In these days when so many beautiful things are mass produced it may seem a waste of energy to labour at a handicraft: but it should be borne in mind that a craftsman made the original article, and that without his skill the machines would have nothing new to produce.
The life of the sailor of old was singularly adapted to the development of the handicraft of Fancy Ropework. The reason that he so occupied himself was on account of two major factors: his inability to read and the availability of the material. The art of Fancy Ropework reached the peak of its excellence about the middle of the last century when a slump in trade brought about a reduction in the number of crew in a ship with the consequent reduction of the spare time that had permitted sailors to occupy themselves with their handicraft. An observer at that time considered that in the way of knots, especially for use at sea there could be nothing more to invent. He was wrong. Much more has been invented since then.
Probably more than existed at that time; and the writer himself has some novel contributions to the craft to offer in this book. Given a piece of string, man will find some new way of tying a knot with it.