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Restoring the Art of Rope Making

When I began vestment restoration I never imagined that I would be consulting nautical books and Japanese methods of rope making to accomplish anything for the glory of God. But He has a funny way of leading you down paths that, at first, seem like rabbit holes then become an unexpectedly joyful learning experience. Cinctures tend to wear out right at the the center point of the rope because they are folded in half when stored or worn so a lot of the stress is placed on that one spot. Most manufactured cinctures are made with a core that has other threads woven around it to make it beautiful and worthy of the altar. The problem is those threads do not hold up well to the use, wear out easily, and it is impossible to repair them. When presented with one of these worn out cinctures I took it as a personal challenge to make a better cincture. This book, along with some online videos of the Japanese method of braiding rope, helped tremendously in figuring out the 'how to' of rope making. I have used linen and bamboo thread to make cinctures but finally landed on silk which is much easier to work with and beautiful at every stage of the process.

Once I measure out the thread and load them onto shuttles it is finally time to put them into action on my modified stool for braiding, which is by far the most enjoyable part of cincture making. The last piece of the cincture is the tassel. I hand crochet the caps with the same silk I use to braid the rope.

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