I didn’t learn to tie my shoes until I was already in school. I remember practicing on a spool of rope while waiting for the schoolbus. There was a large window facing a half-mile clear chunk of road, so in the winter if you kept an eye on the top of the far hill, there was just enough time to run up the driveway when you saw the bus coming. In Pennsylvania, it’s common to have school bus shelters, like bus stop shelters, so kids can wait out of the wind, but that wasn’t common in northern Michigan.
This doesn’t seem an auspicious beginning for a life of string, but perhaps the thrill when I finally figured it out made an impression on my malleable young brain, predisposing me to seek out and learn new things to do with string.
And yet, in a crushing disappointment, I’ve apparently been doing it backwards all these years. That’s right, I’ve been tying a granny knot! (Please don’t shun me, I’m trying to mend my ways.) This brilliant site on shoelaces explains, with good illustrations, the correct way to tie a square-knot bow, as well as 14 other methods of tying shoelaces. It also includes lacing shoes, a shoelace calculator, and much more. The author assures me that tying a square knot will keep my slippery shoelaces from coming undone all the time. I’ll get back to you on that.
My other web find is a site devoted to those awful potholder looms that kids everywhere have used to turn nasty nylon loops into equally-unappealing squares. Turns out they aren’t so bad. ELoomaNation has a gorgeous gallery, with not a pot-holder in site: bags, a scarf, flowers, lace, and more. There’s how-to information, and even a series of vintage instruction manuals from the 1930s and 40s to download.
Apparently I need to reconsider not only my shoelace tying method, but also my aversion to potholder looms. The Internet is so educational!