Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Gravity Glove

Howdy rope enthusiasts!

  We haven't forgotten you. These past few months have just been extra busy for your friendly IFA instructors. After the new year, we're hoping things will calm down enough for us to get back to our regular weekly posts. For now, let's check out what we have for you today!

  In this installment, we're going to walk you through a quick and easy hand tie that should help to reduce the strain on a bottom's wrist if you (or they) want to pull hard on the outgoing line. This tie is perfect for those situations in which you need to tie someone's hands up to hard points overhead for those extended flogging, whipping, or caning scenes. Check it out, have fun, and happy tying!


Monday, December 1, 2014

Pocket Sling

This is a modification of Midori's Pocket Sling (which you can find here: I love this tie because it's comfortable for the wearer and versitile for the rigger. You can play around with how restrictive you want this tie to be. It's great for floor play so have some fun and experiment!

Also, here are some links in case you need more detailed instruction:

Double Column Ties:

Tying Off:

Overhead Double Column:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Basic Karada

The karada or diamond harness is one of the most basic harnesses that is often taught to beginners. It is decorative, fun and pretty easy. It is also pretty non-threatening so it is great for a first time rope bottom.  It is also one of the ties that a lot of people mess up. There are a few things to keep in mind while tying this one. The two biggest things to watch out for are the length of the rope behind the neck while starting out and how the ropes are placed when going through the diamond pattern in the front. Read on for our suggestions to help you out with this.

The rope used was a 30' piece of hot pink MFP (as we like to say Mother Fucking Plastic). That was about perfect for our bottom in this case. Your mileage may vary.

Place the doubled rope behind the bottom's neck. Pull it down a bit so that you have a little space. This is very critical for the karada to fit properly. You want about a hand's length of rope from the back of the neck to the bight in the rope. Of course this will vary with the length of the hand and the size of the bottom. A bit of experimentation will help you out. 

At the bottom of the bight put an overhand knot. This does not need to be a well tied knot: it is simply a place holder to help the tie. 

In the front you are going to want to put a series of knots. Many different knots will do: the overhand is the simplest but the Figure 8 is a bit more decorative and some folks like even more decorative knots like the Double Coin. Do what works for you.
The first knot should end up fairly close to the neck. That will place the first diamond above the breasts of your bottom. 

There will be a series of knots in the front. In this example we used 5. This tie can be kept simple and only use 3 knots which will give a very large diamond pattern or you can use more which will give a smaller diamond pattern. When thinking about this remember that the more diamonds you have in the front the more rope you will need. 

The knots should be about hand width apart. Try to keep the knots evenly spaced for a clean looking tie. 

This is how the series of knots should look in the front. 

For fun the last knot can be strategically placed for maximum enjoyment of the bottom. In the case of female bodied bottoms a knot placed right on the clitoris and for male bodied bottoms right behind the goodies on the perineum seems to be most fun.  As a bonus, you have to reach between your partner's legs (yay!)

Bring the doubled rope up the spine to the bight you have tied off at the back of the neck. Undo the knot that you left there as a place holder then run the rope through the bight from behind as shown. Then split the tails. 

Bring the separate sides of the rope to the front. The next steps are one of the places that people make the biggest mistake. 

Run the rope between the first two knots. Go in from the front not the back. When the rope comes out from behind it needs to go over the top of where it came from. The friction provided by the rope crossing helps to keep these lines in place. This is critical. When looking at photos on various websites it is very common to see this done incorrectly and the ropes won't stay in place. 

When done properly it will look like this. When you pull this tight it will create the diamond pattern between the knots. When you pull the diamond open it uses up some rope in the back. That is why you started off with all that space behind the neck. 

Bring the ropes behind the bottom's back. Cross the ropes as shown. If you do it this way the harness will shift with the bottom as they move. 

Continue the tie, bringing the ropes from the front to the back making more of the diamond pattern that you started with the first set of knots. This is how the back should look.

As you continue the pattern be sure to maintain a fair amount of tension. Keep it nice and tight. Most bottoms prefer the rope to be fairly tight and it will help to conserve rope.

The front will look like this. We ran out of rope at the last diamond and the rope was tied off on either side of it using the Cow Hitch. 

Added bonus... when you put a vibrator on rope it "lights up" and transmits vibrations very well!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Here's a tutorial for those of you looking for ways to bring your bottom safely and sexily to the ground before throwing rope on them. In this video we cover three ways to do that (and NOT to do that). Enjoy and have fun! Hyahhh!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The John Willie G-String Tie Variation

John Willie was a well known photographer and fetishist for the magazine Bizarre back in the 1940's and 50's. His work has certainly influenced today's kink scene in many ways, especially the photograph aspect of it. He also developed some rope bondage techniques. We are borrowing on one of those, his G-String Tie, for this post. The tie presented is a variation of the original which can be found here:

It is a fun and fairly quick tie but as it is presented it is not an inescapable tie. If you want something that will look good and combines traditional American rope bondage with a little shibari thrown in, give it a whirl, we think you will like it!

Start with the mid-point of the rope at the back of the neck and split the tails so the two halves go down either side of the body in the front. 

The two tails will be on the outside of the chest.

Bring the ropes behind the back to form an X. It doesn't matter which rope crosses. The two color arrows are to help illustrate how the ropes should look. The tails will end up on the opposite side that they started on. 

Bring the two tails back to the front, coming over the hip bone. Bring them back together between the legs. For an interesting variation on this you could strategically place a knot for a more interesting experience for the bottom. 
Bring the rope, now doubled, back between the hands. Form a 90 degree angle and bring the rope around one wrist. 

The photo might be a bit confusing, but the concept is fairly simple. Bring the rope around one wrist the back around the outside of the opposite wrist then underneath the bend you formed in the last step. Take a moment to dress this wrist lock to tighten it up. Keep in mind that this tie could tighten as it is presented. A lock knot before moving on to the next step would prevent that from happening. 
Take your rope and bring it up behind the X in small of the back then reverse direction back to the wrists. 
The rope then goes under the cuff between the wrists. 

At this point simply "vine" or wrap the rope around itself and finish with a half hitch. 

The final product will look like this from the back and the front is shown at the beginning. A very simple and fun tie that gives a lot of access...

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Green Mountain Cabaret Halloween Rope Performance!

This is our fourth performance with the Green Mountain Cabaret. We used the song, "Once Upon a Dream," by Lana Del Rey and had it mixed by Noah Hirka. Happy Halloween!

p.s. Sorry we've been slacking on the blog this month. October was a whirlwind for all three of us and we had to prioritize other competing obligations in our lives. We will resume our regular posting schedule in November. Thank you for "hanging" in there!

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…

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Ebi Tie

Here's another classic Shibari tie known as the Ebi or Shrimp tie. This can be challenging for rope bottoms especially if they aren't as flexible because it folds them in half. The danger with this tie is that it fatigues the diaphragm over a prolonged period of time and can lead to your bottom passing out due to lack of oxygen. Just like with any rope bondage you should never leave your bottom unattended. In this video I walk through the steps to create the ebi, the precautions that should be taken and how to use this tie during a scene. Enjoy!

Helpful links...
Tk or Takate Kote
Burlington Bowline
Lark's Head Cuff

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Strappado

Howdy riggers and rope bunnies,

  This week we take a look at the always stressful Strappado harness. This is a challenging and restrictive tie for bottoms, so be sure to keep open lines of communication going while playing with this one. The main point of stress tends to be the shoulders, so you'll have to limit the tightness of this tie based on your bottom's flexibility.

In addition to the usual nerve compression issues associated with ties around the upper arms, the Strappado introduces an extra element of danger because we tend to over-stress the shoulder joints when lifting up on the tied wrists (as is the typical application for this tie). In order to protect your bottom while playing, be sure to either secure the band around the upper chest to a hardpoint prior to lifting the wrists or alternatively kneel them forward over a chair, bench, or footstool if no hardpoint is available.

Despite the hyper-focus on safety I present here on this tie, be assured that it is really quite fun, challenging, and hot for both top and bottom. So get out there, strap on a Strappado, and crank up the volume!

  Happy tying!

P.S. Here's a link to the Sheet Bend (for extending rope) in case you need it and also a link to the Figure 8 Double Column Ties post that I referenced in the video.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Pearls Breast Harness

The Pearls Breast Harness is a fairly quick and simple way to accentuate breasts with rope. It is particularly effective for a partner with smaller breasts. 

This tie was done with a 25 foot length of rope. It can be done with a longer length or even extended to continue the weave pattern. That will also give added comfort if this harness were to be used to support weight. 

An important note to help make this harness as successful as it should be: put it on fairly tightly. The friction between the skin and rope is what helps to hold this harness in place. One of the biggest mistakes I have seen folks do while trying to tie this is to tie it loosely; it falls off or droops which defeats the purpose of this harness. Check in with your bottom to make sure that it is not too tight but harnesses on the chest can be fairly tight without many problems because of the skeletal support of the rib cage. 

A special thanks to the every lovely Anise for providing the wonderful body for me to tie on. 

The tie begins with a reverse tension  rope position placed in the middle of the back. 

In the front the rope should pass diagonally between the breasts. 

The reverse tension follows to the front under the breast that the rope initially passed over. 

The rope then diagonally splits the breasts in the opposite direction from the last rope. 

The rope returns to the bight formed at the start of the tie. The photo here shows a finger hooking technique to pull the rope through quickly and efficiently. 

The rope continues back toward the front following the original line that passed diagonally between the breasts. Note that the working rope is ABOVE the original rope. 

The rope continues to the back and reverse tensions. 

It then passes to the front. Here it passes under the first rope it meets then passes over the second rope. 

This is the weave pattern that will be formed if the tie has been done properly. 

In the back the rope passes through the bight formed from the last pass. 

Turn the rope 90 degrees and leave the loop. 

Pass the tails through the loop you have. 

Tighten the loop and dress it to look good. You can vine or use another technique to use up the extra rope at this point (there was only about 6 inches or so left)

Here is what the completed harness looks like. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Forward & Reverse Tension Column Ties

Howdy rope geeks,

  This week we finally get a chance to walk through the definitions, advantages, and disadvantages of "forward tension" and "reverse tension" column ties. I came up with this categorization about a year and a half ago when I was trying to make sense of the seemingly endless procession of column ties that kept crossing my path. In this video, I hope to convince you that simply learning one column tie from each of these two categories should enable you to simplify the number of column ties you need to drill into your hands while still ensuring that you'll always have the right tool for any job that presents itself in your rope play.

  Happy rigging,

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Leg Ladders

Here are two leg ladders - one that is decorative and the other that is restrictive. The decorative one is tied on a single leg and can be worn under clothing. Although I show how to tie the restrictive leg ladder while Tracker is standing (because otherwise you wouldn't be able to see it in the video), I recommend tying the double leg ladder while your bottom is sitting or lying down. If you do choose to tie it while they're standing, be sure their arms are free for safety.

Some helpful links:
Extending Rope
Lark's Head Cuff

See you next time!
-Lady Lux

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tying a Column Off Using Excess Rope

We have shown you a lot of column ties to be able to safely put rope around someone's arm, leg, wrist, ankle, legs, chest, etc. These ties lock off so they can't tighten and secure the body part in rope. Now what do you do with them? You might want to tie off that limb or other body part with the rope left over after you do your tie. Just in case you want to have that limb a bit under control for some reason...

Before explaining this, be sure that you have your column tie down. If the column tie you are tying collapses and tightens that is no good. If someone were to be tied to a bed for example and their wrist had a collapsing column tie on it and they were to struggle for some reason- (hopefully a fun one...) then there is the possibility of nerve damage. Basically, make sure that your column ties are solid before using them in the manner shown here. 

Another safety moment: be sure that what you are tying off to is something safe to tie to. Wrapping the rope around a bedside lamp that will get pulled off the bedside table and fall on top of your bottom (or perhaps the both of you) when in the throws of passion is no good. Make sure that it is something that can handle the strain of being tugged on. If you are using gear from the hardware store, get the good stuff. For example, don't use snap clips or cheap carabiners. They do not handle strain well. Be sure that whatever you tie to is SOLID and won't move. At best it might wreck your scene, at worst, someone could get hurt. And think about how fun it would be to explain to emergency personnel why the lamp broke on someone that was tied onto the bed...  

Also note that the ties shown here need to be under tension to work right. They can, and will, collapse if not under tension. So be sure to use these to keep those legs apart or arms over the head... 

First let's demonstrate a technique you can use with forward tension column ties. Forward tension ties have a loop left in them after being tied off. That can be used to help secure someone. 
Tie a column tie on your column. Here a Wyk'd Fast Bowline is tied at the top of the calf.

Take the tails and bring them to the object you are tying to, in this case an O-ring set in place on a bed.
Bring the rope through (or around if it is a bed leg or tree, etc.) then back to the column tie. 

Take the end of the tails and thread them through the loop left over from the initial tie. Bring the tails back toward the object you tied to.  

Put a half hitch in the tails around the rope going to the object. 

Repeat the half hitch again further down the rope. You can tie off after one half hitch, but if you have extra rope this is a way to "chew" some of it up and have it look good. Looking like a hot shit rope top never hurts...

Here a second half hitch is being placed tight to the first one, but it is being done in reverse.
This forms a Cow Hitch.

This is what a completed Cow Hitch should look like. It can be left just like this. 

Now, to add a bit of security and make it look even a bit more clean here is another trick. Split the ropes securing the column with your fingers as shown. Grab the tails.

Pull the tails through the rope. Voila! it is tied and looks pretty good!
 "But IFA Team, I only use reverse tension ties because they are more secure!" cries a despondent IFA blog reader. Never fear! There is a solution! And it works with forward tension ties too!
Tie your limb off with a reverse tension single column tie- in this case the Lark's Head Cuff.

Bring the rope to the object the column will be secured to then back to the column tie. 

Pull the rope underneath all of the bands of the column tie then redirect it back toward the object it is secured to. 

Secure the rope with a Cow Hitch. But Oh No! We have a lot of rope left over and we want to have a clean looking tie to take pictures of! What will we do?

"Vine" the excess rope around the two lines securing the column. The link shows how to "vine" rope.

As before, pull the last bit of the tails through the two ropes as seen in the first part of this.

So, what is going on here?  There is a Takate Kote tied here and on the stem of that tie a Wyk'd Fast Bowline was tied. That single column tie was tied off to an object just off screen to create tension. 
Cool huh? Both of these techniques can be used with Double Column ties too. It just didn't seem fair to give you all these cool column ties to play with without giving you one way to tie them off to things... More like this again soon!