@deejoe I love playing with knots! When I was learning them I carried around a short length of cord I could sit and play with until they got more embedded into my brain.
Good point about the sheet bend / bowline relationship. I just tried it and the knot ends up basically the same, just with the bit that is a loose end in the sheet bend is part of the loop in the bowline version, but I think it's stable that way too.
@deejoe and just read about bowline / sheet bend at https://overtheedgerescue.com/canyoning/sheet-bend-vs-bowline-knot/ - there is a safety implication if you have a human dependent on it, I guess it depends on whether you need a loop that you can pull on (bowline), or a loop that can have force "expanding" the loop (sheet bend)?
I think the key difference is what you already said. In the bowline, the free end is passed back up through through the initial bight, taken around the standing end, and then is brought back down through the inital bight, to form a loop.
The term "bend" on the other hand refers specifically to bringing together 2 free ends.
In the sheet bend, the free end of one piece passes through a bight made in the other, and is tied around the other's standing end.
Which direction you go I guess depends on how you tie the knot. In one half of the knot, the bight brings the free end & standing end antiparallel. In the other, they cross each other.
ok, looking more closely at that page I think I see where the terminological confusion is. They are trying to use "sheet bend" to differentiate the direction in which the antiparallel bight tied around the standing is made, to leave to free end to one side or the other.
The problem with using the term "sheet bend" here is that the only thing that gives directionality is the loop. For a true bend without a loop, there's no reference point.
Here they are tying a single length around a carabiner.
They call it a bend, but that's not a bend, it's a hitch!
In safety, there are a few considerations. One is whether or not you want the knot to slip.
A bowline is meant not to slip under load. One way of guarding against this is to tie the free end to the loop near its end.
Another is how well you can loosen the knot after it has been put under load.
Finally, whether the knot unties entirely, whether it "spills".
"I appreciate SDF but it's a general-purpose server and the name doesn't make it obvious that it's about art." - Eugen Rochko