New mat book and exhibition

SAILORS’ MATS – all you ever needed to know in one book
A new book on sailors’ mats has been published to coincide with a special mat exhibition in the Netherlands. Des explains: ‘This book, the fruit of over 15 years of research, is published to coincide with the exhibition “Scheepsmatten, oud touw en tijd bij de vleet”. (Ships mats, old rope and plenty of time) held at the The Nationaal Vlechtmuseum, Noordwolde (National Basket Museum), The Netherlands.’
With careful research, Des has assembled a 72-page book covering the history and background of mat making, together with hints, tips and ideas on various methods of making mats, from sewn and sennit mats, to mats with knitted panels, hitched ‘Appledore mats and mats with stitched yarns on canvas.

Sailors’ mats from yarns, strands and sennit
Des Pawson MBE
Museum of Knots and Sailor’s
Ropework Monograph #7
210mm x 150mm 72 pages
34 illustrations in black & white,52 illustrations full colour
Paperback Retail £12
Trade Terms avaiable

“Scheepsmatten, oud touw en tijd bij de vleet”
(Ships mats, old rope and plenty of time).
November 1 2009-February 28, 2010
The Nationaal Vlechtmuseum, (National Basket Museum),
Noordwolde, The Netherlands.
For details see

Museum’s international loan

Our Museum has gone international, with a loan of items for a special exhibition in France…

The Museum of Knots and Sailor’s Ropework has loaned 48 items from its collection to the Musée Industriel de la Corderie Vallois à Notre-Dame-de-Bondeville near Rouen in France. The items are on loan for their exhibition L’appel du large (the call of the sea) – sailors’ ropework and sailors’ popular art. The exhibition runs from May 24, 2008 until of January 5, 2009. This water powered ropery is well worth a visit at any time, but this special exhibition is an added bonus.

Des is awarded an MBE

Des has been honoured with an MBE for services to the rope industry, presented by the Queen at Buckingham Palace

Des Pawson was always passionate about Knots and Sailors’ Ropework, but little did he know that when he set up his own business, Footrope Knots, he would be on the path to an MBE. In the year that the International Guild Of Knot Tyers celebrates its 25th year he was awarded the title for his services to the knot and rope industry.

At first a part time business, Footrope Knots soon grew and in 1989 he gave up his day job to concentrate on knot tying full time. The business was successful Footrope Knots supplied many trade customers. Des could be seen at boat shows and festivals around the country and abroad his red hat and beard immediately identifying him. He was a co-founder of the International Guild of Knot Tyers in 1982 – this organisation now has almost 1500 members worldwide.

In 1996 The Museum of Knots and Sailors’ Ropework was opened, in 1998 the Handbook of Knots was first published by Dorling Kindersley, this book is still in print and has been translated into 17 languages. In 2004 Des published some of his trade secrets in Des Pawson’s Knot Craft from Adlard Coles Nautical and recently he has be a speaker a number of international conferences on Knots, Ropework and the disappearing crafts.