Origami Heaven

A paperfolding paradise

The website of writer and paperfolding designer David Mitchell

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The Lover's Knot
 
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the design known as the Lover's Knot. Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other important information that should be added. Thank you.

The Lover's Knot is developed from the form known as the Seedpod (which in turn is developed from the Salt Cellar). It is characterised by the final move in which a waterbomb base is flattened to a square, trapping other layers of the design behind it.

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A design of this kind first, which we can think of as a complex form of the Lover's Knot, appears on page 731 of issue 814 of the Boys Own Paper published on Aug 18th 1894 under the title 'How to Fold a Chinese Love-Letter'. (This does not necessarily mean that the design is of Chinese origin since it was commonplace to ascribe an oriental origin to magic tricks and other novelties at that time in order to make them seem more exotic.)

(Pictures from Michel Grand)

The result of following these instructions is a many layered square, with a smaller square at the centre, on either side of which are two triangular flaps (marked A figure 8 above). The address - presumably the lover's name - is to be written in the central square. The instructions say that the letter is opened by pulling the flaps marked A outwards. This does begin to release the layers of the design but it is still somewhat difficult to unfold completely.

The Lover's Knot can be opened, much more effectively, in a similar way.

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As far as I know, the Lover's Knot itself first appears in Margaret Campbell's 'Paper Toy Making', first published in London in 1936.