Prayer bead experiments
Basically just a spicy stim toy and some theology.
I'm learning about beading, and making some prayer beads in the process. Some day I'll have a clever way of letting you opt for just the mundane instructions vs the full personal gnosis & theology cheesecake. Today is not that day, so you're getting both. I'm also really tired, so this is another half-done page. Such is the magic of chronic fatigue.
Before committing, I wanted to see if the process of making was fun, and I actually enjoyed using prayer beads. This is the process that I did, and it has its issues- unless you like learning by doing, I can't recommend copying my steps exactly. The end result was a strand of beads (not a loop or bracelet), and is perfectly servicable for prayer.
- 8mm beads (27)
- 6mm beads (3)
- Mystery thread (similar to embroidery thread, held double)
- Sewing needle
- Thread the...thread, into the needle. When it frayed, I cut the ends with scissors and tried again.
- Knot the two ends together a few times, enough so that the beads won't fall off. Pull the thread so that the knot is at one end, and the needle is at the other, with both strands the same length.
- Test that your sewing needle still fits through your beads. With mine, the 6mm beads had a smaller hole than the 8mm, so keep in mind that could be a thing.
- Say the prayer that you would say at the start of using your prayer beads, if you have one.
- Thread the first bead, pulling it down to the starting knot.
- Create additional knots as close to that bead as possible, threading the bead through the loop of your knot, instead of making the knot with the needle end. (I liked the intentionality of this, it "connects" each new bead to all the ones that came before it, on top of them being literally connected. I dunno, it just felt right in the moment)
- If you accidentally do one too far, you should be able to get away with it- but try not to. I did "overhand knots", which is apparently the name for the default knot most people know.
- when the bead definitely doesn't slip past the knot, say it's corresponding prayer.
- repeat 6-8 until you have all your beads on, changing sizes and/or prayers as needed for your design.
- If you have an ending prayer, say that.
Parts of my method sucked, and i learned from it. Knotting between each bead did help with giving each bead more room, but it made a "consistently inconsistent" spacing overall. If I wanted to do it again, I'd need to look into a better method that's easier to adjust. It also doesn't let you do the thing, where you have approx. 1 bead's diameter of excess thread, and counting beads by rolling them over a finger. Adding the knots was also a massive time sink, which I think would make finishing a larger set in a single session impossible.
I Can't Believe It's Not A Rosary
So, I haven't actually made this yet, but I have an ongoing plan to make a really cool set of prayer beads. The approximate shape (round bit, center piece, straight bit) is similar to a rosary, hence the title. but I just think it's a good shape. I have a cool, hand forged pentacle on the way, and I'll be ordering other supplies as I find the money. Shameless ko-fi plug, because I'm poor and trying my best here.
The rough idea is 9x9 beads with a smaller bead between them, connected to the pentacle, with a smaller straight bit of beads (3x3? unsure) for starting and ending prayers.
I don't think elastic thread is the call here, it's inherently less durable and the "stretch" isn't an important factor to me. I want to try and pick up some fancy nylon, I saw some on eBay claiming it can take multiple kilos of force fine. I'm still going to hold it double, and I'm considering melting any structural knots to help it stay together. I'm also thinking about learning more about knots in general.
I know on a rosary, they have the centerpiece (often the Virgin Mary) and the cross at the bottom. The only symbol relevant to my practice that would function as a centerpiece as-is is the pentacle, so that's what I'm using. The spaces between each point are great for running thread through- the start of the beads between the bottom two points, and the start and end of the body between the left and top points, and the right and top points respectively.
TODO add an image demo
It would be really cool to add a Mjölnir to the bottom, but I don't think I will for two reasons:
- I don't have enough money to buy a second one, and this is already an expensive project. I haven't bought everything yet, but I'd like to keep things under $100. I'd also feel uncomfortable moving the one I always wear to something I use only sometimes. (and while I could probably wear my prayer beads as a necklace, it's a bit too flashy of a fashion statement for me)
- At the moment, the prayers I'm saying with my beads are focused on Odin and Frigg. I do give praise to the other Gods, but it would be a weird symbol to include unless I rework things to include Him. (which I'm not opposed to doing, I just haven't finished my other WIP prayers to a point they're usable)
I have many more options for things I could add, really anything one could put on a necklace. But I want whatever I put on there to be something that lasts a long time, so for now I think I'll just knot the end. Since it's only a dozen beads, it's not a big issue to restring them if things change.