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Slipknot Finish: A Photo Tutorial

I have been accused by the twins dad to be an Girl Scout with a badge in advanced knot tying.  That’s his description of babywearing, beneficial yet complicated.  I reminded him that he has been a slipknot expert for about 30 years now and he looked at me strangely.  When I showed him I got a short dissertation on the benefits of the Double Windsor over the Single Windsor but he proved my point.  Babywearing is not complicated, just another skills toolbox that we try to expand with each wear.  The slipknot is another one of those tools in that box that we use to secure a carry we want to be adjustable.  Just like tying a necktie, the slipknot requires practice and repetition to become a staple in your toolbox.

Benefits of a Slipknot Finish

The slipknot is a basic sliding knot similar to the single windsor knot in a necktie.  The principle is that the knot is able to secure the carry but can be adjusted to get in and out of a carry with ease.  Many of the breastfeeding friendly carries finish with a slipknot, allowing baby to be lowered into the feeding position and adjusted back up without the need to retie the carry.  The slipknot also allows strand by strand tightening which makes precision in some carries easily accomplished.

The slipknot is used in front back and hip carries and always at the shoulder where the knot can be monitored for slipping.  I recommend against placement of a slipknot in any location that cannot be continuously monitored such as under baby’s bum or at the hip.

Medium brown natural curly haired momma smiles at the camera while wearing her light brown, blong haired toddler in a front carry in a pale purple and white wrap finished with a slipknot at the shoulder
Front Reinforced Torso Rebozo

Safety Considerations

The slipknot is used in front back and hip carries and always at the shoulder where the knot can be monitored for slipping.  I recommend against placement of a slipknot in any location that cannot be continuously monitored such as under baby’s bum or at the hip.  Finishing in the center of the chest with a slipknot is also a possibility as seen in Shepherd’s Back Carry.  The success of the slipknot holding in place is impacted by the fiber content in your woven wrap.  A slippery wrap with high silk content may slip, loosening the carry.  Handwoven wraps often produce an extremely large slipknot that can be difficult to tighten.

Momma smiles at her baby in a deep maroon and orange wrap in a single pass over baby's back and secured with a slipknot at Momma's shoulder
Simple Hip Carry finished with Slipknot at the shoulder

Tying a Slipknot

The slipknot often starts with one tail over shoulder and the other passed across the chest.  The wearer holds one tail in each hand.  The tail over the shoulder is shorter and is the stationary tail held in place while the tail across the chest is longer and is the working tail, making all the passes.

The wearer holds one tail in each hand. The tail over the shoulder is the stationary tail and the tail across the chest is the working tail.
Starting with one tail over shoulder and the other in a chest pass
  1.   The stationary tail should reach roughly about to your waist or the top of your pants.  The working tail makes the chest pass and is longer as it will make all the passes.  Hold the stationary tail in place with your non-dominant hand and allow all the work to be done with your dominant hand on the working tail.  Pass the working tail over the stationary tail.

    The wearer holds one tail in each hand and has passed the longer working tail over the top of the shorter stationary tail
    Passing the working tail over the stationary tail for the first pass
  2.  Continue holding the stationary tail with your non-dominant hand.  Now pass the working tail up through the space above the chest pass.

    Image shows stationary tail held in place with one hand as the working tail passes through the space near the wearer's neck
    Second pass, the working tail is threaded through the space above the chest pass
  3. Bring the working tail down over your wrist holding the stationary tail.  This acts as a place holder and allows you to find the open space to secure the slipknot.

    Image shows the working tail now passed down over itself as one hand holds the stationary tail in place
    Third pass over the working tail
  4. Now pass the working tail under the stationary tail.  You can now see the knot begin to take form.  There should be a loop over your hand holding the stationary tail.

    Image shows working tail passed under the stationary tail with a loop over the hand holding the stationary tail in place.
    Next pass is under the stationary tail
  5. Guide the working tail through the opening created over the top of your hand on the stationary tail.

    The working tail is being passed through the loop previously created in the last pass
    Pass the working tail through the opening
  6. Pull the tail through the opening and tighten by pulling the wrap across your body toward your other shoulder.

    Both tails are being held and pulled tight to secure the knot
    Finishing the slipknot
  7. Slide the slipknot into position at corsage height on the shoulder.  Holding the stationary tail in one hand, push up on the slipknot until the desired height is reached.

    The stationary tail is being held with one hand as the other hand pushes up against the knot to position the slipknot into place
    Sliding the slipknot into place
  8. Precision tightening of the carry is possible using strand by strand tightening of the wrap through the slipknot.  Guide the slack around through the passes to the shoulder where the slipknot sits.  Now gently pull, stand by strand, until the carry is tightened.

    Image shows strand by strand tightening through the slipknot
    Stand by strand tightening is a benefit of the slipknot
  9. That’s it!  Now you’re hands free with a knotless finish.  No large knot pressing on my chin or against my neck.

    Image shows the completed slipknot
    Completed Slipknot in position at corsage height

Getting out of a Slipknot

Now that you are all secure and baby is hopefully asleep in a wrap nap, you have to get out of the slipknot for a successful transfer.  This is easily done by sliding the slipknot to loosen the tension in the wrap.

  1.   Release the tension by pulling down on the knot and sliding it along the stationary tail.
  2. Next slide the stationary tail out of the knot.  You will want to start holding tension on both tails at this point as the carry is no longer secure.
  3. Tension is released and you can now begin to unwrap the carry.

The slipknot is meant to help assist the wearer in securing the carry while providing the ability to move the knot and adjust while being worn.  If you prefer to work along with a video take a watch of the tutorial embedded below.  If you prefer to watch it directly in YouTube click the arrow pointing right in the upper right hand corner.

tandemtrouble View All

Babywearing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding twin Momma sharing my insights.

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