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FOR MAKING KNOTTED CORD ROSARIES & CHAPLETS

If you are interested in making mission rosaries or want to make rosaries to share with friends, consider the knotted cord rosary or chaplet.  This technique of prayer counting is one of the very first ever used by the early fathers of the church. A very simple, available, inexpensive, rewarding and much needed ministry.

~ SUPPLIES ~     ~ KNOTTING ~  
~ MAKING A CHAPLET OR ROSARY ~
 

Knotted cord rosaries were issued in Viet Nam to various members of our armed forces. Chaplains would give knotted khaki cord rosaries to the troops to carry into battle. We also heard that they were worn around the neck and smuggled into countries where the church was not allowed. They were safe as metal detectors would not pick them up.


TRADITION OF THE KNOTTED PRAYER CORD

The prayer cord, a much larger pair, is traditionally worn around the waist by various orders of brothers, priests and nuns. Tradition also has it that the Blessed Virgin gave Dominic this type of cord to pray on.   It is often seen as the Franciscan Crown (7 decades of 10).   The knotted prayer cord has a long history.   The first written information we found is the year 600 when Irish monks set 150 knots on a cord to count the Psalter (Psalms).  At the same time, the laity, most of whom couldn't read, would repeat 150 Pater Nosters or the Divine Office which was called ‘The Poor Man's Breviary'



 ~ CORD and TWINE SUPPLIER ~
See the FNT Military Rosary page for twine and military specifications for rosaries (yes! there are MIL-Specs)
and
Illustrated Instructions for Knotted Cord Rosaries

 


Have Twine, Will Travel...

I always have cord with me, cut to length, ready to knot.  This was a "traveling" story I shared with Teena of FNT Industries:
"Jury duty was a lot of waiting around, and they let us go at lunchtime. As
usual, I brought my bag of pre-cut lengths of cord, to fill the time. Led me
into a wonderful conversation with a woman named Barbara. She came over to ask about what I was doing, and I explained about the peace chaplets. (I wasn't sure how much room I'd have to work, so I decided it would be best to work with shorter cord lengths, since the rosary lengths can wander around sometimes).

She was telling me her cousin, a nun, was coming to visit, and I reached into
the bag to find a finished one to give her cousin.
Well, there were no Peace chaplets ready  (they all needed to have cord
burned off); the only finished chaplet was a Therese chaplet. And as I held it
out to her to explain that this wasn't a peace chaplet like the others, she
mentioned her cousin's name.
Can you guess what it was?
Of course, it was Therese!!!
[a reminder that God is watching when we least expect it!]"

 


~ KNOTTING INSTRUCTIONS ~


These knotted rosaries and chaplets are made up of one single, wrapped knot which is repeated for each bead, using different sizes for different prayer beads. It is also used to make the cross. Take a length of cord and try several before beginning. We describe the chaplet first.

FIRST - MAKE A TEST KNOT.
1.Hold the last 6 inches of 36 in cord in your left hand, allowing the cord to follow the length of the index finger. This will give you the 'host' cord.   
2.Wrap longer end of cord (away from you) around index finger and 'host' cord several times, moving the loops back towards the hand to cover the 'host' cord.   
3.Slip loops off of finger onto 'host' cord.    
4.Slowly pull long end of cord all the way through the loops, make sure loops remain lined up.
5.Position and tighten the knot.

Note: sometimes the loops want to cross over themselves while you are trying to tighten them on the host cord. Either correct or start that knot over. We discovered that as the loops are released from the finger to the host cord you can tighten the loose knot by slowly pulling and rolling it with your fingers (away from yourself). As the knot gets smaller you can also position it on the cord. Once in place, give it a tug to secure it.

KNOT CHART
3 wraps for Ave beads (easiest)
5 wraps for Paternoster beads (little harder)
2 wraps (double cord) to connect and form the loop
5 to 7 wraps for beads that form cross (somewhat difficult)
Try the the chaplet first then develop your own sequence to fit a favorite devotion.

SUPPLIES & MEASUREMENTS:
PEACE ROSARY -  3 1/2 yards of #36 nylon cord
5 DECADE ROSARY - 6 1/2 yards of #36 nylon cord
matches or a lighter (lighter is best)
scissors (to trim cord ends for burning only)
Table knife (to flatten end of hot nylon cord)
Patience (to get started..its really worth it)

KNOT-MAKING TOOLS

UMBRELLA STAYS:
I've made I don't know how many beaded/cord rosaries....for the knot tying, I use a 4 or 5 inch long section of one of the gutter-shaped metal "stays" that supports the webbing of an umbrella. Just wrap one end with duct or masking tape and you're all set. The metal is study enough to get the loops of the cord nice and tight, and the groove lets you slip the loose end of cord under and through the loops nicely. The metal is smooth enough that it doesn't tear, or fray the cord.
OR
WOODEN DOWELS
Take a small dowel about 5 in long - and cut a 3.5 in ridge at on end or almost the full length of dowel.
OR
drinking straw (just cut half way down length of straw)
OR
Order a Cord Knotting Tool (item-CT, $0.20) from:
http://www.olrm.org/

 



~ MAKING a CHAPLET or ROSARY ~

by
Margot Carter-Blair
www.RosaryWorkshop.com


"We became acquainted with knotted prayer cords when our son Peter's wife, Lenice, made a ‘peace chaplet' for each member of the family while in Medjugore in 1987. She said they were given cord and instructions while riding on the pilgrim bus."

"Recently, Wayne Weible explained this particular count of 7 sets of 3 (Glory Be, Our Father and Hail Mary) is an old tradition with the Yugoslavian grandmothers."

Read through instructions before starting:

KNOTTED CORD PEACE CHAPLET OR ROSARY 
INSTRUCTIONS

PEACE CHAPLETS



5 DECADE ROSARIES

MEASURE OFF CORD 
PEACE CHAPLET -  
          3 1/2 yards #36 cord 
5 DECADE ROSARY  -  
          5 1/2  yards #36 cord 

1. BURN CORD OFF OF TUBE
(Burning seals end. It frays badly so don't cut. Tying a knot restricts the movement of cord through loops when the knots are being made.) 

2. FOLD CORD IN HALF - START IN CENTER  Fold cord in half and begin in the center.

a. FIRST KNOT - Using 3 wraps, make first knot. Repeat twice, 
keeping beads close together and tight.    Leave a 1/2in space at most. 

b. REPEAT - ‘a'  until your count is compete.  Check distances 
and tightness.

c. RETURN TO CENTER  -  leave a 1/2 inch space. Begin next 
set of 3 (or 10) knots. Repeat until count  is completed keeping an eye on how the cord is being used up  as on rosary so adjustments on decades  may be made  if necessary. 

3. FORMING LOOP

d. TO CONNECT - Align both end beads together in your  hand. Leave 1/2 in space.

e. KNOT TOGETHER -  by looping both cords over your  finger twice. Pull two cords through.  Position  and pull  tight to secure. (Trim shortest cord to 1/2in and  leave till last.) 

4. FORMING PENDANT
Working on longest cord. continue making knots according to need.

5. FORMING CROSS
Leave 1/2 in space. Make a knot using 5 wraps.  (let other cord hang for now).

f. TO FORM CROSSBAR -  tie a 15in cord directly under the  knot (first part of a shoelace knot) 

g. SECURE CROSSBAR -  by tying one more knot using  5 wraps directly underneath the cross bar. Pull  knot tightly against the cross bar.  Optional: Repeat knot for longer cross. This completes the vertical part of the cross. Let cord hang

h. FINISHING CROSSBAR - tie a knot using 5 wraps on each  side. Pull tightly against the center.    Let loose ends of cord hang.

6. BURN OFF ENDS: 
Its easier to burn off all ends at one time. 

i.  TRIM ONE END -  with scissors about 1/4 in away from rosary. 

j.  BURN OFF -  end and quickly flatten melted nylon ball against  knot with the blunt side of a kitchen knife.       (careful, it's hot)

k. REPEAT - i-j on other ends. 

l.  CLEAN ENDS - by running  flame over end - if necessary.  Reheat and flatten again if needed being  careful  not to burn rosary.

7. PRAY - PRAY - PRAY!
Have rosary or chaplet blessed as soon as possible!
give them away and make more!

Copyright © 2004 by Via Rosa Rosaries, Devotional Chaplets, and Rosary Prayers

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