Similar to playing an instrument, Knot tying is a skill that is developed over time with much practice. It's one of those skills that you don't know you need until you find yourself hiking in the woods and want to tie up a temporary shelter with something other than a basic bow knot used for tying your shoes.
The next best thing to finding an old salt to show you the ropes is an iPad app, Knot Guide HD from WinkPass Creations. Knot Guide HD has 95 knots that are organized into 17 different categories. There are 83 unique knots and a handful that are variations. You can view the knots via categories, alphabetically, or a customizable favorites list. You can even search if you know the name of a knot.The iPad app has a picture of each finished knot and describes how each knot is used. There is also a set of step-by-step directions that show you how to tie the knot. If two strands of rope are used, each strand is a different color so you can tell the two apart. A description accompanies each knot-tying step and you can even add your own custom notes for personal hints, tips or tricks. If there are knots you want to remember, you can add them to your favorites list for easy access.
Knot Guide HD is designed as a reference guide and it looks excellent on the iPad screen. The images of each knot are crisp and clear, though they could be a bit bigger. The descriptions for each step in the tying process are very helpful as they make it easier to understand how you need to move each strand. Only two major items are lacking -- a quiz /game mode and videos. Other apps in this category include videos to demonstrate the knot and a quiz mode to test your knowledge. Some apps even tie into Game Center so you can earn achievements while you learn.
Despite these drawbacks, Knot Guide HD is a very useful reference guide for anyone that wants to learn the fine art of knot tying. Knot Guide HD is available in the iTunes App Store for $2.99. There is also an iPhone and Mac OS X version.