Chinese Knotting: The 5 Pointed Stellar Knot

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Start by making a paper template for your knot. I usually use scrap paper (old to-do lists, old shopping lists, calendar pages from X-a-day calendars, etc). For this knot, 1/8th of Letter sized paper (similar to A4) squared off usually does the trick. For the purposes of clarity for these instructions, I am using origami paper instead (since I can't seem to find the right size of post-it notes).

template step 1 template step 1:
Either with a hole punch or a pair of scissors, make holes where the vertices of a regular pentagon would be. Precision is good, but certainly not crucial.

template step 2 template step 2:
Then, offset slightly, make holes where the vertices of a smaller pentagon would be. Offset in the direction you intend to tie the knot (counterclockwise in this case. Does handedness make a difference to the direction you tend to tie knots? Someday a lefty will tell me.). The smaller pentagon vertices are the inner holes and the larger pentagon vertices are the outer holes. There are 5 sets. If you look really closely at the paper, you can see where I folded it to get better access to the inside. If you're keen, you may want to round off the paper or even cut it into a pentagon. Put however much work you feel that you need to into the template knowing that it will be used once and be shredded in the process.

template step 3template step 3b template step 3:
If you like, label your hole sets so that there will be absolutely no confusion as to what is going on. My sample template conveniently happens to have a dark green front and light green back, so it is relatively easy to tell the front from the back.

step 1step 1
	back step 1:

step 2step 2
	back step 2:

step 3step 3
	back step 3:

step 4step 4
	back step 4:

step 5step 5
	back step 5:

tightening 1tightening 2tightening 3 finishing:
At this point your are done basic interlacing of your knot. My example cord just happened to fit the paper template perfectly. That was a coincidence. Normally that doesn't happen and you need to spend some time tightening your knot. Tighten your knot on the template, allowing the cords to cut and crumple the paper of the template. You can also remove excess cord from the ears while the knot is still on the template. If you are planning to add extra parallel cords for decoration, doing so while the knot is still on the template makes your job easier. When the centre is nice and tidy and close to the desired final configuration, remove the template. Tear the paper from hole to hole and remove the paper, being careful not to distort the knot too much while removing the paper shreds. Tighten some more, adjust your ears and points (adjust, fiddle, adjust), and you're done.
tightening 4tightening 5tightening 6
finished 5 pointed stellar knot Finished 5 Pointed Stellar Knot

Here are some Xmas ornament prototypes I made based on the 5 pointed stellar knot (stay tuned for some 6 pointed snowflake-ish ornaments). If I hadn't been doing it at 3am on the day before I needed them for a sample, I would have put much more effort into finishing the ends...
gold ornament with red sidelining metallized silver mylar ornament with red sidelining


Creation Date: Sun Oct 27 01:21:38 PDT 2007
Last Modified: Wednesday, 31-Oct-2007 12:07:37 UTC
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