I first learned that knot tying had its own culture almost by accident while reading Annie E. Proulx’s The Shipping News, a novel that quotes liberally from The Ashley Book of Knots. Beyond tying my shoes or making a jaunty bow with a silk scarf, I’d never given knots a second thought. I couldn’t explain the difference is between a half hitch and a rolling hitch, nor did I regularly concern myself with a rope’s breaking strain. More importantly, however, I hadn’t considered the knot as a tool that could be as indispensable as a hammer, stapler, or chef’s knife.
Enter Animated Knots by Grog HD to cure me of my knot nescience. This new iPad-only app (iPhone/iPod touch sold separately) which ported from Grog’s website of the same name. Animated Knots offers users an encyclopedic knot-tying instructional database.
If one is new to knot tying, it’s sensible to read through the terminology section of the app first. This section offers the reader lists of knot and rope vocabulary separated into four categories: general, fishing, boating, and climbing, and is accessible by tapping the a-z icon in the bottom left corner of the screen.
The app’s overal interface is structured logically. The user may view knots by category (basics, boating, scouting, household etc.), by knot type (bends, hitches, stoppers and the like) as well as an alphabetical list of each and every knot. The user may also star knots as favorites, which he may subsequently view as a list.
Since I didn’t have a lot of experience tying knots, I focused my attention mostly on the basics, and learned useful knots like the slip knot, square, and figure eight. The app offers reader the same clear approach regardless of the section one reads.
The user learns to tie a particular knot by watching instructional frames of each step. Some knots, like the slip knot, include instructions for untying as well. Tap play to watch the sequence of steps play out, or move forward or backward frame by frame. It’s also possible to see a mirror image of a knot. Tap the information tab to toggle to a read more about the knot’s uses, and how it compares to other knots of its type.
It’s worth mentioning that the household section includes five different neck tie knots (bow tie, four-in-hand, half Windsor, Pratt, and Windsor) as well as two kinds of shoelace knots and an appropriate knot for attaching rope to a child’s swing, all of which will prove useful to parents.
Download Animated Knots by Grog HD from the App Store for $4.99.
What I liked: Animated Knots takes the age-old process of tying knots and uses modern technology to bring it to a new audience. Saving knots as favorites makes the app more useful for the casual user.
What I didn’t like: As a beginner I would have loved to be able to search for a knot by its use. For example, what’s the best knot to use when attaching a wooden support to a sapling? Unfortunately Animated Knots is not universal, so users who want to access it on an iPhone or iPod touch will have to pay an additional $4.99.
To buy or not to buy: It’s likely that most readers will know intuitively if Animated Knots is their kind of reference app. Certainly any sailor, climber, scout, or curious soul will find Animated Knots by Grog HD to be worth $4.99
- App Name: Animated Knots by Grog HD
- Version Reviewed: 1.0
- Category: Reference
- Developer: Grog
- Price: $4.99