Tuesday, 19 December 2017

the bitter end

The New Bedford Whaling Museum of Bristol County Massachusetts is hosting a special exhibit celebrating the authoritative guide to knots and knot-tying, written and extensively illustrated by native son Clifford Warren Ashley. The sailor and knot-expert proctored with many crews and crafts people (from butchers and bakers to electricians and veteran knitters) to document knotting skills that were often very idiosyncratic and did not exist outside of their trade and are systematically classified—by later scholarship—according to their Ashley numbers along with histories and contributions to general terminology. As opposed to the standing end that is the free part of a cable, the bitter end is in ropeworker’s speech the part of the rigging tied down to the mooring (the bitt) and has taken on a figurative sense as well. Be sure to visit Hyperallergic at the link up top to learn more and perhaps to practise one’s own dexterity.