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Knotted Rosary: Soft vs. Stiff/Starchy

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:14 pm
by RB2
Hi , I've been making knotted rosaries.
but mine come out stiff, they dont hang loosely, they behave as if starched and want to curl slightly.

I've run across some that appear very soft and hang naturally.
I've been using #36 nylon twine

So what is my problem?
Pulling the knots too tight?
Bond vs Non Bonded : when I cut the twine it frays & unravels alot.
Any ideas?

Masking Tape

PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:10 pm
by Kim
Hello - When I cut #36 twine, I read to wrap the area I plan to cut with a piece of masking tape. Then using sharp sicissors cut at the center of the masking tape.

I have no advice to offer regarding your other questions, sorry. But I am eager to read any responses.

Good Luck!
Aloha - kim

PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:18 pm
by RB2
I was describing that I am using non-bonded twine. It frays when cut. I use masking tape or a lighter for that--I wasnt describing that as a problem.

Soooo, do your rosaries come out soft and hang loosely, or more non-symmetric?

PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:38 pm
by Kim
Sorry I guess I misunderstood your post.
And, yes, my knotted rosaries are soft and flexable.

PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:43 pm
by RB2
Well it looks like I'll have to try harder then.

PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:16 pm
by Maire
RB2, I'm new to #36 twine myself and hope someone who knows more may come along to offer you a better answer. That said, I think the stiffness of your rosary could result from the particular twine you are using rather than the way you are tying knots.

For a few years I've used a different type of cord to make knotted rosaries. My first ones were very soft and folded easily. At some point when another spool was ordered, I noticed that the cord was different, more tightly woven and it did not fray as much. My subsequent rosaries did not drape the same way and had that somewhat starched quality you describe. I questioned the supplier (a great, helpful supplier), thinking it could be due to a bonding agent, but it wasn't that. I was told that an extra step had been added to "heat-set" the cord... which makes it more durable, I believe. My guess is that your cord may have gone through a similar heat process, to set the dye color or for some other reason.

Maybe you could try using twine from another manufacturer to see if your result would be different.
"Rosary Army" would send you a sample length for the asking:
(This is a request form for a complimentary rosary, but you could indicate that you wish to receive the small length of practice cord.)

Hope you will find the right answer.
Peace be with you.

PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:54 pm
by RB2
Thanks Maire, best answer I've had so far and I've put this question out to a few places so far.
I'm using twine #36 non-bonded.
Which is probably at the heart of the problem.

If anyone can offer a better twine supplier for softer knotted rosaries based on their experience, I'm all ears.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:51 am
by Maire
RB2, sorry: I need to take back my previous response. "Twine by Design" #36 cord is the one I'm using now and my current rosaries do not have any stiffness. So I no longer think it could be a heat-set issue with your cord. (Sorry. it did seem like a plausible answer yesterday.)

Oy. Going back to your first question about whether you may be forming knots too tightly, maybe that is the deciding factor after all. I have some muscle weakness and my knots are probably not as tight as they should be. If you try a looser tension, perhaps you will have a different result. In case it may help to do this way: when I slip the loops off my finger, I pull up on the one farthest to the left, which tightens the other two loops most of the way. Then use that left loop to drag the knot over where it should be (assisted by right hand gently pushing) and tighten the knot by rolling between fingers of left hand. So I'm not really tugging hard on the cord as most instructions say to do, but I do tug slightly for the larger Our Father knot.

Hope you will find your answer.
God bless you.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:00 am
by RB2
Thanks Maire again.

I bought 3 rolls of twine from TwineByDesign
Black, Purple and Brown

I'm new at this and have made 4-5 rosaries,
been working off of the black roll which is very stiff twine
and might be bonded...when I cut it sometimes it will race and and fray
for 3 inches right off the bat, sometimes longer.

Tonight I tried the Purple and Brown rolls and they are soft(wont be stiff or starchy), wont fray except a limited amt and restricted to the tips.

Seems my roll of TwineByDesign black twine is the culprit, now I'm wondering if all their black rolls are like that or what?

Any exp. with black from there on your part?
...and does my black roll sound like bonded?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:39 pm
by Maire
RB2, thanks for your update. that's helpful to know.
Currently I'm using the Army Camo and Desert Camo colors from TBD. Both of those cords are also soft, not stiff.

It sounds like all three of your twine selections are unbonded. (Not able to use bonded cord myself, I've read that it does not fray at all.) My cord frays for a few inches at the ends, so I've been using masking tape to cut it, as Kim described above.

My understanding is that when textiles are dyed, a fixative ("mordant"?) needs to be used so that the stain will not wash out. I had an issue with some black wooden beads a couple of years ago and did a little bit of reading about stains/dyes. It seems that black is much more of a challenge to keep from bleeding, because it is so color-saturated. So I'll go back to my first speculation that your black cord may have undergone an extra heat-setting treatment to help lock in the color, something your less-intense colors may not have needed.

Twine by Design website has an email address to pose questions about rosary construction... it couldn't hurt to ask the good people there if the stiffness of your black cord is usual; maybe the spool you received was a fluke somehow. I've contacted Twine by Design once or twice with a question myself and the person who answered was very accommodating.

Hopefully somebody who uses #36 black cord may see your question here and give further input/advice.

Peace be with you.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:03 pm
by RB2
Well I've already notified TwineByDesign.
They took some of their black and tested it.
They agree its different, stiffer and unravels differently.

For me the end result rosarys are stiff, starchy and even slightly curly.
In addition, no matter how tight you pull the knots, when the rosary is done you can tug at both ends and pull more slack out and stretch out the rosary....Very Bad!

They want to solve the problem.
Refund or they are making/getting a new lot in 1-2 weeks.
As of now, they will send me a new roll after the new lot comes
in....if it is not suspect!

Perhaps I will get another response from them.
They tested some cord, put some knots in it, and it seemed okay to them.
As do small test cords seem okay to me.
So they now may be making a I might hear back for more confirmation.

In addition, when I bought some of these rosaries off of Ebay, it was pretty obvious that the twine was from TBD(they are richly distinctive). All three rosaries, I ordered were Purple,Brown and Black...all were softies. So I really was perplexed for a while as to what I was doing wrong!

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 6:54 pm
by Marys Helper
My husband and I both make rosaries. Mine are always so much more flexible than his. That's because I leave more space than he does between the beads. I even leave more space on the third mystery because that is where the rosary bends.

When I have the ten beads on, I leave a little space before the Our Father bead. It keeps it from being so stiff and bends so much more easily.


PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:07 pm
by RB2
Well twinebydesign is sending me a new roll of green twine(instead of the flawed black).

They offered a refund or to send a roll of black from the next lot.
When I stated I wanted to continue business with them and wanted the black off the next lot --if that black lot/roll was not suspect!

They kind of equivocated and wanted to know if either I wanted a refund or the next roll of black from a new lot--no if's and they werent sure of a timeframe for the next lot. Between the lines I could sense a lack of confidence on their part as regards what the next lot of black twine might be like. So I opted for a roll of green twine to be sent.

Looks like I'll be buying a roll of black off someone else.
Although they talk like they are making their own twine --in house, but between their lack of confidence and not being clearly able to state they can send me a 'good' roll, either they don't make their own twine or they have quality control problems they dont have a grip on(with the black).

PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:15 pm
by RB2
Marys Helper wrote:My husband and I both make rosaries. Mine are always so much more flexible than his. That's because I leave more space than he does between the beads. I even leave more space on the third mystery because that is where the rosary bends.

When I have the ten beads on, I leave a little space before the Our Father bead. It keeps it from being so stiff and bends so much more easily.


My rosaries have the shortest of spaces between the beads.
With good twine it just doesnt matter, same result, soft, flexible rosaries.

With less than soft good twine, your observations are probably right on.

A mans rosary, one kept in the pocket with keys, need to have short spaces. Else the twine gets caught on the keys, untwists and frays.
Then you have what men get with most womens rosaries, something that doesnt hold up very well.