Josephine Knot




About: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @jessyratfink to see what i'm working on! ^_^

The josephine knot is my favorite knot ever. I learned it while making a macrame plant hanger at Craftcation 2013 and I have been addicted ever since! You can use it to make bracelets, pretty up straps on bags - all kinds of things.

The josephine knot seems delicate and complicated - but I promise it's super easy to do!

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Step 1: What You'll Need:

All you need is a pair of scissors and cord. The best cord or string for this is a thicker, more rigid sort. Hemp works great - paracord and nylon are nice too!

Step 2: Cut Your Lengths and Tie Them Together

Cut two lengths of cord - mine are about 50 inches long. This gives you lots of room to practice with. 

Double the cords over so the ends line up. Tie together the top loops.

Step 3: Loop the Left Cord

Take the left cord and loop it under itself as shown.

Step 4: Overlap the Left With the Right

Take your right cord and place it over the loop of the left cord.

Step 5: Right Under the Left

Continuing with the right cord, carry it under the end of the left cord.

Step 6: Over Under Action

Now comes the tricky part! The photo will explain this much better than I can - we will only be moving the right cord here.
  1. take the right cord and carry it over the left cord that is coming from the knot up top,
  2. the right cord under the next length of the left cord,
  3. the right cord goes over itself,
  4. and then under the last bit of the left cord.
Basically over-under-over-under from left to right. :)

Step 7: Tighten It Up!

You can alter where it sits on the cords by tugging and pulling. You'll get the feel for it as you go. :D

Tighten it by pulling the ends. Congrats! You've just completed a josephine knot.

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40 Discussions


5 months ago on Step 7

Yes! Thank you! The picture layout and the two colors of string finally made this darn knot make sense to my brain.


Answer 12 months ago

Yep, it is! Seems like it's called the josephine knot mostly in macrame. :)


3 years ago

i have one question what does it mean you have to pull it till you get the feel

Thanks, Hannah

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

Once you have it all knotted together, you'll need to pull the cord ends to get the knot to sit in place correctly! You'll be able to tell where the right spot is by the tension in the rope - once you can't really pull it anymore, the knot should be nice and flat. :)


4 years ago

Great tutorial. I knew how to do one knot, but couldn't figure out how to do multiple. thank you for your assistance.


I have watched 5 YouTube videos, read a few instructions - and it wasn't until your pictures that this stitch became clear to me. You using two different colors and simple steps made it so. Thanks!


4 years ago on Introduction

Awesome Tut, thanks! I've been looking for some projects I could do with my chinese knot cord and i found this. Adding this to my favorites!


6 years ago on Step 7

The basic knot is commonly called a carrick bend and is a very old sailor's knot now used more for decorative than practical purposes.Wikipedia has a brief discussion of the history and use of the knot. A very comprehensive reference is The Ashley Book of Knots by Clifford Ashley which is pretty much the bible for all things regarding knots.

Just curious where did the you get the name Josephine for this knot?

4 replies

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

Are you sure you want to keep that question?
It turns out that the name Josephine knot is mentioned in the very same book you recommended, under entry 1428.


Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

Actually I found that after I referenced the book. That was one of the first knots I learned about 50 years ago and never actually read that particular entry or heard it referred to by that name among sailors. Once again Dr. Ashley proves to be the most comprehensive reference for all things knots. Mea Culpa. Hope you enjoy the book.


Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

Oh, sorry, I forgot: thanks a lot for the tip about the book. It really IS the definitive work on the subject.

I think that's what it's primarily called in macrame - and it's a nice name for such a pretty knot so I decided to go with that instead of the sailor/carrick names. :D


6 years ago on Introduction

Omgosh wow!!! That is so cool I have a knot of my name :)
Wow nothing has my name :o
Thanks for sharing !!! :D :D :D

1 reply