I've been praying the Jesus Prayer off and on since around 2009. I usually use a Catholic Rosary or count in my mind, but mostly I say the prayer for a set time without counting the number of times I've said it.
All these years, I've been searching for a chotki. The few I could find on Amazon or Ubuy or various Orthodox online stores were extremely expensive. In some cases the shipping cost was more than double the price of the chotki! I did find mentions of some chotki-making groups among the local Oriental Orthodox, but when I contacted them they told me that they'd wound up the project and advised me to try on Amazon.
I've searched for tutorials online several times, but everything I found simply seemed so complicated. (In retrospect, the tutorials were probably not the problem. I guess I was overwhelmed and intimidated and could never force myself to begin.)
In one of the tutorials I learnt that the two common materials used to make chotkis are yarn or some material that they called "rattail" which was quite new to me. The authors of the various tutorials I'd read invariably seemed to prefer to use 1/8th of an inch size rattail. So I found and ordered some rattail lengths from Amazon. They arrived tied up in a loopy way, which I later learnt are called hanks, and they've been sitting in the bag I stored them in, for the past two years.
It seemed this was a project destined never to be completed. Another drain on my energy.
That changed a while ago. While browsing YouTube, I aimlessly typed in "Orthodox Prayer Rope" and this video by Fr. Zacharias came up on top. The explanation in this video tutorial was extremely clear and simplified that I felt energised and optimistic that I could actually make one of these this time. I'd never felt this way on viewing or reading any chotki tutorial before this. So, a few days later, I located the bag with the rattail in it and opened the cover (it was still in its Amazon packaging) containing a set of rattail material (crimson and black) and got started. In the intervening time I also ordered wooden beads with 4mm and 10mm diameter holes from Amazon.
While searching for the beads, I also stumbled on a Catholic Rosary with an Orthodox crucifix. I had never seen a rosary with such a crucifix before. The timing of this discovery was providential. This gave me the idea to make a chotki that could also be used to say the Rosary. Since rosaries most commonly have a crucifix and a chotki has a cross made out of the rattail or yarn that makes the knots, I decided to buy this Rosary with the Orthodox crucifix and attach the crucifix to the cross of the Chotki. (I had searched for Orthodox crucifixes separately, but they were either not available here or were expensive) Though I any Chotkis with crucifixes online, I thought that if I was going to do this, I might as well keep close to the Orthodox aesthetic and use an Orthodox crucifix. Also, in order to facilitate the dual use of this prayer rope, I added wooden beads after every ten knots.
That's it for the introduction. Time to Show My Work:
The Orthodox crucifix has something in Russian inscribed on the back: Consulting the Wikipedia page on the Russian Alphabet, my reconstruction of it is "Спасии Сохрани." Based on this online discussion, the meaning of the words seems to be something like "Save and Preserve"