|Names||Thief knot, Bag knot, Bread bag knot|
|Related||Reef knot, Granny knot, Grief knot|
|Releasing||jamming, but not always|
The Thief knot resembles the reef knot (square knot) except that the free, or bitter ends are on opposite sides. It is said that sailors would secure their belongings in a ditty bag using the thief knot, often with the ends hidden. If another sailor went through the bag, the odds were high the thief would tie the bag back using the more common reef knot, revealing the tampering, hence the name. It is difficult to tie by mistake, unlike the granny knot.
The thief knot is much less secure than the already insecure reef knot. It unties itself if the lines are pulled when the same action would seize a reef knot.
- Ashley, Clifford Warren (1950). The Ashley Book of Knots. Doubleday. p. 221. (knot number 1207)