Thursday, 24 September 2015

Cross-knotting (aka 2-way knotting) explained

A few people have asked me to explain the idea of cross-knotting (cross-ventilation / 2-way knotting).   The most common knot used in traditional wig-making (except in the Chinese factories) is the single, or flat, knot.   When used properly, the single knot gives the most natural appearance, especially if the hairs are knotted one-at-a-time.

However, single knots can tend to lie quite flat, without much volume.  To combat this, the wig factories use split knots.  These add a LOT of volume to the hair, but in my opinion they look horrible!  Also, I believe that split knots shed much more easily than single knots, which is why factories often resort to using double split knots everywhere except the hairline.  This just makes for an ugly end result, as far as I'm concerned, and the reason why a lot of the factory wigs still look 'wiggy' and fake.

Cross-knotting allows the use of single knots, but adds volume to the hair.  It also adds a more freestyle direction to the knotting so that it's not set so much in a single direction.

The idea is that every second row of hair is knotted in an alternating direction.  The best way to get the idea is to see it illustrated, so here's a diagram showing the very basic concept:

Cross-knotting / 2-way knotting

In this example, we want the general direction of the hair coming forward from the crown, towards the hairline.  So each row is knotted at slight, alternating angles to the final direction of the hair.

To add even more volume and lift to the hair, a technique called REVERSE cross knotting is used, in which the hair direction is knotted in the exact opposite direction from the final direction you require.  Using the same example, again with the final hair direction being forward from the crown towards the hairline, it is actually knotted backwards at alternating angles.

Reverse cross-knotting

When the hair is finally brushed into its final direction, it retains much more lift at the root, giving a very natural volume to the hair.

9 comments:

  1. Oh! I get it now, thanks

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  2. SO glad you posted this, I had been meaning to ask you how this was done. I want to try this on my second hair piece which I'll be working on soon so this entry is perfect timing. I want to do a high fade with a part pompadour that can be worn down if I want that option, something like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLzACoO4_Go

    And I'm totes gonna carry a switch blade and wear a faux leather jacket (I'm vegan) and pretend I'm a greaser. lol

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    1. HAHA! That should definitely be possible. Not sure about the hard parting, but the pomp style is doable. I think you said you would use real hair for the next piece, but at the very least you will need to use real hair for the front inch or so, so that you can bleach the knots at the hairline. Either way, the 2-way knotting will give you a nice natural result.

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    2. I was thinking for the part you could just adjust the lace where it leaves a slight crack so it reveals a sliver of my shaven head? It seams simple enough. Maybe I'm not thinking it over right.

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    3. Lining up the piece that precisely would be tricky. I think you would almost be better off extending the hairpiece piece beyond the part, and actually ventilating a part in, leaving a couple of holes width of bare lace. But I'm not sure... Let us know how you get on! :P

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  3. one further question on the cross knotting, to confuse things even more: when you are implementing a specific density, say 60% would you also apply the three out of five holes to the crossway knots? I would think within each row of doing so you would start off at ONE in a different cell so that all of your open spaces (the two holes you are not filling) do not end up in the same spot. Hope you understand what I am trying to communicate.

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    1. Yes, you would knot the hair exactly as you would normally, only alternate the direction each row. It can get confusing, but it does work. I actually find it best not to worry too much about lining up the holes, in fact it is less mechanical looking if you change things up a bit. Just as long as the density/pattern stays consistent within each row, you will still maintain the correct density throughout.

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