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Celtic Knot Patterns

A myriad of different Celtic knot patterns create beautiful, interlacing designs that can be used in a variety of arts and crafts. While many of these knot patterns have been around for centuries, their origins and meanings are often shrouded in mystery. It's not uncommon to find that the "meaning" of a specific knot pattern is a debatable subject which cannot be verified by solid facts.

Celtic Knot Patterns

Common Patterns

All Celtic knot patterns have a universal design of interlacing strands with no beginning or end. Celtic knots are also known as mystic knots or eternal knots. There is no solid proof of the designs' true meaning as intended by the ancient artisans who created them. Many modern craftsmen feel the strands represent an endless path, or a continuum of the eternal nature of life, including the physical and spiritual realms.

One of the most basic and widely recognized Celtic knot patterns is the Triquerta or Trinity Knot. The interlacing strands of this pattern form a triangular shape. The symbolism is believed by some to represent the Christian trinity of The Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost. It is also believed to represent a pagan goddess in her three forms or the feminine power of Maiden, Mother and Crone.

The Lovers Knot, also called the Sailors Knot, is a pattern showing two knots intertwined. This pattern is often incorporated into a heart shape and is commonly seen on jewelry such as wedding rings and pendants.

The Eternity Knot pattern is commonly incorporated in circular designs and is basically any knot pattern that has no beginning or end.

As with most Celtic knot patterns, the Dara Knot pattern has many variations and is thought to have originated from the Irish word "doire" which means oak tree. The pattern is believed to represent the root system of oaks, a tree considered sacred by the Celts.

The Quaternary Celtic Knot pattern is an interlacing design with four corners thought to represent a number of things including the four elements of earth wind fire and air, the four directions of North, South, East and West or possibly the four seasons of spring, summer, fall and winter. It may also represent the Celtic festivals of Samhain, Beltane, Imbolc and Lughnasadh.

How to Make Celtic Knot Designs

You don't have to have an Irish background to appreciate Celtic knot patterns or have the desire to learn how to create these designs by hand. If you're looking for a basic pattern for an art or craft project, you can find free printable Celtic knot patterns online.

You can also learn how to create a Celtic interlacing knot pattern by using several different methods. You can find some helpful Celtic knot tutorials courtesy of Jo Edkins, who designed a website showing you how to create Celtic knot patterns using the felt tip pen method, and the double strands method.

You can also find free tutorials that teach you how to create basic Celtic knot patterns at the Aon Celtic Art website.

Celtic Knot Patterns Today

Celtic knot patterns have been around since the sixth century, when Irish monks began using them to decorate religious texts. Today, Celtic knot patterns can be found in architecture, arts, crafts, jewelry and are even popular as tattoo designs. While their original meanings may always be debated, the modern artists and craftsmen who keep these ancient designs alive contribute their own interpretations of the knot patterns.

By Michelle Radcliff