Ropework is something of a lost art in the modern world. This is understandable: modern materials and manufacturing processes have made ingenious devices that we use instead. Ropes and straps are now made out of cheap and strong synthetics like nylon and polypropylene instead of natrual fibers like hemp or sisal. The synthetics are, although much more durable and often stronger, usually slipperier than their natural counterparts and as such don't hold knots as well, so we attach hooks permanently to the end of straps and use ratchets to roll up extra length.
Unfortunately, decorative ropework faded along with its functional counterpart. A simple search on flickr turns up a wide variety of decorative knots and a similar Google search finds even more. For this instructable I will show you how to tie a very simple rope mat that can be used as a trivet, how to work it into shape, and two ways of tying off the ends of the mat to prevent it from coming undone.
From there I have a number of photos of other knots that I've used for trivets and links to web pages that describe how to tie them and others.
The end of the instructable holds some considerations about what kind of rope you might want to use for your mats and references to sources of further knowledge so you can learn how to do other things, both useful and decorative, with rope.
Please enjoy this insturctable; I sincerely enjoy working with rope and am delighted to be able to share something with you that is rarely seen today.