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I find one of the easiest ways to build nice, consistent Celtic knots is to use graph paper. This gives you an even guide to follow as you plot out your knot. I usually use graph paper where every second dot is slightly bigger, going both up and down. This leaves you with one regular dot, and then an emphasised dot, then another regular dot, and so on. You can bold every second dot yourself on regular graph paper by just using a different colored pen or marker to touch them up (see panel below for dot marking).

In each panel I will show you step by step how to create what I call the Leaf Knot, as the runs on the knotwork seem to form little leaf or petal shapes. Each new step will be in red. As you go through the panels, old steps will turn gold, and there will be a new step highlighted, again in red.

To make the Leaf Knot, we will be using a graph section that is 5 big dots across, and 4 little dots down. You need to place two "L" shaped walls as shown in the diagram. Make sure you place them correctly, leaving a single little dot between the extended arms of the "L". There should be a single little dot left in the middle as well.

Start to criss-cross your little dots. For this pattern you will actually not be crossing all the little dots in the area we've marked off, just the ones that fall within the rectangle our walls made.

Notice how the criss-crossing is only within the rectangle. Normally you would continue to cross the rest of the dots, but you do not need to for the Leaf Knot. The term "Leaf Knot" is not an official term, by the way, it is just what I call this style of knot because the loops formed in the end seem to look like leaves. It is actually only variation on the basic knot, but it occurs so often in manuscripts in this form that giving it its own name seemed appropriate!

Put your corners on the knot now, but again, only put them within the rectangle.

Continue the lines of knot from where they branch out from within the rectangle around the outside. They should join up on the other side, as shown in the diagram, so that there are no unattached ends.

Pick a place where the lines criss-cross, and erase it so one passes over the other. Erase the other two criss-crosses so that the over/unders alternate.

Next, The Double Leaf Knot...

If you're enjoying these tutorials, don't forget that you can get a collected workbook edition, in both an instant PDF downloable eBook edition, as well as a coil bound print edition! These working copies have much more information than these online versions do, more explanations, examples, exercises to work through... become a Celtic art master!

All tutorials copyright Cari Buziak, 1995-current