Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Making Kudzu Rope with a Drop Spindle

Remember back in the day when Bort came over and showed me how to make natural rope from the Yucca plant in my yard.... (probably not cause that was soooo winter 2009, check it out here.)
Yesterday he came over with a hand made Drop Spindle he carved from wood and weighted down with clay, and showed me how he used it to make rope from kudzu vines!
*
FIRST STEP - He took the kudzu vine and bash-n-smashed it between two pieces of wood to separate the fibers (see top pic). Then it made it easy to peel away the strong outer layer used for making the rope. (On the really young vines the inner layer was too soft.)
SPINNING IT :::::
Take the piece of plant fiber/string and hook the center of it to the spindle, folding it over into two pieces...
...then begin twisting it tightly, holding strong tension so that it doesn't fold in on itself....
as you go along, you add in pieces to the twisting, just kinda stick them in there and make sure they get caught up in the twisting. Put them in long before the piece you were working with is going to run out...
If you are doing this project alone (which most the time I am!) then it's best not to make it longer then your arms length for each section, that way you can still hold the tension when you have to remove the first length of twisted kudzu....
PULL the twisted rope off the hook at the end while holding the tension --- you can use both hands, another person, or like Bort, ya TeeTh! After you pull one end off the hook wrap it around the spindle in order to make room for the next section of rope....
...wrap it close to the end you were working on, then double wrap that end to the hook again and start the process over... this is how you get the rop to be longer, and longer and longer.....
(BTW- your arms will be hurtin'!)
I took a turn to make the next length of rope on the drop spindle and then once it was the length I wanted and I was ready to move onto the next step, I tied a knot in the end I had been working on. STILL holding the tension.
Take the knotted end and tie it to something (especially if you don't have someone there to help you!) .....
WHile holding the tension TIGHT unwind the rope that is wrapped around the spindle, and make sure when you get to the end you are holding that end piece tight also ( I accidentally let it drop and it lost some of it's tight quality).
Hold the tension tight, and find the center of the rope....
THEN the MAGic ::::::
Fold it in half at the center, let go, and watch it twist onto itself!!!
Pretty freakin' rad? yes?!!
There is something primal and fulfilling about knowing how to make your own rope... F the Home Depot type stores, there is plenty invasive Kudzu on the side of the road!
PS- I thought about making a rope halter for JuJu my donkey out of the kudzu rope but she likes to eat it. :))))
Xoxox

4 comments:

Joan said...

You are wonderful! What a breath of fresh air you are! You remind me how to live.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Thanks Joan!
doing stuff natural and DIY is a breath of fesh air. Literally. ;)

Bort said...

wait a sec.whos wonderful,Me(Bort)or leslie or both?

Marty said...

Thank you. I am looking forward to making my own kudzu rope this summer :)