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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Smooth as silk » » Slydini Silks - why do they lock (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Angelo the Magician
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Hello,
I bought the silks which are made of parachute material (I know most of us use standard silks and not these special ones), but very often they lock. Obviously I make some mistakes (I know they must not be wet - they are dry!!), but they lock so often that I cannot risk to perform this wonderful magic.

Does anybody have some advice, please?!

Angelo
Michael J. Douglas
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Are you making sure to straighten the silks before the knot is tied?
Michael J.
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JamesTong
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2 things - tying the knot the right way and straightening the knot to be ready for removal. Straightening the knot must be done during the tying of the knot. I hope this mini check list helps.
Harry Murphy
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It makes no difference if you make a square knot or "Granny" knot as both can easily be up-set. You have to know what "body" to hold and what "ear" to pull. The reason for the one silk having a contrasting thread is so that you know what to hold and to pull. By the way, the contrasting thread silk is really there to learn the routine/trick. Once you know how to do it without fail, you can use any handkerchief (yes, any!).

What you are doing is legitimately tightening the knot rather than upsetting it. That means that you are grabbing the wrong ear. No other explanation! You are simply not doing the “upset” properly.

Go back to the basics and relearn the tie-and-upset sequence. Put the handkerchiefs aside for a while and get two lengths of rope (12 or 18 inches) of contrasting color (say one red and one white). When you do this with contrasting ropes, you will know instantly what you are doing and how to follow the rope (color) to be pulled to upset the knot. It makes it oh so easy to learn. Work with them until you can tie the knot without looking and upset the knot after the most casual glance.

Once you can tie and upset the rope without fail, move to the handkerchiefs and begin learning the handling all over again. Imagine the handkerchiefs as ropes and the contrasting thread as your different colored rope. Doing so, you know instantly which is which and what you need to do.

Trust me, you don’t need to look at the handkerchiefs (or the rope) when you tie the knot, and you will only need a quick glance to know what you have to pull to do the dirty deed.

Again, it does not matter which of the two knots are tied (square or granny) as they are both upset the same way. You must be able to identify which knot is which and know which ear to pull.

P.S.

Let me also say that, in general, you can upset the “locked” knot (that is, the knot that has become tied tightly) IF (BIG IF here) you can identify the ear that goes with the bulk/body of the handkerchief and if the ear is long enough to grasp tightly. Here you will grasp the proper ear-body combination and give a sharp tug/pull (a “popping” technique works well here, i.e., relax and then pull/pop sharply). Does that make sense?

A good practice is to use those ropes again and tie the knots tightly, and then work on upsetting them.
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xaboom
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WOW, Harry, THIS is an helpful advice!
Thanks,
Michel
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I remember getting some work boot showlaces knotted and wet and using the upset knot method, getting the knot out in seconds. So it has practical use as well.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
Angelo the Magician
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Thank you everybody for these advices - and special thanks to Harry Murphy who wrote so much to help me.

But this is not my problem!

My problem (with this effect!!! - I have of course many others Smile ) is that I cannot seperate the silks in 80 % if SPECTATOR MAKES the knot!

I own the book of Slydini and the DVD with Bill Malone - I know that I shall pull until I realize this 'knack'. When I make the knot myself - no problem!

Perhaps I am too weak and everybody performing this effect must be a body-builder (a la the young Arnold Schwarzenegger Smile - but I don't think so).

Perhaps anyone has expierence with this problem?

Angelo
Harry Murphy
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It is the same technique. It does not take strength. You have a person tie a knot and then you upset it (it's great to have the contrasting color thread to keep track of the proper ends to pull). Then you have a second knot tied to the first (now upset knot). Upset that knot. Finally have a third spectator tie a knot on top of the first two (upset) knots. Upset that final knot and the silks pull apart. The trick is to upset a knot before the next one is tied. It doesn't make any difference how many knots were tied if each was upset first.

Give it a try with the two contrasting colored ropes and you’ll see the principle at work and have a better understanding of what is going on.
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Angelo the Magician
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Thank you very much again,

I know how to do it. But when I want to pull one of the silks straight, so that it is either prepared for pulling them apart or for inviting the spectator to make a second knot I already fail very often. I have to pull with so much power, that there are two possibilities:

1) It don't look like magic, because everbody sees how difficult it is for me;
2) I am not able to upset the knot (because the spectator made such a strong knot) I tried to hold the silks when he makes the knot, so he is not able to make it such strong, but it doesn't help. If a child makes one or more knots - no problem! But I saw other magicians performing this effect, and strong men made strong knots and they have no problems pulling the silks apart - it looks so easy!

Of course there exist many other good magic effects and I need not perform this one - but I like it. Perhaps anyone of you please has a helpful advice!

Angelo
JamesTong
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Perhaps you can guide the audience by suggesting them to tie a simple knot. That way they may not tie too tightly so you can upset the knot easily. Hope this helps.

Just curious ... Since you have no problem with the release when you tie yourself, why do you need the audience to tie the hanky together?
Angelo the Magician
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Thank you, JamesTong - I think, if I make the knot myself anytime, it looks like cheating. It is more convincing if at least one time a member of the audience makes the whole knot!

Bill Malone shows a sequence where he makes the first half and a spectator makes the second half of a knot - very good! But as metioned - in my opinion at least one time should the spectaor make the knot!

Angelo
Harry Murphy
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Angelo,

Please go back and reread my second post.

Now let me talk about spectator management. First I am assuming that you are not handing the silks to the spectator to tie. You are keeping the silks in your hands with “ears” that are maybe 3.5 inches long.

You hold the two ears toward the spectator to tie a knot. You touch the knuckles of your two hands together so they can tie the first knot. The spectator ties the knot. When he is done you step back, look at the knot, and comment on how good a knot it is. You then make it tighter (really upsetting the knot).

Note: as he completes his knot and is starting to tighten it simply step back pulling the silks from his hands. When you tighten it (upsetting it) the person will forget that he did not pull it as tight as he could.

Walk to a second spectator still holding the silks in two hands, now with an upset knot, and have the second spectator tie a knot on top of the first. Again, you look at the knot, comment on how it is even better than the first, etc. and pull to make it tighter (upsetting it).

Walk to a third and ask if there is enough cloth left to tie a third knot (there will just be enough to do so – if not so what? You have two knots already!). Let them tie the third, upset that knot (pretending to be tightening it without saying so) and walk back to center stage. Show the three knots. Cover then with the body of one of the silks and pull them apart.

IF you do as I say and upset each knot as it is made and before the next knot is tied you will have no problem. There is no man strong enough to keep you from releasing the knots.

IF you do not upset even one knot then you cannot release the silks without untying those knots above the knot which is not upset (you can then upset it and release the silks).

IF you are failing at this it is NOT because the spectators are strong and are tying the knots too tightly. It IS because you are not properly upsetting each knot before the next knot is tied.

You don't have to tie any of the knots however you do have to manage your spectator and you do have to upset the knot properly!
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Angelo the Magician
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Quote:
Note: as he completes his knot and is starting to tighten it simply step back pulling the silks from his hands. When you tighten it (upsetting it) the person will forget that he did not pull it as tight as he could.




Dear Harry,

thank you very much! This is a good idea and it enables me to perform this nice effect. You are very friendly to spend the time and your advices are very helpful!

When I watch this at youtube:

Slydini silks
Michael Vincent's Tribute to Slydini
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYZunObCECg


I want to mention:

I don't like the first part - fumbling in the pocket!
The third part is okay!

But the second part is really good! Spectator makes really strong knots. I think I am not able to perform it this great way - and therefore perhaps I should forget to show this effect.

Thanks again!

Angelo
magicians
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I solve the knot problem by allowing the spectator to tie a knot, then I hand him one of the "ears of the silk and a hold the corresponding other end and allow the spectator to pull.
That usually upsets the knot, or I act as if the spectator is too gentle, take the silks and yank really hard and do it myself.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
Father Photius
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I learned the routine directly from Tony, and believe me, Harry Murphy is telling you exactly how to resolve the problem. You apparently aren't reading his response carefully enough.
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Michael J. Douglas
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Yes, Harry gives great advice there.

If you want to have them pull down as hard as they can without giving you trouble, just do the first phase of Malone's routine; I believe he credits it to Vernon. They can pull on that sucker to their heart's content, and it doesn't even need tripping. I know you wanted to have the spectator tie both parts of the knot, but it's really unnecessary. It's not about what they see, it's what they remember. They will remember you saying you wanted him to tie the knot, as well as him pulling down with all his might.
Michael J.
“Believe then, if you please, that I can do strange things.” --from Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’
Angelo the Magician
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Thank you MagicIans - this is a very, very good idea!

Thank you Michael Douglas - you have a great insight in my feeling and you are right!

And thank you Father Photius, too, for thinking about my problem (with this effect)!

Angelo
0pus
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I think Angelo is losing track of the knot ultimately made.

Harry, correct me if I am wrong on this.

I think you make either a square knot (left over right, right over left) or a granny knot (looks like a square knot, but is really left over right, left over right, or some other combination). To upset a square knot, the silk and the ear are on the same side of the knot; to upset a granny, the silk and the ear are on opposite sides of the knot. If the knot is pulled tight (not upset) you can easily lose which is which and it becomes hard to tell which side of the knot the ear is on.

Harry's spectator management points keep you from getting an incredibly tight knot. You just need to remember whether you have a square or granny knot.
Harry Murphy
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Spot on Opus. One of the reason for learning (and using) the handkerchief with the contrasting thread is so one does not have to think about which knot is which. A firm grasp on the body of the hank with the thread and a firm grasp on the ear with the thread, pull, and the knot is upset!

The reason I recommend using two different colored ropes to learn is that it is way easier to keep track of what you are doing. Once you are 100% perfect in the handling with the ropes (experiencing both types of knots) then move to the handkerchiefs. Your family will threaten you for having them tie and retie knots again and again.
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Angelo the Magician
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Dear Harry,

thank you again! The problem never was wrong or correct end to pull, but that some spectator pull such strong knots, that I cannot upset them. But with your and Michael Douglas' and MagicIans help I was able to solve the problem!

Angelo
Harry Murphy
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Angelo that is good news!

Last night (to test myself) I had a friend tie a knot in a regular men's linen handkerchief. He is a big and strong man. I did not watch the tying process and the handkerchiefs were both the same color. I asked him to tighten the knot as tight as his strength permitted without ripping the fabric.

He tied a small, tight granny knot (granny knot is easy to identify as the “ears” stick out perpendicular to the knot).

I must admit that I had to study the knot to see which ear went with which body and I had to “jerk” the proper ear sharply a couple of times before it upset - but upset it did.

My experiment reminded me to never let anyone tie a handkerchief that tightly in performance. It is my show and I am in control.
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Jim Mullen
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From my experience, I agree that Harry's recommendations are absolutely right.

Additionally, I would add that when a particularly tight knot is created by a spectator, the knot may still be difficult to pull off the straightened handkerchief even though you have successfully upset the knot. In this case, I sometimes cover the knot with the first two fingers and thumbs of both hands pretending to straighten out the knot. Under this cover, I give the knot a bit of a start toward coming off the straightened handkerchief while holding the two handkerchiefs by my third and fourth fingers of both hands. For actually separating the handkerchiefs, I use only one hand in the normal fashion to complete pulling the knot off the straightened handkerchief under cover of one handkerchief. In other words, I give the pulling off a start of about 3/4 inches; after doing that, the pull off is easy.

I also thought of the idea earlier presented of having the spectator take one end while you take the other end of the same handkerchief. I do not like this technique though because it tips the method too much. A lot of people know that a square or granny knot can be upset, but, even so, they are fooled by the Slydini handling which carefully obscures the fact that two ends of the same handkerchief are being pulled. The beauty of the Slydini handling is that it appears that you are holding firmly the two ends of two handkerchiefs and pulling them tight. In actuality you are holding a bitter end of Handkerchief A with the forefinger, middle finger and thumb of Hand A and are holding only loosely a bitter end of Handkerchief B by the forefinger, middle finger and thumb of Hand B. Meanwhile you are holding tightly with the fourth and fifth fingers of Hand B and loosely with the fouth and fifth fingers of Hand A. To hold the handkerchiefs in this way requires that the bitter end of Handkerchief A be on the same side of the knot as the remaining part of Handkerchief A. To get the bitter end on the same side on the same side as the remaining part of the handkerchief, Slydini uses two clever techniques. For the knot that you tie, his non-standard tying technique just causes this to happen. For the knot that a spectator ties, Slydini looks at the knot, asks what kind it is, and he casually moves the bitter end to the "wrong" side while while showing the knot to a second spectator. Once the bitter end is on the same side as the remainder of the handkerchief, the knot can be upset easily and without tipping the method. Just pull by the first two fingers and thumb of Hand A and the last two fingers of Hand B. The other fingers remain loose, but the audience does not know this.

I realize that the above is complicated to read through, but I hope it helps somebody understand the principles that Slydini (and Malone) employ.
Jim Mullen
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Angelo the Magician
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Thank you - I am very glad that I started this thread, because many good magicians as for example Jim Mullen 2 help with their experiences. And they help not only me, for I am sure they help many other magicians too, improving their performances of this effect!
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I too previously had some trouble with this routine. Harry Murphy helped me out a great deal on this too. from technique to where to get the 'silks'. Thanks again Harry.

I am by no means a pro at this, but one thing to try Angelo. If pulling 1 silk does not seem to upset the knot, try pulling the other one. i.e if you are pulling the silk with the different colored thread, switch and try pulling the one without the thread.
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Jim Mullen
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Yin Howe's recommendation about pulling the other ear when things get tough is a good one, and this idea is mentioned by Bill Malone on his L&L DVD on the Slydini Silks. I have done this a number of times with success.

Remember that the handkerchiefs cannot get wet or even be handled by wet hands. Wetness makes it nearly imposible to undo the knots.

As to what silks to use, I recommend the parachute type material , which I got from Palmer Tilden. I like these better than the ones from L&L, which I had bought previously. The parachute type from Palmer outlasts the P&L by a factor of three at least. Also, the parachute type is a bit slippery, which helps with upsetting of the knots and counteracts dampness somewhat.

I have heard complaints that Palmer's are not quite as white as the ones from L&L, and this is so, but this has not been any kind of problem for me. Both are the right size (24 inch), and both have the colored thread in one of the pair. I bought eight of Palmer's silks to make certain that I would have these available in the future. For the larger purchase, he gave me a discount. However, I have used only one pair for dozens of performances over the last two years. The remainder are just in storage.

This is a great trick, a true classic that, once learned, will remain in one's inventory of tricks for many years.

Jim
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Harry Murphy
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I agree that Palmer Tilden's "silks" are a superior product. They are amongst the best made and properly made at that. I have used them and have a couple of sets. I also have several sets of the version that is sold by Tony Clarke. They are also very good and well made and do the job nicely.

What I tend to use lately are some custom made special size and color versions for me by Frank Starsini at the Ambitious Card. I am a real pain in wanting something no one else has.

They are all pretty much the same in handling.

Let me say this, I first learned this trick as Charley Edwards “Self Untying Knots” years before I ever heard of or saw Slydini. I use men’s cotton handkerchiefs and they worked as well as any of the special hanks! That’s how it was done back then. Heck, I’ve even used standard magician silks to perform the routine. They work but won’t last long for repeated performances. For a one-off they are OK.

Frankly, almost any hank will work. The so-called Slydini silks/scarves just make it easier and last longer given the abuse the routine gives the material.

The original Slydini silks were a bit more transparent than any of the one's being produced today (that I have actually handled) because Slydini had his made of surplus WWII parachute material (Rayon). I own a set I bought directly from Slydini back in the day.
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