Lark's head noose -- an easy, useful knot that tightens and loosens

Picture of Lark's head noose -- an easy, useful knot that tightens and loosens
I thought I knew all the basic knots, but then I was taught this incredibly useful, simple knot. It's good for tying up the neck of a bag that you want to repeatedly open and securely close. It's good for tying around a springy bundle that will need tightening and retightening. And, it's easy to undo.

I've looked at knot literature but haven't found a name for this, so I named it. The basic knot is well known; it's called a "lark's head". Since all I've done is to slip the two ends through the lark's head to make a noose, I call it that.

2013 Update!: 

WARNING: Don't use this knot when human safety would depend on it. Climbers and mountaineers have well-tested, reliable knots for such situations.
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Step 1: Double the cord over

Picture of Double the cord over
The lark's head noose requires enough cord to go twice around your bundle, plus a foot or two. Find the center and double it over. Sailors call this a bight.

Step 2: Form the lark's head

Picture of Form the lark's head
Coming from below the bight, hook your thumb and forefinger over the two sides. Reach outward and downward and pinch your fingertips together underneath the doubled cord.

You've made a lark's head. Move the crossing cord a little farther from your hand, so there's a clear opening through the two half-loops.

Step 3: Form the noose

Picture of Form the noose
Slip the two ends of the cord through the opening we were just talking about. Pull the lark's head tight so it grips the two cords. Find something that needs constricting, and put the noose around it.
georion1 year ago
I have spotted a variance of this knot in Ashley Book of Knots #1695, though this differs in running ends knotted instead if a bight through the lark's head
Wolf :)
Larry Breed (author)  Werewolf68512 years ago
Thanks, Wolf, for spotting #1695! To my eye they look identical; but if you mean differing steps to arrive at the same result, I agree. I often tie the whole noose completely in the bight: once I have the lark's head, I push the nearby running ends through the lark's head without pulling the ends all the way through. Then, untwist twists and dress it nicely. This is useful if the line I'm using is very long, and useless if the flagpole, or handrail, or electric line I want to put it over has no free end.
baudeagle6 years ago
This looks like this will be useful. I just wish I could remember how to tie the correct knot when I really need one.
Larry Breed (author)  baudeagle6 years ago
Thanks. Trouble remembering? Tie the knot, over and over. Play with it. Your finger muscles will remember how to tie it even if your head forgets. :-)
When I joined the volunteer fire departement I used a rope and tied the knots over and over (carried it with me everywhere) and then practiced them in the dark (simulating poor visual situations) Then we had timed games...:)
razordu303 years ago
I love this knot - my favorite part is that you can tie it in the bight. Will definitely be adding this knot to my everyday usage! =)
Flea6 years ago
Taught line hitch is my favorite tightening knot. It's used in different applications than this knot. Handy for tying things to trees and poles.
razordu30 Flea3 years ago
I loved the tautline hitch, but actually found one I like even more called the adjutable grip hitch:

The problem is that the tautline hitch can slip, especially if you tie it in something slippery (like some polypropylene twine). There's a more secure version that involves crossing the second wrap over the first one, but the adjustable grip hitch is more secure anyway.
Are you tying that around a sock...? Anyways, great instructable!
roliop4 years ago

I now reveal for the first time in public, my easy method of tying a Buntline Hitch !

1) make a bight at the end of the string, of the size of the final loop.
You hold both the standing end and the running end in your left hand, the
running end nearer you.

2) stick two fingers of your right hand up through the loop.
3) rotate your right hand clockwise at the wrist for one-and-a-half turns, as if
winding a clock forward; your fingers end up pointing down.
So far, you have a twisted loop.

4) curl the running end up through the loop and down again to the left of the loop
and down past the far side of the running end, that is, down into the gap formed by the original running end and the twisted part of
the loop.

5) that's it: you have a way of tying a buntline hitch with your eyes closed !

roliop6 years ago
This is pretty much the Lobster Buoy Hitch, but with both ends going through the loop. A Buntline Hitch would be more tenacious, but also much harder to open unless 'slipped', and of course harder to tie.
keng6 years ago
this is an oldie that's really gone out of style since the zip-tie straps. here's a pic of how i learned it. use it alot when i'm tying stuff up. it's finished off with a square knot.
old school zip tie.JPG