Monday, November 02, 2020

Kudzu Cordage

Making twine / cordage is another thing I learned thanks to's SKIP program. It's honestly something I never considered, but it's one of the requirements for the first level textile badge, so I gave it a go. We could choose any plant material we wanted, so, like my little basket, I chose kudzu.

I chose thick kudzu vines to work with.

The first step is to pound the vine to loosen the fibers.

After a good pounding, the vines split apart easily.

I kept splitting until I had a pile of thin strips.

This is a two-handed job, but I had to use one hand to take some pictures! I started by tying off two strands to a chair. 

Each hand twists a strand in the same direction. As the
 twist builds, the strands are twisted together in the opposite
direction. This is called the 2-ply reverse method.

It's the same as twisting fringe! I just never considered doing it with natural home-sourced material.

When one of the strands gets to the end, a new strand is added by twisting the two together. 

A little further along.

I ended up with about 20 feet. 

I was happy with how easy this was to do, and not quite as boring as I might have thought. It's a useful skill and I'm thinking I'd like to try homemade cordage for basket weaving. Some day.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Dabbling in Basket Weaving

One of the places I find inspiration and ideas is They have developed an interesting permaculture merit badge program called SKIP (Skills to Inherit Property). I'm not looking to inherit property, but the program contains a lot of good skills, and I have learned a lot from. It's free and has something like 22 badges that can be earned with increasing levels of skill. It's the textile badges in particular that I'm enjoying. One of the requirements for the first level badge is to weave a basket.

I have to confess that basket weaving never much interested me. But since this was something I needed to check off the list, I was willing to give it a try. The basket didn't have to be large (4-inches wide and 3-inches tall), but the materials had to be naturally sourced. I chose kudzu vines. because kudzu grows so readily here, 

My goats trimmed all the kudzu leaves for me.

Then I cut a bunch of young, pliable vines.

The heaviest vines were cut and tied together at their middles to create the spokes of the basket.

The smaller vines were used for weaving the bottom and sides of the basket. It was a little awkward to get started, but by pushing the spokes around, i could shape the basket. 

The weaving for my project was a simple plain weave, working the vine over one spoke and under the next. To finish the top edge, I wound the vine around each spoke, then tucked the end in and trimmed off the end of the spokes.

The finished basket met the requirements and is functional!

It's not perfect, but for a first go, I'm pleased. And yes, I will definitely be doing this again.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Sad State of Affairs

I've taken my fiber journal temporarily offline. It seems that a weaving teacher helped herself to some of my images without asking and has been using them in her workshops. But the internet makes for a small world, doesn't it?

I've always been more than willing to share with anyone who has the courtesy to ask, but taking without asking is not just discourteous, it's disrespectful. I know it may be a surprise to many folks, but just because something is on the internet doesn't mean it's free for the taking. It has copyright protection.  Unless it is specifically stated to be public domain or has been granted a Creative Commons Copyright licenseeverything on the internet belongs to somebody. That means that without the explicit permission of the copyright holder, the use thereof is legally considered theft.

I'm not that hard to get ahold of. "View my complete profile" is easily visible on my right sidebar. My email address is on my profile page and I'm contacted that way regularly. It is current and still in use. Failing that, a comment on the blog seeking to ask a question could be a last measure. Just because a blog hasn't been updated in awhile doesn't mean the blog owner doesn't still get notifications and comments.

As it stands now, this teacher was given an alternate way to contact me. I'm going to wait and see if she has the integrity to do so.