We get a considerable number of orders for tallit and tallit katan products with Yemenite/Rambam tzitzit. Many of our customers who order Rambam tzitzit are the kind of people who are likely to tie themselves, but of course to tie Rambam you really need a “mori” to show you. I was taught by a Yemenite Jew who lives nearby and used to be in my IDF reserve unit. The truth is, although he was quite patient, I wasn’t able to replicate his knots very well. Then later I went to another Yemenite down the block, who showed me a technique I found much easier to pick up.
Recently I received an email message from an intrepid customer who wants to tackle Rambam tying on his own.
I bought your tekhelet tzitzit and was told by my Rav to tie them in the Rambam style. I’ve looked at your videos and diagrams, and though I can get most of the way, I am a bit confused at tying the first chulya. After watching some videos, I can follow the instructions laid out by tekhelet.com up to step 8, and after that, I begin to have issues. This might be a weird question, but I would love if you could help me (perhaps over Skype) or show me another resource for tying the first chulya. I understand you’re busy, but my wife works in customer service and gets weird questions all the time, so my weird question is: Can you show me how to tie Rambam tekhelet tzitzit? I’d be willing to reimburse you for your time.
I wish I could help CKM, but Rambam tzitzit tying is quite tricky, and obviously remote instruction only makes it harder. The problem with tying techelet according to the Rambam is that you have to get the middle chulyot tying down pat before you tackle the first and last chulyot, but of course you can’t get to the 2nd chulya without doing the first one. We posted a video on YouTube
showing how to tie Rambam with all-white tzitzit, which is very helpful in learning how to do the basic Yemenite tzitzit knot. (Please be sure to “Like” it if you find it useful.)
Most tzitzit tie-ers I know do not make a single integrated knot for the first and last chulyot; instead they simply make the first chulya by making a white chulya with one winding and then a blue chulya with two windings nudging up against the white. For the last chulya some people do that inversed, but I do prefer to do a combined chulyah. I hold both the white and the blue, bring them around once, and then do another winding of just blue. Then to keep the blue in place while I tighten the white, I developed a technique of switching fingers from left pinkie to right pinkie to keep the blue taut until I’m finished with the white.
I realize these instructions are a bit hard to follow without me illustrating. I’ve been meaning to make a video on this for quite a while. Even if you can understand what I’m saying, there are certain fine points that should be demonstrated to ensure you don’t run into any entanglements.