The Complex Simplicity of the Figure 8 Knot

Have you noticed the knots on our laundry bag? They are not there arbitrarily. The figure 8 knot holds high importance in rock climbing and sailing alike, and we thought it looks pretty cool. Infinity sign. It’s also a great way to hold your laundry together.

What is so magical about the figure-8 knot? It is one of two knots commonly used to stop a rope from running out of a retaining device. The other knot, the overhand knot, can accomplish the job too. But, unlike the figure 8 knot, the overhand knot will usually jam under strain. The figure 8 knot on the other hand, can keep it together under stress. Because it’s not as flexible, the overhand knot usually needs to be cut to be undone - the figure 8 on the other hand can simply be untied, and retied again and again. It’s somewhat comforting to think a single knot, done right, can keep ships afloat and rock climbers safe.

In heraldic terms, the figure 8 knot is also called the Savoy knot. The motto of the Savoy knot is Stringe ma non costringe, which translates to "It tightens, but does not constrain.” We think this is a pretty cool and poetic motto for a knot. The figure 8 is flexible when you need it to be. It also keeps your stuff together like a pro.