Note: To protect the privacy of our members, e-mail addresses have been removed from the archived messages. As a result, some links may be broken.

Lesson Plans

Re: Irish knots

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Betty Bowen (
Wed, 6 Jan 1999 15:25:35 -0600

An Irish unit - what fun!
What is presently so popular as "Celtic" knotwork is mostly Anglo-Saxon and
Viking design that was brought in/adapted by the monks. The earlier designs
of the Celtic tribes are much more simple & geometric and had pretty much
vanished after Roman occupation. Anyway -

Two years ago I struck up a conversation with an elderly Irishman in the
Portobello Road market. He showed me how the design of the celtic Circles is
always in spirals of threes - because, as he said, "what ye send oot into
the warld will come back to ye'" And I wish I could write how he said "it's
I keep his drawing in my day planner, so I'm looking at it while I type.
| 9a
9c / \ 9b

Make three "9"'s, (the "stem" being an arc - no hook, and not straight) the
stem ends touching so that they form an equally spaced "triangle" with the
circles at the outer edge. This looks pretty nice by itself, actually.
Call them, starting at the top and reading to the right, 9a, 9b and 9c,
Then, put your pen at the base of 9a's circle, and draw an arc to the left,
ending to the left of the circle of 9c, like it's "above" the 9, if the 9
were upright. This is arc #1. Rotate your paper to the right and repeat for
all three 9's.

Then, back to 9a. Starting at the point where you lifted your pen when you
drew arc #1, draw an arc that ends when it MEETS the high center of arc #2
and repeat THAT on all three sides.
It only takes nine marks total, including the "9's". You should have a
perfect three-pointed knot, and you can build from there. Be careful to keep
the "thicknesses" even. That's what gives the illusion of a continuous knot.

I'll try again if that doesn't make sense!