Hey Skip team! I heard cordage could be made from mallow stems at the end of the season. So here, in winter, I harvested mallow stems. I treated them like nettles, and strippedoff the leaves and outer skin. The inner pith also had to come out, as it wasn't very pliable. The resulting fibers were usable! So I made all the twine I could from not-frlzen mallow I could find. It took 4 hours, and made about 8 feet.
Then I made simple twine from a natural, thin cordage I had lying around. I'm getting better at twisting the right directions! Here are about 18-inch diameter loops, making about 16 feet.
This was a blast! I’ve never done any cordage or basket weaving, but I got inspired last summer and dried a bunch of stuff from the garden to try and learn this winter. First lesson: wild iris leaves are waaaaay too splitty. Garlic leaves and stems worked much better.
Process: soaked dried stems and leaves in a 5 gallon bucket while I did the dishes (~20 minutes)
Squished the stems with a rolling pin and peeled off sheets of fiber
Used the twist-and-pinch method
Results: 21+ feet of garlic twine. The stem portions produced a surprisingly stretchy, flexible cord. The leaf segments are also strong but lack give. Was a lot easier to work with though!
ETA: in case it isn’t clear from the photos, the yardstick shots are one continuous 21 ft length, I’ve just photographed the front and back of the yardstick separately.
After looking for nettle all last spring, I recently discovered a huge patch right by my community garden. Time to make some twine!
First I stripped off all the leaves from the nettle.
Then I broke the stems with the pestle from my mortar and pestle.
From there, I peeled off the outer skin and made 4-5 strips.
With two of the strips, I twined them around each other and slowly wove in more strips as I reached the end, crushing and peeling more nettle as I needed it until I was done.
I may have gone a bit overboard on how much I collected, because this ended up making about 35 feet (For the last two pics, I have 13 loops next to ruler. Each long side of the loop is 12 inches, and the top and bottom curves are around 3 inches, that's around 30 inches per loop, so around 390 inches or 32.5 feet total)
*corrected # of loops and subsequent math
"We are not destructive by nature but by habit" - Neal Spackman
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Going from raw materials from the garden was fun (and extra motivating since I'm out of the state for a month and won't have access to blackberry vines for a while.)
I stripped the vines of their leaves, then ran my leather gloves over the vines to take off all the sharp thorn points.
Then I bashed each branch with a stone to loosen the fibers from the pith.
I stripped the fibers off.
Then I ran a knife over the fibers to remove the skin and warty thorn bits left.
I brought my shiz inside and then twisted the bugger together.
Had a lot more fiber than I needed. Good to know!
Here are two end result videos of the final measurement - excuse my nasty floor.
Pics below of various steps of the process and the final twine!
I volunteer with a group most Fridays and, last week, someone taught me to make 2-ply cordage/twine. I used fronds from a Cabbage Tree (Cordyline) which I split into fibers and then twisted together, 3 or more at a time, into two strands which I plied to form twine.
My twine, which I finished in about 3 sessions (a total of maybe 3 or 4 hours, it took a while!), is approximately 35 feet. I'm quite surprised that 8 fronds was able to produce such a long length.
I've not tested the strength but it feels very sturdy and I'm not able to break it by hand.
Small-holding, coppice and grassland management on a 16-acre site.