Learning to tie a bow was likely crossed off your bucket list at an early age. I, for one, learned to tie my shoes around the age of four and then imagined I had that skill for life. My bows were sometimes sloppy, but that didn’t faze me. I never deeply considered the alchemy that was being put into pretty, perfect, balanced bows.
As it turns out, while there is no magic to bow tying, I was doing what is known as a granny knot. A granny knot is an unbalanced knot that becomes looser as the day goes on. It’s the culprit on those days when your laces keep trailing across the floor. The granny knot’s glamourous sister is the reef knot which tightens as you walk and produces a happy symmetrical marriage of laces.
While this may sound highly technical, fixing the problem is extraordinarily easy. You need to pass your lace around the front of your loop when you begin to tie your knot to produce a reef knot. If that sounds confusing, I’ve put this tutorial together to prove it isn’t. When in doubt, if your bow is ugly, untie it and redo it the opposite way.
text and photography by Hillary Predko