Shibari chest harness

Burlington Bowline

It’s still Knotty November, and Coach Catasha is here to deliver a quick lesson on the Burlington bowline tie! Saturdays course will move pretty quickly as it is a slightly more advanced technique. I’m omitting some of the basics during class, but this tutorial should give you a bit of a head start! If you can master this tie before class, you will have mastered the foundation of all Shibari based ties. The tie is called the Burlington Bowline and it’s my favorite of the column ties. It was invented by the rope god Tracker with Innovative Fiber Arts.

I love the Burlington Bowline because I have never seen it collapse. A collapsed knot is essentially a knot that has become undone, or collapsed. This can be extremely dangerous on so many levels, especially if engaged in a suspension scene. With the bulk of my clients considered beginners, I find it easier to teach this version first. Once it’s mastered, you can transition easily to a Summerville bowline or any other tie. I started with the Summerville, but I find it more finicky on larger columns. Since most of my clients are ordinary (and sometimes fluffy) people, I prefer the safety in a knot that doesn’t collapse as easily.

Here is a step by step guide with pictures to walk you through the Burlington bowline. I recommend at least 10ft of rope to practice the single column tie.

First, identify the working ends of your rope (left hand) and the bight or middle of the rope (right hand).

Knotty November Step 1


From the bight measure a little more that arms length of rope.  Slide the bight under the column (my leg here) until the measured point is directly under the column. Wrap both ends of the rope around each column twice. You should have eight ropes around the column, with the bight in the left hand and the working ends in the right.

Knotty November Step 2


Reverse the ends of the rope to cross each other in the middle of the column. The rope should be parallel to the column at this point. Take care that the ropes around the column are still lying flat against the object. If the ropes have jumbled, straighten them out to prevent pinching and collapse.

Knotty November step 3


Tuck the bight of the rope underneath all the ropes of the column.

Knotty November step 4


Pull the bight all the way through tightening it down. Take the working ends of the rope and make a loop. You should have the bight on one end of the column and the loop on the other.

Knotty November step 5


Feed the bight through the loop you created with the working ends. DO NOT CLOSE YOUR LOOP!

Knotty November step 6


Pull the bight back under all the ropes of the column. You loop should still be standing tall.

Knotty November step 7


Run the bight back through the loop one more time.

Knotty November step 10


Give both ropes a tug to lock the knot and *Jamaican air horn noise* you’ve got it!! You have just completed a Burlington Bowline tie!

Knotty November step 10Knotty November step 12


This tie is perfect for situations where the working ends are already tied to something like a bed frame or chair. You can leave as much of the bight free as you desire, albeit I left more than necessary in the attached photos. As always, please be careful when trying new kinky activities. Be weary of tying delicate columns like necks. You are the best champion of your safety, please play with caution.

Sign up here to attend this months #SexEd course on Shibari. I am giving a tutorial on how to complete a Hishi Karada on my lovely (and forced) assistant, my husband.

The things we do for love! See you all on Saturday!


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