Most folks don't think about the art of tying knots until the need arises. In a survival situation, a relatively short list will cover a host of situations. Knowing when, where, and what to tie can greatly improve your comfort zone and preserve your cordage. Any knot you make is either exactly right or exactly wrong. They can range from a thing of beauty to a tangled mess, and be eminently practical or simply decorative, ugly, or down-right dangerous. Some will tumble when put under stress causing an accident resulting in damage or injury. Some will be very easy to untie even after being under stress and some will require a knife to get them undone.
Tailors, butchers, firemen, mountain climbers, riggers and sailors all have their own lexicon of standard knots designed for specific uses though many of them are the same across the board. For a comprehensive book of over 4,000 knots and their uses (with 7000 illustrations), the Ashley Book of Knots can teach you how to tie them as well as give you a brief history.
Any knot or kink in a line will slightly weaken the line by stressing the fibers unevenly.
Basic Terms used in our instructions
Standing Part: The body of the rope not used in the knot.
Round Turn: A single wrap around an object, another rope, or just a single coil.
Eye: A simple loop secured in a line, tied or spliced
Bight: A simple loop in a line where the line is doubled back on itself.
Bitter End: The end of a rope or line.
Following is a short list for your own lexicon of down-right handy ways to twist up a piece of line to make it work for you. Each of the links will take you to a detailed explanation and video demonstrating its use and how to tie it.
We have used a very large line for demonstration purposes. Regardless of the type or size of cordage, the knots you tie in them are the same. You may want to make a half-hitch or two on some finished knots if the material you are using is slippery. Better safe than sorry.
Always be sure your knots are properly tied. The consequences of a mistake could be very serious.