a hidden artist in you!

I do hope someone is interested enough to follow my METHOD as I have put in hours and hours of work putting this together, refining and simplifying it.  So here goes:


You will need:
   Squared paper
   An ordinary black felt tip Sharpie pen
   Another black pen Sharpie or otherwise but a thickness of only 4 or 5 mm
   A pencil and eraser  and lots of concentration!

Step One
Take your squared piece of paper and pencil  and make 4 horizontal rows of six dots, two squares apart. Make the dots fairly large.

Step 2

If you look carefully at the dots you have made in step one, you will see that your dots make three rows of squares bounded by four dots like on a dice.  There are three rows across and five rows down.  
Now put a dot in the middle of each square making them like five dots on a dice.

Step Three
You now have a rectangle of dots.  Outline the rectangle with the thicker black felt pen.
Now draw another rectangle, one square in, inside the first one USING A PENCIL (this will be erased at the end).

Step Four
This step uses lines with hooks on each end which are drawn diagonally from square to square  using the fine tipped black pen -- and that is the most artistic you have to be! Note these examples:

Within the smaller rectangle note that there are four rows of the printed paper squares going from left to right.
Starting on the bottom row and with the fine tipped black pen, draw a hooked line diagonally across each square (from left to right) with the hooks going UNDER the dots.
On the next row up do the same only this time make the hooks go OVER the dots.
On the third row up do the same only the hooks go UNDER the dots and on the fourth line of squares the hooks go OVER the dots.

Your rectangles should now look like this:

Step Five
You are now going to draw your hooked lines in each row just as you did above only the lines will go diagonally in the opposite direction, that is from right to left. The first (bottom row) goes OVER the dots .  The second row up goes UNDER the dots  and so on.

That completes the inside rectangle.

Your rectangles should now look like this:

Step Six
We will now work in the empty border of the larger rectangle.

Starting at the bottom, skip the first printed square, then draw four hooked lines OVER the dots diagonally from left to right.
To do the top row, turn your rectangles upside down and do as you did above (skip the first printed square then draw four hooked lines OVER the dots).

Turn your paper back up to the right way again and fill in the two side rows.  For the left hand side, starting at the bottom, skip the first TWO printed squares then draw a hooked line OVER the dots diagonally from left to right. (You should only have two hooked lines to draw in each of the the side rows).  Turn the paper upside down and do the other side of the larger rectangle.  That is:  skip the first TWO printed squares and draw the hooked lines UNDER the dots.

In the drawing above I have drawn the hooked lines in the border in pencil rather than ink to help distinguish them from other lines we have already drawn.

Step Seven
Finishing touches!
Erase the pencil rectangle. 
Define the outside lines of the larger rectangle by making the line from dot to dot slightly curved.  Make the dots on the outside lines slightly triangular. Make all the dots inside both rectangles darker and form them into a more square shape so that they don't look like dots any more.

If you're really feeling ambitious try doing all this on plain un-squared paper and using a ruler to place your dots.

This is my very long and perhaps complicated, but hopefully worthwhile, entry for Mrs Nesbitt's ABC Wednesday project for the letter M. Click here to see what all we participants have been working on this week.


kaybee said...

Your finished result is stunning, ChrisJ! I will let you know what mine looks like, when it's done!

Your instructions seem very clear - well done!

Leslie: said...

This would be a fantastic and fun exercise for kids in Math class!

abcw team

photowannabe said...

Chris, this is amazing. I may try it when my brain is functioning. I have to decompress from Mexico.

I admire you attempting this. I love the basket weave.

Hildred and Charles said...

Great instructions - I can understand your fascination with Celtic knots, - love the Twinchie below....

Scriptor Senex said...

My first ABC visit this week and already I want to rush off and play at Celtic Knots instead of doing more ABC exploring...

Ann said...

I thought you were going to weave it, and make a placemat.

So you are going to fill a whole drawer of Cletic knots?

claude said...

Oh my ! What an interesting post, Chris ! Your METHOD is very good.

Shooting Parrots said...

Excellent and very clear instructions. I'm bookmarking this page for future reference.

Roger Owen Green said...

Well, I have ZERO talent in doing this sort of thing, but I surely admire those who do!
Good job, Chris.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

chubskulit said...

We used that pattern a lot when we work on coconut leaves to make something.

Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

snafu said...

I had never thought about them before and it is certainly not as easy as it looks. Nice clear instructions, I must have a go.

kaybee said...

I think those who try this out, following your instructions, should post it to their blog and then post a link here so that we can go see how they have done. What do you think, ChrisJ?

Wanda said...

OK, now you have my brain spinning!!! I love the look, but I wouldn't be a very good student.

You are such a GREAT teacher, and that is your element...don't need an apron for that! HaHa.

Love ya Cris...This week is beginning to feel like normal again, so I'm anxious to get back into blogging, and comments a response to peoples comments.

Wanda said...

Chris, I know the teacher in you would correct my grammer and spelling.. I just re-read my comment. Sorry, in a hurry.

ChrisJ said...

Wanda, I didn't even notice! I take my teacher hat off when I'm out of the classroom.

Kaybee: That would be really nice.

Gattina said...

Nothing for me ! I have no patience at all for such things ! I was already tired when I read your "method" lol !

Lisa said...

Celtic knots are so fascinating. It's fantastic that you've figured it out and are sharing it with us. Thank you!

Honest Abe said...

You did an excellent job in your explanation. It took some time to make this post. I think people do appreciate them more when the effort to show is really objective. You did it very well. There is another way to do the knots but it was a long time ago when I taught illuminated manuscript design and decoration. I used to lay gold leaf on a lot of my work and it was very hard to do it on knots.

Kay G. said...

Hmmm...you spent a lot of time on that and it looks really, really good. I think that could be developed into a coloring book. I would buy it!

kaybee said...

Looks like I might be the only one to be brave enough to follow your instructions, ChrisJ! I am amazed at how simple they were to follow. While my finished product isn't as 'professional' as yours, I am quite pleased with it. You can find it here

kaybee said...

P.S. Seems like you may need to paste and copy the link:


laurie said...

wow, now this is amazing, I'm visiting from wanda's blog, I found it funny because we both were waiting for the recpe for the stew, I took note of your chicken recipe as well, I found your blog and I'm so glad I have, I will become a follower now,