I'm a Knotmaster now. WooHoo! In order to become a Knotmaster in the troop I had to learn to tie 21 knots: Square (Reef) Knot, two half hitches, taut-line hitch, clove hitch, bowline and timber hitch (earned my knot rope) larks head, sheep shank and whipping the end of a rope (earned the green whipping), figure 8 knot, round turn & two half hitches, and sheet bend (earned the yellow whipping), double sheet bend, rolling hitch and bowline on a bite (earned the earned the 1st black whipping), the constrictor knot, figure 8 loop and man harness knot (earned the 2nd black whipping), the triple bowline, two turn bowline and surgeons knot (earned the 1st orange whipping), and three splices: splicing two ropes together with the short splice, the eye splice and the back splice (earned the 2nd orange whipping).
I really struggled with this goal. I started out by trying to teach myself how to tie the knots through reading about knots, learning knot terminology and watching knot tying demonstrations on the internet. The problem with these online demonstrations is that if you get stuck you don't get any feedback about what you're doing wrong and how to correct your mistake. When I finally asked for help from others things really turned around.
I found out from one of the scouts taking the Pioneering Merit Badge that they were learning the three splices I needed to do in their merit badge class. So I headed over to Scout Crafts, introduced myself the "Thew" (Matthew) and asked for his help. He graciously agreed to take me on as an additional student and had me splicing like a pro in no time.
Before we even got on the bus to leave for summer camp I let two of our troop Knotmasters know I needed their help in learning the last six knots for Knotmaster. If we were in our camp site I had a knot rope in my hands. Sometimes their eyes would roll back in their heads when I walked in their direction, knot rope in hand, but they always made time for me. I went to these two particular scouts time and time again because they were older scouts who were attending summer camp for the 6th time and had fewer merit badge classes than the other Knotmasters. When you test for Knotmaster you have to tie all 21 knots in one sitting and be able to give their primary use. I don't know who was happier when I passed the test ... them or me!
Notice the rope hanging from the belt loop of the scout in the Troop 425 t-shirt. It has all six whippings attached to the rope, denoting a Knotmaster. I can wear that rope now.
Becoming a Knotmaster was my final ticket item for Wood Badge. As soon as we got home on Saturday I did the write up for my final ticket. It is in the outgoing mail now. I should know by the end of the week if the ticket counselor accepted my write up as is or if I'm going to have to edit it. The worst of it is over now ... I should be receiving my beads soon.
I'm definitely going to have to do something about those gray roots before I step in front of a camera again!