Sunday, May 22, 2011

Missed the Rapture, but I made a rosary

Not quite what I had in mind, but I'm content with the rosary. The rose beads are more lumpy bumpy than ones I've made in the past, which is rather odd since the mash was smoother than previous batches. All I can figure is its the handling. They are extra sentimental, however, since my kids put so much time into them. I didn't end up using the pearls since the holes in them were too tiny to accommodate the thick red silk I strung the beads on. The gauds are silver beads shaped like roses; rather apropos. The cross is one I was given at Collegium at a class I took on the medieval cycle of life. It is the Cross of San Damiano. It's a cross from Italy with ties to the East. Again, rather appropriate.

I chose to do the rosary in a style similar to the one on the portrait of Federico Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua by Titian. The 5 decade rosary wasn't standardized until Pope Pius V fixed it in 1569, and the 3 bead dangle below doesn't happen much until later either but Federico II was wearing it early, this portrait is dated 1529. He's also a relative of Camilla. Chris Laning of Paternoster Row has a really interesting blog post regarding his rosary, and her site is the place to go if you have any interest in historic rosaries. I didn't add the final pater bead just above the cross, since it didn't fit into my personal methods of devotion, but it was interesting to examine the form. His is also intriguing in that the difference in material between beads and gauds is enough to differentiate. The gauds aren't exceptionally different in size as is the usual case. I used that as justification for using the smallish silver rose beads. The thing that I most liked about making an historical type was the fact that early rosaries are strung on silk and the beads are loose so they can be moved back and forth, rather than fixed as modern ones that are often separated by chain links. Moving and counting the beads is a lovely tactile experience. I strung it on 4 strands of waxed Splendor brand embroidery silk, since its what I had handy. Red is the most common color for stringing rosaries in period.

The vendors at the Faire yesterday kept joking about deflecting the rapture by eating chocolate. I now desperately want chocolate ice cream. May reward myself for cleaning with some. I certainly intend to reward my cleaning of the house with some time sewing. I'm sort of itchy to start the dress. I feel like I've been working on this for quite awhile with little progress since all the projects I've done are small and can't stand alone. Maybe cutting the dress will make it look better. I should finish the hem of the underskirt but my husband is chicken and unwilling to help me mark it. Anyway, something will get done and I'll babble at you tomorrow.


  1. What a lovely rosary! Your research is showing! Great work.

  2. Is that sort of like "your slip is showing?" rofl. That is my downfall, I'd much rather research something than get on with making it. :p All kidding aside, thank you very much.