Choosing a prayer rope can be somewhat daunting. Prayer ropes can be customized in a number of different ways, and there are a number of factors that will help you make the best decision.
The first thing to consider is style. Do you want a traditional or bracelet prayer rope?
Traditional ropes have a cross tied on the end, and while an in-line cross can be tied into a bracelet prayer rope, only traditional ropes have the option of a tassel. Bracelets are designed to be worn on the wrist or carried on your pocket. As such, they are usually less knots than a traditional rope (though traditional ropes can be made small). A bracelet is not the only way to wear a prayer rope around your wrist, though. Many monks wrap their longer prayer ropes around their wrist, though it can fit very loosely and for everyday wearing this may not be a practical option for many. Bracelet prayer ropes can be adjustable, though, and offer a more snug fit for daily wear.
Once you’ve determined the type of prayer rope you want, the next step is determining a material.
Knot & Nous currently offers wool and satin prayer ropes. Wool is the traditional material dating back centuries. 100% wool is difficult to work with and is comparatively expensive, so K&N wool ropes are made with a wool/acrylic blended yarn. This makes them more affordable, easier to make, and more durable than 100% wool.
To compare both materials:
- Wool is lighter than satin
- Satin is more durable than wool and will last longer
- Wool knots are larger than satin knots
- Wool knots are smoother and harder to distinguish than satin knots
- Wool ropes are easier to repair should they become damaged
- Both materials can stretch, but only satin will retract (and even then, only slightly)
Number of Knots
One of the biggest differences between prayer ropes is the number of knots on the rope itself. Typical prayer ropes are made with 25, 33, 50, 100, 141, 200, or 300 knots. Knot & Nous prayer ropes go up to 100 knots.
K&N Prayer Ropes come in 25, 33, 50, or 100 knots
Prayer ropes with either 25 or 33 knots will fit well in your pocket and are not bulky at all. Traditional prayer ropes at these sizes are not recommended for wrapping around the wrist as they are often too small. For small prayer ropes intended to be wrapped around the wrist, I’d highly recommend getting a bracelet, which can be made adjustable. Larger traditional prayer ropes can be wrapped around the wrist multiple times and have more space to stretch to a custom fit.
For traditional ropes, 25- or 33-knot ropes make for excellent travelling companions, and when accompanied by a tassel they can make for an ornate addition to an icon corner without taking up much space.
50- or 100-knot ropes are best utilized with your daily prayer rule. While less discrete, and sometimes more bulky, they make for prayer time that is more focused on stillness than on keeping track of how many times you have prayed through your prayer rope.
For bracelet prayer ropes, the material will greatly affect the size of the rope. Wool bracelets are much larger than satin ones, and 33-knot wool bracelets are often too large for even the biggest wrists. The bracelet style can come with an in-line cross tied into the rope and fit even better in a pocket or a purse than a traditional prayer rope of equal size. For bracelets intended on being frequently worn around the wrist, adjustable wristbands provide a snug fit without the need to stretch the material between each knot to fit your wrist.
More details coming soon!
Personally, I prefer satin prayer ropes over wool, though I have both. My most-used prayer rope is a 100-knot traditional rope that I say my daily prayer on and keep wrapped around my wrist. I found that my wool rope wrapped around my wrist was a bit too bulky and felt rougher than the satin one. I do, however, keep my wool prayer rope in my icon corner, and I find that the traditional material and style fits best in an environment surrounded by icons.
Do you know which kind of prayer rope you’d like? If so, head on over to the Prayer Ropes page and order your very own custom-made prayer rope!