01 of 11
Tie an Ocean Plait Knot for a Nautical Rope Rug in Miniature or Full Size
This nautical rope rug tied from an ocean plait knot is an example of a full-size craft which can be scaled up or down for home rugs made from retired climbing ropes and dolls house miniatures made from fine cord. In the photo here it is shown tied by a reader from a retired climbing rope using the instructions on the pages which follow. (see page 11 of these instructions for more on this particular rug, including the amount used to make it).
I originally set up these instructions to make... dollhouse miniature nautical rugs for boat and cabin displays, but this is an example of how the same technique works for any size with minor modifications. For smaller boat or model train scales, you will need to use a needle threaded with fine thread to weave the braid, rather than using the rope end. Try tying this as a small sample with string or light cord before you head off to buy rope!
The materials will determine the rug size. Full-size rugs can be tied using rope, or sash cord, miniature rugs may need single strands of linen thread for smaller scales. Try a practice knot using a long shoelace or piece of rayon or nylon cord before you go on to work in the scale you want. Shiny cords are easier to work with than soft embroidery threads.
Continue to 2 of 11 below.
- Full-Size Door Mat roughly 3.5 feet by 2 feet. Tie using old climbing rope, heavy sash cord, or any other type of rope you think will make a suitable mat. Depending on the size of rug you wish and the type of rope you use you will need up to 75 feet of rope. It is recommended you tie the initial knot for the rug first, then multiply the amount of rope you need by the number of times you will follow the pattern to fill out the rug, usually 4 – 6 times around.
- 1:12 Scale Dolls House Scale Rug 3.5 inches by 2 inches - You will need 2 – 3 yards (meters) of 1/16 to 1/8 inch diameter sewing cord trim (available from the trims section of a fabric store)
- 1:24 Scale Railroad, Model Boat, or Dolls House rug 1.5 by 1 inch in size - You will need 4 yards/meters of single strand perle cotton, dampened and twisted together then dried to form a 2-yard strand of doubled cotton. You will also need a small darning or tapestry needle.
- 1:48 scale 3/4 inch by 1/2 inch - 2 yards of single stranded perle cotton and a fine needle
- Below 1:48 scale – I have tied this knot with linen thread, quilting thread, silk bead cord (from the bead shop) and sewing thread on a needle. The scale you can reach will depend on the size of thread you use.
02 of 11
Starting the Ocean Plait Knot for a Nautical Rug or Coaster
The ocean plait knot is best formed on a flat surface, at least until you have run two sets of lines through the braid.
Begin by making the first loop in your cord, thread or rope, approximately ten inches from the end of the rope if you are making a dollhouse miniature 1:12 scale knot, ten feet or so from the end if you are making a full scale rug. You will need a short end which is approximately three to four times the length of the knot you wish to make.
You want the main amount of thread or... rope to be on your left, leading to the loop, with the short end of the cord or rope crossing above the piece of rope that leads to the main length.
For a 1:12 scale rug you will want the first loop approximately one inch across, but that can be adjusted later if you find it easier to start with larger loops.Continue to 3 of 11 below.
03 of 11
Sizing the Knot for the Ocean Plait Knot Rug
The size your overall nautical rug will be determined by the finished size of your ocean plait knot. To set the rug size, still using the short end of the cord or rope from the previous step, form a second loop in the cord leading off from the bottom of the first loop over to the bottom right side.
The length from the end of this loop to the top of the first loop will determine the size of your rug. If you are working in 1:12 scale, this distance should be 3 to 3.5 inches. (7 – 8 cm.) For a full... size rug made from climbing or other rope, it should be 3 to 3.5 feet. (1m to 1.15m)
Continue to 4 of 11 below.
04 of 11
Make the Final Starting Loop for the Miniature Ocean Plait or Braid Rug
To make the final loop which is the basis for the ocean plait knot or nautical rug, take the short end of the rope back across the first loop you formed and make a slightly larger second loop across the base of the first loop, leaving the short end of the rope going across the top of this loop and off to the left side of the knot.
It is important that the first loop has the lead going to the main rope under the first loop, while the second loop has the lead of the short end of rope passing over... the loop. (See photo)
Continue to 5 of 11 below.
05 of 11
Finishing the Basic Knot Pattern for the Miniature Ocean Plait Rug
Leave the short end of the rope leading off to the left of the knot, and pass the long end of the rope over it, then up and under the side loop you formed in step two which determined the size of your rug.
Continue to 6 of 11 below.
06 of 11
Plaiting the First Line for the Ocean Plait Knot or Nautical Rug
Take the end of the long piece of rope you just passed under the side loop in the previous step and begin to pass it under and over the parts of the knot until you reach the top of the first loop you formed in step one. As you weave through the loops, keep your cord or rope at the same tension as the surrounding ropes, don't pull it tight.
Continue to 7 of 11 below.
07 of 11
Plaiting the Second Line for the Ocean Plait Knot / Rug
Now take the long end of the rope back down through the remainder of the loops, weaving the rope over and under each section of loop.
The two weaves formed in this step and the previous step will secure the knot.
Place your hand over the knot once you have finished taking the end out of the loops for the braid mentioned above and hold the knot fast while you work the remainder of the rope through the first and second braids until the rope is completely through the knot.
Continue to 8 of 11 below.
08 of 11
Adjust the Weave and Size of the Ocean Plait Knot for a Rope Rug
Even out the ocean plait knot before you begin to weave your miniature or full-size nautical rug.
Take the knot you have formed and even out the loops into the pattern shown, making sure the overall length and width of the knot are within the size range you want. Try to space the cords so that they are evenly spaced through the knot as shown. In the following steps you will simply retrace the pattern over and over until the knot / rug is complete.
Continue to 9 of 11 below.
09 of 11
Finishing the Braided Fill Rows for an Ocean Plait Knot or Nautical Rug
Now take the end of the long piece of cord around to the point where the short end emerges from the knot. Work the long end through alongside the piece of the braid which emerges as the short end of the knot.
Follow the weave of this cord completely through the knot until your reach the starting point again, making sure you lay the cord so that it stays either inside or outside of the curve you are working on. Keep the cords side by side, do not allow them to cross over the other cords.
When your... reach the length of short cord that signifies the start/end of the knot, continue to braid and weave around again, making sure your cords follow through the knot side by side. Continue to weave cord through following the weave for 4 to six complete circuits, until the rug has very few gaps.
Continue to 10 of 11 below.
10 of 11
Finishing the Nautical Knot Rug Made from an Ocean Plait Knot
Finish the rug (in miniature or full size) by following the cords through the knot, evening the loops out as you go until the knot is tight and even.
Take the short end of the cord, and the longer end and take them into the centre of the knot along the first line of the braid. The bits of the short cord you take out, will be replaced by the weaving in of the longer end.
Take both ends back to the underside of the rug (somewhere near the center), tie them together and trim the ends. Your rug is... now finished.
If you are working on a full-size rug, you can lash the ends to the rug with quilting thread, buttonhole twist thread, or waxed linen cord to keep the ends in place and prevent them fraying.Continue to 11 of 11 below.
11 of 11
Reader's Doormat Made From A Retired Climbing Rope Using the Ocean Plait Knot
Here's a full-sized version of the Ocean Plait Knot Rug made using these instructions and a retired climbing rope. Dianne, writer of the Gjetost blog, has posted how she used a retired 9.8mm climbing rope and the instructions from this set of step by steps to make her doormat. She used 190 ft of rope (one 60 metre rope) to make her 21 inch by 33 inch doormat.
She brushed the bottom side of the mat with contact cement to help it hold it's shape and said that worked great.
Needless to say, this rope... has enjoyed some great adventures. Perhaps it would prefer a more glorious retirement than being a doormat, but this way, I'll get to see it everyday. Dianne