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rosary workshop - Instructions & Resources
ROSARIES:  TWINE / CORD
HOW TO MAKE KNOTTED CORD ROSARIES & CHAPLETS


KNOTTEN CORD ROSARIES
COME WITH AN ANCIENT HISTORY
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. 
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a wonderful reminder
  ECCLESIASTES  4:12   Where one alone may be overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cord is not easily broken.
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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'
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RECENT POPULARITY - (7 SETS OF 3)
We first discovered these little 7 sets if 3 knotted prayer cords through our sons wife Lenice who, when visiting Medjugorje, learned to make them on the bus ride. She gave us one and taught us how to make the knots. then Father Joe whose gramma came from there, shared that his family prayed this 7 sets of 3 rosary and it was called the 'Grandmothers Prayer'.
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MILITARY ISSUE 
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.
 

SEARCH ROSARY WORKSHOP:


for more information see:
SUPPLIES   -   KNOTTING   -   TOOLS
MAKING A CHAPLET OR ROSARY   -   DYING THE CORD
READERS COMMENTS   -   RANGER ROSARIES
GREAT INSTRUCTIONS:
CORD R0SARIES    -   BOOKLET
MORE LINKS




~ CORD and TWINE SUPPLIERS ~

SORRY,  FNT, OUR PRIMARY SUPPLIER 
OF #36 CORD IS NOW CLOSED. 
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But not all is lost!  
When Teena and Cheryl left FNT in 2006, 
they started 
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DIVINE TWINE ROSARY TWINE

Please visit them for a beautiful array of
colored cords, batiks and solid colors.
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 ALSO VISIT 
ROSARY ARMY
 DYES
All colors may be overdyed or tie dyed (instructions below) using
household dyes which surprised us as we felt synthetics required a special dye...
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LARGER CORDS
Check prices for larger cords as instructions call for the following yardage:
#48:7yds. #60: 9yds  -  #72: 10 1/2 yds  -  #96: 12yds of cord.
Nylon is not only the easiest to use, ends may be burned off.
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NATURAL FIBERS
If you use natural fibers, Dip ends in white glue or rubber cement and let dry.
To finish rosary use the glue to secure cut ends




~ 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 made the chaplet first.
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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.    
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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.    
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3. Slip loops off of finger onto 'host' cord.     
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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.
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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)




 GREAT IDEAS FROM

~ KNOTMAKING TOOLS ~

OTHER ROSARYMAKERS

... PLUMBING TUBING ...
"I make my own tool for the #36 twine out of plumbing tubing.  I buy a diameter about the size of a drinking straw make it 6"long and then cut out a 1-2 inch long section at one end that is a little less than 1/2 the diameter.  This makes a slot to push the twine through after wrapping it around the tubing. This stuff only cost 19 cents a foot and looks like it will last forever. It is my larger version of the Our Lady's Rosary Makers tool for the thinner twine used with beads."Karen (KS)
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... LARGE TAPESTRY NEEDLES ...
 I started making knotted cord rosaries afer a visit to our chapel where I saw a pair in the hands of the Blessed Virgin statue.  Rather than use dowels or umbrella satys I use a large tapestry needle.  I wrap the cord around my finger and slide the tapestry needle through the loops, pull the cord through an tighten.   Chery W
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  ... 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. I've found it to be a lot easier and a lot faster than using your fingers. Just an fyi. Ann Henry (OH)
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PS - You can usually pick up an old, broken umbrella at a yard sale or flea market for practically nothing and get about a dozen or so "tools" from it.....which is a good thing, because I kept misplacing mine.  (Thanks, Anne)
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... WOODEN DOWELS ...
Some one else gave us this suggestion: 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.
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... CORNER MOLDING ...
Thanks for posting instructions for cord rosaries, they are very helpful.  I have modify them just a bit and maybe others would find it helpful.  I am partially paralyzed in my right arm and hand so I can't wrap the cord around my fingers, so what I do is wrap it around a 6 inch length of corner molding and then it is very easy to feed the cord back through the grove in the molding to finish the knot. Thanks Again. Lord's Blessings, Bob Bower Seminarian
Concordia Theological Seminary - Fort Wayne, IN





~ MAKING a CHAPLET or ROSARY ~

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 Medjugjore in 87. 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 Yugoslovian grandmothers. Read through instructions before starting:
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KNOTTED CORD PEACE CHAPLET OR ROSARY
INSTRUCTIONS:

 
PEACE CHAPLETS
Made popular again at medjugorje 
with  7 sets of 3 beads each. 
Called the 'Grandmothers Prayer', 
they have a long history.

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5 DECADE ROSARIES
Traditional 'Dominican Rosary' or 
'Catholic Rosary' is prayed by 
Christians all over the world.
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VARIATIONS
Variations of these two may be made 
in any configuration that suits personal prayer 
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The Anglican Rosary with 
its 4 sets of 10, or prayer ropes for 
the Orthodox Churches 
are two considerations.
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, its hot)
-- k. REPEAT - t 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 (or your fingers).

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





~ TIE DYE INSTRUCTIONS ~

1. PREPARE DYE - according to package instructions.
2. WRAP MEASURED CORD  - around the palm of your hand.  Remove bundle.
3. WRAP STRING - around this bundle as many time as you wish, leaving spaces where the dye can saturate through. (Remember, dye will not take where string is wrapped. Dip into dye and leave  as long as it takes to get shade desired (darker when wet). Let dry.
4. UNWRAP STRING -  and stretch out cord to see what you have.
5. REPEAT - for each color applied. 3 colors is plenty as colors mix into one another and as knots are tied, they blend even more.
(original instructions said RIT would dye nylon cord pastel colors)





 ~ READERS COMMENTS ~

... I was probably the only Baptist ...
I was looking for information on making all cord rosary and came across you.  I am excited.  I am a rosary maker and prayer.  For a few years I was away from the church and  still continued to pray my rosary several times a day.  I was probably the only Baptist in the state of Arkansas praying the rosary.  But that was good in away.
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Our Blessed Mother never gave up on me and she was ever present in my life.  Eventually I came back to the Catholic Church and have enjoyed every moment of it.  Now after being back for almost 9 years I am on a new journey.  Two years ago God called me to become a Secular Franciscan.  In a few months I shall make Profession.   Nialach,  (that it may be)  Lyn White (USA)
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... prayer ropes for the Orthodox church ...
 I ran across your page and was intrigued. I have just illustrated a pamphlet on Prayer ropes for the Orthodox church. We (my family and I) make them at lent since they are a monastic endeavour, they are made with great reverence, all the while reciting the "Jesus Prayer". The knots are very complicated and the ropes are mostly made in black wool (black for sorrow and wool for the Lamb) with a tassel at the end to wipe your tears and remind you to weep. While the Orthodox have several types of ropes and lengths, they all practice the same prayer of repentance. The Jesus Prayer : "O Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' Tom D. (USA)

... a gift to share with others ...
Your directions for the knotted peace chaplet were so interesting I had to try making one. I think there is as much worship in the making of the chaplet as there is in the praying of it. I have made it part of my Lenten discipline to make one knotted peace chaplet each night. You have given me a wonderful gift - a gift to share with others - and I thank you.  Geoff T. (GA)
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I just returned from giving one of the knotted peace chaplets to a close friend who had left the church but is in the process of returning....She had a wonderful experience a few weeks ago in San Francisco when she was approached by a homeless man asking her for money. She noticed that he was wearing a rosary around his neck. She asked him if he new what it was. He told her that it was his mother's rosary, and it was the only thing he had to remember her by. My friend asked if he knew how to pray the rosary, and he said that he did not. She spent a good part of the evening sitting with this man teaching him to pray the rosary.  ...At the end of the time together, she gave him some money and they parted. I would hate to have to guess which one felt more blessed by the experience.It was a great joy for me to give her one of the knotted chaplets as a small reminder of that evening.
Geoff T. (GA)
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Dear Guild: This rosary story above is another example of a mother's prayers living on long after she left this earth.
Fr. Joe

... I have just begun my journey ...
...This is great, to be able to make your own Rosary or to be able to give a loved one a special Rosary that you made. I have just begun my journey into Catholicism and I love to have my quiet time with my Rosary. Thank you and god bless... Mimi C. (PA)

...  'just ask for the rosary cord' ...
We wanted to put these instructions on the site but our family copy of the instructions had been missing for many years. Yesterday - on the way to have lunch with my granddaughter Rachel - I followed a nagging hunch - by popping in (next door to the restaurant) to our local FNT Industries to ask about nylon cord. 
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Not only did they have the cord, they showed me several rosaries and gave me the instructions. (Needless to say, I found the missing instructions when I came home). When I asked Joan what we should ask for when ordering this cord, she said,  "just ask for the rosary cord!"
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THE LORD WORKS IN WONDERFUL WAYS
These instructions looked like an update of the original sheet we had. Each had the name of Rick Landry on it. We believe this piece of paper has probably been all around the world. We thank Rick and his friends for sharing this. This is not quite the same as theirs but close..





~ RANGER ROSARIES ~

A WONDERFUL ROSARY DEVELOPED BY SGT FRANK V RISTAINO MADE OF PARACHUTE CORD AND PONY BEADS FOR OUR MILITARY PERSONNEL. READ ABOUT IT IN THIS ARTICLE THEN GO TO THE LINK BELOW FOR INSTRUCTIONS.
(a great example of using what is available, something that he was familiar with)

PARACHUTE BEADS
By George P. Matysek Jr. - Review staff correspondent

ANNAPOLIS – The parachute cord used by U.S. soldiers is designed to hold up to 550 pounds of weight. But these days it’s also supporting the prayers and special intentions of hundreds of servicemen thanks to a parishioner of St. Mary in Annapolis and the students of St. Mary’s High School.
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Using strands of olive-green parachute cord and black plastic beads, St. Mary’s students have been crafting hundreds of "ranger rosaries" since January. The rosaries will be blessed by the Redemptorist priests of the parish and donated to members of the Maryland Army National Guard and the 82nd Airborne Division who are preparing for possible deployment to the Persian Gulf and elsewhere.
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Identical to the ranger rosaries St. Mary parishioners made a few years ago and donated to U.S. soldiers in Bosnia, the spiritual gifts are designed to show support for the men and women serving in the American armed forces.
"I think it’s a great thing to do," said Katie Colgan, an 18-year-old St. Mary’s senior, as she carefully threaded some beads onto the flexible parachute cord.
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"We’re giving them hope," she said. "They’ll know that God is watching over them while they serve our country."
The ranger rosaries were the idea of Frank V. Ristaino, a St. Mary parishioner and a sergeant in the Maryland Army National Guard. During training as a young army recruit in 1981, Sgt. Ristaino used the parachute cord and beads in land navigation drills. Every 72 paces, he pulled one of the beads down his cord to indicate that he had walked 100 meters.
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"I looked down at it one day and thought it would be a great idea for a rosary," he said.
With the help of his wife, Barbara, and the eldest of their 10 children, Sgt. Ristaino made 800 of the rosaries which were distributed in Bosnia. They proved to be wildly popular with chaplains requesting more every year.
"They match the uniform and they look military," said Sgt. Ristaino, noting that the ranger rosaries include no metal parts that would reflect light or make rattling sounds in the field.
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"They’re very durable," he added. "They don’t break apart like a lot of regular rosaries."
Sgt. Ristaino acknowledged that most of the men and woman who accept the rosaries don’t know how to use them. Some are Protestants who simply like the idea of carrying a spiritual reminder in their pockets, he said. "It’s a start," said Sgt. Ristaino. "The whole message of the rosary is a message of peace. We train hard for war and pray for peace."
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Chaplain Major W. Ray Williams of the Maryland 29th Infantry Division said he saw firsthand how popular the ranger rosaries were when he served in Bosnia. While the army provides simple plastic rosaries for anyone who wants one, he said the ranger rosaries carry more meaning for the soldiers. "If an object is going to be sacred to you, then it has to be something that speaks to you personally," said Chaplain Williams, a member of the Church of God who received a theology degree from St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore.
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"When you’re 10,000 miles away from home, you want something to tie you back to home," he said. "The ranger rosaries are no better way to do that. They speak personally to (the soldiers)."
Chaplain Williams said he explains the spirituality of the rosary. He also takes special care to make sure Protestants understand its significance, he said.
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In making the rosaries, St. Mary’s students said they work hard to make them crisp and professional looking. The tightly wound knots that separate the decades of the rosary feature a precision that would impress even the most finicky drill instructor.
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None of the ranger rosaries is completed without a final prayer. After the students attach a black plastic crucifix, they pray that the rosaries will never have to be used in or near combat.
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Part of the reason students were enthused about the rosary project was because many of them come from military families, according to Joan Ruch, St. Mary’s director of development. With the Naval Academy based in Annapolis and many military and national security bases located in the Baltimore-Washington region, she said about 15 percent of St. Mary’s students have a parent who serves in the military.
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"The students are very proud to support our military with this small service," she said.
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For instructions on making
 RANGER ROSARIES
go to
INSTRUCTIONS




ROSARY WORKSHOP
MISSION STATEMENT
Our vision is to provide the finest handmade rosaries, chaplets and other fine religious art forms for personal worship we can make using the best supplies available.  The Guild believes the work of our hands should give visual Glory to God, therefore for us, the best for you is very, very important.

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for more information see:

 

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