About this blogger:
Veronica Brandt holds a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering. As editor, she has produced fine publications (as well as valuable reprints) dealing with Gregorian chant, hymnody, Latin, and other subjects. These publications are distinguished on account of their tastefulness. She lives in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her husband Peter and six children.
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Why do we never sing “De Spiritu Sancto” (St. Athenogenes) in our churches? There are a dozen translations in English verse. Where could anyone find a better evening hymn than this, coming right down from the catacombs? Our hymnbooks know nothing of such a treasure as this, and give us pages of poor sentiment in doggerel lines by some tenth-rate modern versifier.
— Rev’d Adrian Fortescue (d. 1923)

Towards a Standard Protocol for Frayed Ribbons
published 17 February 2018 by Veronica Brandt

Frayed ribbons braided APERBACK MISSALS are not the ideal. The paper is fairly easy to tear and they don’t lay flat, but they were cheap and simpler to have produced than, say, the Campion Missal. Also, producing our own books meant the freedom to customize for our particular congregation. Overall it was good.

The ribbons were added last. The best part was finding someone else enthusiastic enough to take on the job. Seeing the fiddliness of the work I was all for using the plethora of holy cards that tends to accumulate in Catholic places. A great way to keep your place with bonus artwork and prayers. But the ribbons won out and it wasn’t too long before they started to fray.

To deal with frayed ribbons:

  • Replace ribbons
  • Remove ribbons and use bookmarks
  • Knot small frayed ends
  • Braid longer frayed ends and then knot


  • Various clear drying varnishes or glues
  • Trimming ends diagonally
  • Cutting with a hot knife to melt the ends slightly
  • Sewing ends into a mitred point or curl

I am interested to see if trimming the surviving ribbons diagonally is feasible. In the meantime I will continue to tie knots in frays as I see them.

Soldering iron Here is a soldering iron with a chisel tip. It does indeed cut polyester ribbon and seal the edge. The edge of the ribbon can blacken if you hold the iron there too long, but with practice you could minimize that.

Imagine me setting this up by the organ at the back of the church, trimming all the ribbon ends. Just keep the little children away for a while – that soldering iron is hot!