The Next Post In The Growing Tale Of Making Orthodox Style Prayer Ropes Using Sailor’s Knife Lanyard Knots


Both my link checking, and some of my readers, have prompted me to interrupt the posts on walking sticks with this public service announcement.

The link to the page at the “Semantron” blog for the downloadable PDF file is dead. This is the only tutorial for the “one-handed cat’s cradle” method of tying the knots for an Orthodox Church style prayer rope which I have found. Rather than let this document disappear into the void I am posting a copy for download from my site. Please note that I did not make this tutorial and claim neither authorship nor ownership. I will attempt to contact the author by E-Mail and get his permission to leave this file here for download — or at the very least see if he is going to activate a live link to the file.

I will confess to being surprised by the interest level in this chain of posts. The coincidence of the knots being of the same structure as the Sailor’s Knife Lanyard knot is a little esoteric for most people, so I must assume there is a high level of interest in making prayer ropes and their kin. A quick Google will reap a collection of links to sites which show how to make knotted rosaries similar to those used by the Roman Catholic Church. Most of them employ some version of the Multiple Overhand knot to make the bead substitutes. Many of these appear to be made for personal use, but many are also made for distribution to the public or to US armed services members, particularly those stationed in forward areas overseas.

I have to admit that the Multiple Overhand knots would be quicker and easier — myself, I would prefer to invest the additional effort needed to make them with the Sailor’s Knife Lanyard knots.

A very short prayer cord to show the use of the Sailor's Knife Lanyard knot.

A very short prayer cord to show the use of the Sailor's Knife Lanyard knot.

The short sample in this photo, which was made in paracord, convinced me of that. If this was made out of a smaller diameter cord, with the knots spaced out for easier counting off, it would be a fine specimen. It is structurally sound, clean lined and, to my eye, handsome. You do have to remember that my aesthetic views on knotwork were formed while hanging around boats ranging from commercial fishing craft to classic wooden sailboats. I also grew up with a romantic longing for the sea in the days of the square riggers. Like most romantic views it was unrealistic. One trip around the horn, or even having to do my favorite decorative knots under the eye of a bully bosun’s mate with a ready belaying pin in hand would have cured everything.

I finally found what I believe to be the original video tutorial which provided the material for the mash-up that started this trip. You can go to the original site here. I would suggest you read the page under the links to the videos as well, since it has some additional hints. This is undoubtedly the original material — the now extinct mash-up did not improve the lessons. This tutorial is more instructive, even though it is an amateur production, and the larger file size is spent on things that make it easier to follow.

I would not be surprised if you had to use the video and its containing page AND the PDF download to make the knots by the one-handed cat’s cradle technique. I find the sailor’s in-hand method much faster and easier, but that may be because it is the way I have tied these knots for years.

The links to the previous posts on this subject are below, oldest on top, and please remember some of the links are dead:

Thank you for stopping by my site, and a special thanks to those of you who have returned to follow this chain of posts. Come back again; the parade of knots is starting to line up nicely.

Yours:

William

A Curvy Bottle Covered In Turk’s Head Variants


Turk's Head variants cover a curvy bottle.

Turk's Head variants cover a curvy bottle.

Now this is my kind of bottle, shapely enough to be interesting, and a challenge to clap knots on. In this case, so many knots clapped on that you can hardly see the glass. All knots came out as I intended them to — none of them oozed down a slope to end up in a different place, or crowd the other knots. The only thing lacking is that it isn’t full of home-made scuppernong wine. Of course that fault can be remedied later.

The knots on this bottle are, top to bottom:

Just under the rim at the top is a white Turk’s Head of 3 Leads X 8 Bights.

Next comes a green Herringbone knot of 12 Leads X 14 Bights.

The white ring that comes next is Spanish Ring knot. This one counts out to 5 Leads x 8 Bights.

The first real feature knot is the bi-color Pineapple knot which covers the shoulders of the bottle. The base knot, done in green, has 9 Leads X 8 Bights. The white interweave counts out to 7 Leads X 8 Bights. I have done my usual trick of stopping the interweave one crossing short of where most people take it. My Lady Rose likes a bolder border than the regular knot provides. By tying the knot this way you have three strands of green on the rim of the knot that are not broken up by white strands. This tricks the eye into seeing the green rim as a thicker line, thus the more graphic look that makes her happy. … … All together now … … and when she’s happy, I’m happy.

Just below the bi-color Pineapple knot, and dividing it from the white knot below is a 3 strand grommet. It is made the usual way — by laying up one long strand into a fake 3 strand laid cord. The grommet also does double duty as the carrier for the Sailor’s Knife  Lanyard knot with the ends left long a rough 2 strand tassel. This knot is also known as:

  • the Chinese Button knot.
  • the Bosun’s Whistle knot
  • the Marlingspike Lanyard knot
  • the 2 strand Diamond knot
  • the single strand Diamond knot

and on, and on … this knot must appeal to something deep in the minds of everyone who ties knots to have been reinvented and renamed so many times. I’m sure I have heard it called by other names, and I have seen it tied as a flat 2 strand lanyard knot. I prefer the button version over the flat, but that may just be from more exposure to, and tying of, that version.

The white knot that covers the waist of the bottle is a Turk’s Head of 9 Leads X 8 Bights, done in paracord.

The green ring between the last knot and the next one is a Spanish Ring knot, also in paracord. I guess you would be safe in assuming that most of my knots are tied in paracord; it’s good stuff, and I like good stuff.

The final knot on this bottle is some sort of a bastard love child between a Gaucho knot and the alien being which kidnapped him. They must have performed vile and obscene acts upon him, because it is not the knot I thought I was tying. There is some sort of an irregular mis-step in the interweave, but it is consistent throughout. When I was tying the knot I thought everything was fine — then I looked closely after I was finished. I probably should have just kept my big mouth shut. I suppose I could also have named it and claimed it as the fruit of long years of research and experimentation (in a way it is all that). I just couldn’t bring myself to do either, so I did the only thing I could — tell you the truth,  and let you judge.

That concludes the actual knotting portion of our show. I would now like to turn to our sponsors — the trawl-net full of links page on the upper right. As I said, rather than present you with an all-at-once link page after much labor, I am filling it in as I return to a knot site previously visited (some many times), or a new site I’ve just discovered. I am putting up a link only after I have given the site a personal look-see. My reviews are longer than most link pages because I am trying to give you an honest picture of the site, before you go there. There has already been a surprising level of use; I greatly appreciate your visits. Among other things, they tell me that I am putting up something of use to someone other than myself. Now is your big chance to have input on how those pages grow. Tell me what you like, or don’t like, about them. Tell me which categories you wish to see filled in first. Tell me of any sites, yours or other’s, which you feel should be there. Your wish isn’t my command, but you do have a large amount of influence. I am making this page for you. I’m basically reviewing sites as I happen to go there, either on purpose or just bouncing from knot to knot while following the strands of the void. Your thoughts and ideas are heartily solicited, and will be appreciated.

Thank you for coming by my site. Come back again, and tell your friends about it. The more excited I get by it, the harder I’ll work on it:

William

A Link To A Downloadable PDF File On How To Make An Eastern Orthodox Prayer Cord


Please Note: The original link in this post is now officially dead. Please use this link to download the PDF file mentioned. I have also tried to change the link below but don’t count on my skills in re-editing the post. You will also want to check out my latest post in this series – it has some good information and a link to a video tutorial.

The Original Post Starts Here…….

There is a site named “Semantron” which I found while following my normal tangential surfing pattern, bouncing from knot to knot. The Semantron is a large wooden plank that is sounded by striking it with a wooden mallet. It is used to summon the faithful to prayer in much of the Eastern Orthodox world. It can range from being a large plank planed down from a tree trunk, to being so large it has to be hung from chains.

The gentleman who runs this site,  Zacharias Thornbury, has made and uploaded a PDF file which you, in turn, may download. (This link will take you to his site; click on the link to the PDF file, this will take you to “MediaFire” where the download lives.) It shows a well-done tutorial on using the “one-handed cat’s cradle” method of making an Eastern Orthodox Prayer cord — also called a kombskini.

He does answer several questions which have come up about the prayer cords and their construction. Evidently, while you may say a prayer before you start, to assist you in your labors, there is no set prayer to be repeated as you tie each knot. Some people do have the habit of saying the same prayer they would use while praying with a cord, but it is not mandated. They use wool to make them to remind them they pray to the Lamb of God. I would also imagine that wool was historically one of the more available fibers to fulfill the needs of the cord maker. The basic wool was black to symbolize mourning for having committed sins, and as a reminder to be serious and sober in living a religious life.

In addition to the basic knotted cord with a doubled gathering knot, he also makes a cross using the same knots. There is also a tassel under the cross. Considering there are no store-bought beads or chains used, it would be available to almost everyone. The whole arrangement as he shows it is a handsome piece of knotwork.

The original post about the possible use of the Sailor’s Knife Lanyard knots in prayer cords.

The follow-up post trying to answer some of the questions raised by the first post.

Thank you for coming by my site. If you have any ideas on how I could make either my site or my knots better, sing out. I greatly appreciate hearing your thoughts. Come back again; the parade of knots goes on:

William

Medicine Bottle #39; A Gaucho knot and A Turk’s Head knot make a handsome pair.


Medicine Bottle #39; A Gaucho knot and A Turk's Head knot make a handsome pair.

Medicine Bottle #39; A Gaucho knot and A Turk's Head knot make a handsome pair.

Medicine Bottle #39; A Gaucho knot and A Turk's Head knot make a handsome pair.

Medicine Bottle #39; A Gaucho knot and A Turk's Head knot make a handsome pair.

This is bottle #39, the latest piece from the “Medicine Bottle With Knots Collection”. The knots on this bottle seem to have arrived at a live and let live modus vivendi. The black knot is a little larger and slightly unusual. The white one is a standard knot, but it is done well, and the light color draws the eye. They come out almost perfectly balanced.

The knots used on this bottle are, from the top:

A black Turk’s Head knot of 11 Leads X 10 Bights, done in gutted paracord. The flatter texture the gutted cord gives is still a remarkably grippy surface.

The white knot is one of my standards, a Gaucho knot of 9 Leads X 7 Bights. This gives an over 2, under 2 weave that I find attractive — not in all knots, just this one with this Lead X Bight Count. I do not know why this is so — some of the larger knots have the same count and weave over a larger surface. It just isn’t as appealing to me for a reason only the Gods Of Ropes And Knots know.

Now the question becomes … Send it off to be cherished by someone who will love it to death but will have no idea of what they own? Or keep it, put it among the growing host of knotted bottles I am gathering under my banner? I will know its deepest secrets but it may be under-appreciated when surrounded by so many other fine examples.

I shall take a hint from the “How To Be A Political Leader” booklet and wait til the last minute when everyone else has decided, then claim that I not only made that choice,  but was in fact the first to do so. I hadn’t mentioned it before now because I wanted others to make up their own minds uninfluenced by my great charisma and status — as rat control officer.

Thank you for dropping by my site. If you see a way in which I can improve either my site, or my knots, sing out. Come back again; the parade for this month is shaping up to be pretty good:

William

Medicine Bottle # 38; Another Small Bottle But The Knots Make It Bold. The Bi-Color Pineapple Knot Shines.



Medicine Bottle #38; A Spanish Ring knot and A Bi-color Pineapple Knot Make A Handsome Bottle.

Medicine Bottle #38; A Spanish Ring knot and A Bi-color Pineapple Knot Make A Handsome Bottle.

Medicine Bottle #38; A Spanish Ring knot and A Bi-color Pineapple Knot Make A Handsome Bottle.

Medicine Bottle #38; A Spanish Ring knot and A Bi-color Pineapple Knot Make A Handsome Bottle.

Medicine Bottle #38; A bi-color pineapple interweave makes this a bold looking bottle. Sometime size isn’t everything … of course, at times, size alone wins the day. This bottle allow free choice on your philosophy for the day. This is the next piece from the “Medicine Bottle With Knots Collection”.

The knots used on this bottle are, from the top:

The black ring at the top of the bottle is a Spanish Ring knot, of 2 passes in black paracord. This knot also functions as the carrier for the Sailor’s Knife Lanyard knot, which forms the button. Both ends were left long to act as a rough tassel.

The feature knot on this bottle, and the star by appearance, is the bi-color pineapple interweave. The base knot was a Turk’s Head of 9 Leads X 8 Bights, tied in single strands of white paracord. The pineapple interweave is not the usual item. My Lady Rose like the look of a very defined border at the edge o a complex knot. One way to achieve this is to tie the pineapple interweave so that it stops one crossing/tuck short of where it usually would. This leaves a 3 strand border the color of the base knot. I struggled and puzzled over this at first, partly because of the mechanics of something I had never done, partly because in all the books I read it just wasn’t done. Being a self-directed / independent type guy has its advantages. 28 seconds of stressful worry about tying a knot differently than the wizards say you should almost made that one sip of Cuba Libra taste a little off. Then I tied the knot the way I thought My Lady Rose would like. She was happy — so I was happy — the wizards can fend for themselves, they didn’t get where they are by being delicate of constitution.

I find this knot very handsome. The extra thick borders have grown onto my definition of a good pineapple knot. It helps that it looks fine, and forms an excellent grip.

Thank you for coming by my site. I greatly appreciate your visits and any input you care to give. Come back again; The band is warming up for the parade:

William

Medicine Bottle # 37; A Gaucho Knot Flanked By Turk’s Head Knots Makes Proper Attire For This Bottle


Medicine Bottle #37; Two black Turk's Heads flank a white Gaucho knot in doubled strands.

Medicine Bottle #37; Two black Turk's Heads flank a white Gaucho knot in doubled strands.

This bottle is the next piece in the “Medicine Bottle Collection”. By now most of you know the story of these bottles, so I’ll go straight to tonight’s show.

The knots on this bottle are, from the top:

This knot is a Turk’s Head of 3 Leads X 13 Bights, in black paracord. It also serves as the carrier for the Sailor’s Knife Lanyard knot. I leave the tails long on these to increase my chances of finding them while groping around in dim light. I got the idea from a guy I knew who would come home so drunk he had to crawl along the garden hose to find the door to his house. One night his wife detached the hose and threw both ends into the middle of the lawn. He was still there the next morning.

The feature knot is one of my favorites, a Gaucho knot of 9 Leads X 7 Bights, doubled in paracord. This one is white, but to me it is the weave that makes these look so nice. They are also above average in their grip improvement skills. I think the over 2, under 2, weave when doubled makes more distinct edges for your fingers to grip.

The bottom ring is a black Turk’s Head of 3 Leads X 8 Bights, also in paracord.

This is a smaller than average bottle, for holding smaller than average pills, I presume. Because of that, these knots cover the whole bottle … bring down the curtain, kill the lights, the show is over.

Thank you for coming by my site. If you know of any way by which I could improve either my knots or my site, please sing out. I would greatly appreciate hearing your ideas. Come back again; I’ll try to make sure the game is worth the candle:

William

Medicine Bottle #31; 3 Turk’s Heads And A Button Knot Adorn This Bottle


Medicine Bottle #31; Turk's Heads and a Sailor's Knife Lanyard knot make a handsome covering.

Medicine Bottle #31; Turk's Heads and a Sailor's Knife Lanyard knot make a handsome covering.

This is another faithful servant, though not so long-serving as #30. For anyone who came in late, I try to make these bottles easy to differentiate in dim light, assisted by touch. At 0-dark-30 in the morning I don’t think it fair to wake My Lady Rose because I have to take my meds. The choices are a very bright light that always wakes her … bumbling around in the dark that wakes her some portion of the time … using a dim light and my coded knots to find the right bottle. Only the last one has any chance of keeping her happy — and when she’s happy, I’m happy.

The knots on this bottles are, from the top:

A thin black Turk’s Head knot of 3 Leads X 14 Bights.

The white ring is also a 3 Lead Turk’s Head, this one of 8 Bights — tied in a utility cord of slightly larger diameter. This knot also serves as the carrier for the Chinese Button knot – also called the Sailor’s Knife Lanyard knot. This knot was tied and then doubled — by either name. I’ll give you 1,932 guesses as to what the 2 major uses of these knots were.

The feature knot on this bottle is a Turk’s Head of 9 Leads X 7 Bights, doubled in black paracord. The weave on this knot is one of my favorites; over 2, under 2, over 2, under 2, from either edge. This weave and its inverse, starting with an under 2, I find very handsome. Because of this, I tie more than my fair share in these 2 weaves.

Thank you for coming by my site. If you know of any way in which I could improve either my site, or my knots, sing out. I would greatly appreciate your input. Come back again; the next band is warming up for the parade:

William

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