Use of the Orthodox Prayer Ropes (Komboskini)
An Orthodox prayer rope is usually black. This is the color of mourning and sorrow, and reminds Orthodox Christians to be sober and serious in their lives. Orthodox are taught that repentant prayer, especially the Jesus Prayer, can bring us what the Holy Fathers call joy-creating sorrow—in Greek "Harmolipi". We are sorry for our sins and our weakness and failings before God, our fellow men and ourselves; but in Christ, Who pours out His mercy and forgiveness on all who call upon His Name, this sorrow becomes a source of joy and comfort.
This Orthodox prayer rope is knotted from wool that has been sheared from a sheep, a reminder that we are rational sheep of the Good Shepherd, Christ the Lord, and also a reminder of the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world (see: John 1:29). The cross at one end of the prayer rope likewise speaks to us of the sacrifice and victory of life over death, of humility over pride, of self-sacrifice over selfishness, of light over darkness.
And the tassel on the prayer rope? Well, you can use it to wipe the tears away from your eyes, or, if you have no tears, to remind you to weep because you cannot weep. Also, from the Old Testament times little tassels have been a decoration for sacred vestments, a reminder of the sacred tradition in which an Orthodox Christian participates when they use the Orthodox prayer rope.
All the items is this category are made by the nuns.