The name of the knot originated from the practice of sailors to use this knot to identify thefts. They would secure their ditty bags with this knot and keep the ends hidden. Potential thieves or mischievous sailors who opened the bags were likely to close it with the more common square knot eventually giving away the fact that the bags were tampered with. This purpose of the knot is reflected in its other names, bag knot and bread bag knot. It is mentioned in The Ashley Book of Knots. It is easy to untie the knot.
Tying a Thief Knot
Thief Knot v/s Square or Reef Knot
- The square (reef) knot, though similar in appearance, has both the tag ends lying on the same side of the knot unlike the thief knot that has the tag ends lying diagonally opposite to each other.
- The thief knot is far less secure than the reef knot.
- If tied mistakenly, the square knot can yield the granny knot. However, it is not that easy to tie the thief knot by mistake.
- In necklace designs.