The knot code is a close-kept secret of the Women's World. We use it to communicate, sisterkin to kin.
Trishien, Honor's Paradox,
"Chapter VI: History Lessons", I

The knot-stitch code, as the name implies, is a way of sending encoded messages in embroidery stitches on cloth. It is a third circle secret in the Women's World.[1] While knot-stitch code is used for multiple uses,[2] communication between sister-kin is it's primary use,[3] hence the great secrecy surrounding it.

Jame suspects that the Kendar also use knot-stitch code, though likely a different version that the one Highborn ladies use.[4]


Exactly how knot-stitch code works is unknown. It seems that a set of different stitches serve as graphemes to make up an alphabet or syllabary of some sort, which is then used to write.

It seems that the bump left by a stitch is more important than the stitch's physical appearance—that it is almost like Braille.[5] Adiraina can still use it, despite being blind.

It also seems to have a knitted form, as there is reference to Cattila's Ear, "knitting their conversation into a scarf."[6]

In Seeker's Mask, Dianthe and Adiraina,[7] and later Adiraina and Brenwyr,[8] speak to each other by moving their fingers on the other's shoulder. If knot-stitch code is dot-based, it could easily be adapted to this shoulder-tapping form.


  1. Seeker's Mask, "Part I", II — " 'I never said a-anything about using knot stitches as a code!' she wailed, clutching her shredded sampler. 'That's a third circle secret.' "
  2. Seeker's Mask, "Part I", II — "stitching a letter to a five times great granddaughter"
  3. Honor's Paradox, "Chapter VI: History Lessons", I — " 'We use it to communicate, sisterkin to kin.' "
  4. Honor's Paradox, "Chapter XIX: Challenge", III — "She ran her hands over the glimmering sleeves, feeling the texture of silken stitches under her fingertips. Did the Kendar also use knot codes? She felt instinctively that they did,"
  5. Bound in Blood, "Chapter IV: In the Moon Garden", II — "She ran her fingertips over the raised dots."
  6. Seeker's Mask, "Part I", II — "glance at Cattila's Ear, who sat in the shadows knitting their conversation into a scarf which she would subsequently dispatch to her mistress."
  7. Seeker's Mask, "Part I", II — "She felt her friend's hand on her shoulder. The fingers spoke to her with quick, deft changes of pressure."
  8. Seeker's Mask, "Part I", V — "A hand touched her shoulder. *Grandmother-kin,* said the fingers, with that special emphasis that indicated an embrace."

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