Monday, October 6, 2014

The Gravity Boot

Howdy folks,

  This week we take a look at a herringbone variation of the classic gravity boot for foot-loading full and partial suspensions. Lux and I learned this tie on a recent trip to NHOT, where Lux was teaching a women's rope suspension class. We were told that this tie comes from Giotto of deGiotto Rope, so hats off to him for some very slick rope work!

  Have fun everyone, fly safe, and happy tying!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Kaa Cuff

I was teaching a Women's Suspension class this past weekend at NHOT and nhslutwhisperer taught me this totally innovative cuff created by Kaa (hence the name). It's self tensioning so you don't have to fiddle around with the bands when tying off. So cool!! Here's a link to Kaa's video explaining this tie.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Basic Rope Kit

The IFA has been around for several years now and in that time we often get asked “What do I want or need for a basic rope kit?” It seems like a great answer to have on our blog.

I would recommend that folks start off with something like this:
- 4 pieces of 15'
- 3 pieces of 30'
- Safety shears and/or rescue hook

Yep, that is about as basic as it gets. Let me break down the whys of what I chose: 4 lengths of 15' will let you do single column ties on every limb.With this someone could be tied to a bed in a number of inviting ways. You could also easily do double column ties on legs, wrists and arms with those lengths. 15' gives you a bit more flexibility in regard to the size of the columns that you are putting it on and also gives you slightly longer tails to reach whatever you may want to attach them to.

Three 30' pieces will allow you to do some fairly elaborate chest harnesses and hip harnesses. Or perhaps a chest harness and a hip harness. You could also do some basic rope corsetry with it too.

If you play with rope you really should have safety shears and/or a rescue hook on your person or very close nearby in case of emergencies. The rope you have could be inexpensive rope from a hardware store or it could be valuable hand-spun and hand dyed bamboo rope but no matter its intrinsic value it will never be worth the life of the person bound in it. This is an item that you should not skimp on. Inexpensive safety shears can be purchased via Ebay or at drug stores but they tend to be dull, not cut well and may not do what they need to do in case of an emergency. Spend $10 on a good pair.

This basic 150 feet will work very well for most basic floor work. If you want to do more complex forms or start to think about suspension then it needs to be altered.

“What type of rope should I start with?” is another frequently asked question. The answer is going to seem somewhat non-committal, but honestly, whatever rope you can afford. Yes, there are rope types that you should stay away from (anything super cheap, especially with a monofilament core) but there are a lot that work. There is braided nylon that can be purchased at Home Depot, Lowes, or a local hardware store that will work very well for basic floor work. Good cotton clothesline (without the hard core) works well too. Of course if you are gung ho then get hemp or jute or any of the better synthetics that are out there (MFP, good braided nylon, Hempex, Banda rope, etc). The most important thing is to have rope.

Why do I say that it is important to have rope? Simple - if you don’t have rope then you can’t tie. Like anything else, the way to get better with rope bondage is to practice. If you don’t tie regularly and don’t handle the rope much you won’t become fluid with it. You will always be relearning what you had learned earlier. If you sit and practice with a partner or even on yourself then you will become more comfortable with the rope. It pays off! In all the time I have helped instruct people with rope bondage the people who struggle the most are the people who don’t have their own rope because they can’t practice at home.

There will be an upcoming post about the merits of different kinds of rope, how to prepare your own hemp rope and other topics of that nature.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Midrope Loop Revisited

Howdy rope geeks,

  This week I'm unveiling my latest attempt at locking that pesky midrope loop. Now we've got one bombproof knot that looks reasonably clean IMO and works equally well for both forward and reverse tension column ties. Although I look fairly subdued in this video, I'm actually really pumped with this new solution to an old problem. Also, a quick thank you is in order for Lady Lux, who helped me find a cleaner, more symmetric finish for the knot. So get out there, have fun, and happy tying!


Helpful links:
  Lark's Head Cuff
  Locking the Midrope Loop

Monday, September 1, 2014

Crotch Rope

Here is a crotch rope that incorporates the hands. You can adjust for different body types as necessary. Oh, and in case you didn't figure it out on yor own when I mention that you can tie a knot in your rope and place it strategically before bringing it between the legs, I'm hinting that  you would place the knot on the clit or the perinium depending on the body type that you're working with. Here are some useful links in case you need a little help with the details:

Tracker's Column Theory
Midrope Column Tie
The Cow Hitch

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Kimono Tie

This is a simple chest harness that is great for the bottoms out there who can't have rope on their upper arms. I like this tie because it's a variation on the classic box tie with a reduced chance of nerve damage since there isn't any rope around the upper arms. The arms are still secure behind the back, it's comfortable, quick and looks pretty sexy. Have fun with this one!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Intent and Connection

This blog was set up to be a valuable resource for the rope bondage community. We wanted to provide people who attend the Innovative Fiber Arts events a way to help remember the ties we went over during class and a way for folks that weren’t able to attend to keep up with what we have been doing. So far we have really put our emphasis on the technical skills of tying safely and effectively. While these are all very important and valuable, one thing that we haven’t emphasized a great deal yet is intention and connection with rope.

Rope is an excellent means of communication between two people who are engaging one another on a more intimate level. It can be a quick and dirty tie to let someone say “I want you”, or it could be a very complex and beautiful tie that will allow a bottom to dance in the air. Rope can be used to challenge a bottom physically and mentally but just as easily used to show comfort, love, and support. Although many of the ties used will be the same, the most important factor that determines the dynamic of your scene is often the intent with which you engage your play partner.

Intent is defined as “intention or purpose”. It is the plan that you have for anything you do. You can go to the kitchen in the morning with the intent of making breakfast. You have a pretty clear idea of what you want to do - an aim, a goal. Sometimes when you start to make breakfast, you know exactly what you want to do, what ingredients you'll use, and what steps you'll take to make it all come together. Other times you just go down to grab something to eat without any real game plan. The same thing holds true when you are going to do rope bondage with someone. You may or may not have the perfect plan laid out, but you should definitely have some idea of where you want it to end up.

A critical aspect of intent is communication. To get the most out of their scene, tops and
bottoms need to come to some agreement about what they would like to do together. This could be a conversation held just before the ropework starts, or it could be a long standing agreement between long term partners. Either way, there is an open dialogue between two people about what will go on. Even long term partners should have a “check in” before starting a scene since we can all feel different from day to day depending on outside circumstances. If two people aren’t on the same page about what they want out of their scene, then things may not end up where they both wanted it to. Essentially talking with your rope partner will lead to better and hotter rope scenes, and what you both talk about together is the intent of that scene.

So what is it that you want out of your rope scene? Do you want to tie someone up to have sex with them? Do you want to tie someone up to make them feel safe and secure? Maybe you want to tie someone in a challenging position that could be painful? Are you looking for a lovely suspension for photography, or do you simply want to practice this cool new tie you learned?  These are all different intents that you could have for your rope scene, and they are all perfectly acceptable. Ultimately, it is all about what both people want and how they go about getting it. As long as it is done safely and consensually, then the sky is the limit with intent.

Intent may take on many forms. Sometimes you just want to say to your partner “tonight I want to practice some things that I have been wanting to learn, so I will probably tie the same thing several times.” It’s not super sexy, but it can lead to super sexy times down the road (a quick side note, consider putting on a movie or music for the bottom so they don't get bored too quickly during these practice sessions). Doing silly rope play where you are both laughing is a fun and light way to introduce someone new to rope. And of course, the list of goals for rope scenes goes on and on: rope as punishment (well placed knots are really mean), rope as decoration for a party, rope to restrain, rope to expose. The key element is to have a purpose to what you are going to do. And that can change over the course of the scene, which can be a whole lot of fun. Just think about what you want to do and communicate with your partner during the scene.

Let’s look at a couple of possible scenarios:

Scenario A: UberDom has set up a play date with sensitivegirl. UberDom is planning this really serious tie that will put sensitivegirl in positions that he has always dreamed of doing. The ties might be a bit painful and will show off his rope skills as well as show what a manly dominant he really is. He is meeting sensitivegirl for the first time, and she has had a rough week. She has had a fight with her best friend, and her puppy has been sick. She wants to be tied in a very nurturing and caring way. They meet up, don’t talk, and get down to business.

Scenario B: ShibariStan and BetsyBondage have been partners for a while. They have set aside time to do some rope together, and they are quite excited about it. Stan wants to put Betsy into some new harnesses he has been checking out on the IFA blog and then see where things go. Betsy is feeling a bit feisty and wants to have someone “put her in her place” with rope. They set aside half an hour to grab a light snack and a coffee before playing. The two of them agree that Stan will do some rough and tumble floor work that will help take a bit of “the fight” out of Betsy and try to incorporate the harnesses into that play. They both think that sounds hot and get down to business.

Which of these two scenarios has the best possibility of working out? Stan and Betsy are probably going to have a great time while sensitivegirl is likely to have some less than positive things to say about UberDom. The key difference between the two scenarios is whether or not a shared intent was negotiated between the two people involved in the scene. Most times you can talk with your partner and come up with something that will work for both of you. Other times, you both may have very different goals for what you want to accomplish. In those (hopefully rare) cases, it can be best to hold off until you are both more in agreement with one another.

What does all this communication about intent ultimately lead to anyway? With any luck it will lead to a better, stronger, and deeper connection with your partner. It builds trust and respect between the people playing with one another. Within the kink community, trust and respect are key elements in everything that we do and are particularly critical for keeping our play consensual. When trust and respect are built upon, scenes get hotter and more challenging, and new opportunities present themselves as you  connect on a deeper level with your partner.
Intent is really a critical part of rope bondage if you want to become a “hot shit rope top” (as Midori likes to say). Think about what you want to do, communicate that with your partner, and use it to build that trust and respect which deepens the connection between you. Who knows, it might even help you to get laid now and then…