Let’s be honest—the Monkey’s Fist is mostly just a cool-looking knot. It’s got a cool name, too, which is just as important.
It also has a purpose, of course. The Monkey’s Fist is a “heaving knot”—it’s meant to make a rope easy to throw with distance and accuracy (just try tossing a rope without one).
1. Leaving a long working end, make three round turns around your non-dominant hand, working from the wrist toward the fingertips.
2. Pass the working end around the back of the round turns.
3. Make three round turns at right angles to the first set of round turns, working from bottom to top.
4. Pass the working end through the first set of round turns from front to back.
5. The working end will now encircle the strands on one side of the first set of round turns, above the second set of round turns.
Don’t pull it tight! The round turns must remain parallel to one another.
6. Working inside the first set of round turns, pass the working end under the second set of round turns from back to front, then bring it over the second set of round turns from front to back.
7. Make three round turns around the second set of round turns and inside the first set of round turns, keeping everything fairly loose.
8. Place a sphere into the hollow center of the knot.
9. Tuck the bitter end under the first set of round turns.
10. Keeping the bitter end in place, tighten the knot by pulling out the slack one round at a time, starting at the bitter end and working all the way back to the standing part.
11. The finished Monkey’s Fist.
Step-by-step directions from The Field Guide to Knots by Bob Holtzman.