Did anyone pick up the article on this in The Australian recently in Philip Adams’ column on ‘The feminists of prehistory’.
To be able to ply a length of string weave a basket or mend a hole in a sock is an honourable achievement.
I have a wonderful book on basketry of the world. A huge range of materials are used to make baskets. They are surprisingly durable and certainly very useful.
Rope and string too are precious commodities (although I must admit to a love of cable ties!). Skills at tying good knots is another precious art. John is expert at truckies’ ties and butterfly knots and they come in useful time after time.
Do you keep a store of rope and string? Save bits?
Making string from discarded clothing is pretty good as a form of meditation apparently done by twisting a folded narrow strip of material back and forth in opposing directions. Can’t visualise it!
Here are some links:
[url=http://www.mac.asn.au/string_making.htm]Making bow strings[/url]
[url=http://www.wikihow.com/Make-String-from-Natural-Sources]How to make string from natural sources[/url] ([url=http://www.wikihow.com]WikiHow[/url])
The actual technique of string making whereby you twist two bundles in the same direction and twist the two bundles together in the opposite direction is something that every archaeologist should try for themselves. Use sinew vegetable fiber or whatever.
Once you see how easy it is and play with some raw fiber with an eye to use it you will feel that the process must have been done very early on. It is far simpler and more intuitive than even flintknapping.
[url=http://archaeology.about.com/b/2009/01/13/making-string-in-prehistory.htm]Making string in prehistory[/url]
How to Make Cordage
Reverse-Wrapping String from Plant Materials
* Peel Bark
For hollow stems like dogbane and milkweed lay the stalks on the ground and step on them to crack them in half lengthwise. Separate the two halves with your hands. Now take each half bend it in the middle and peel off sections of pith leaving the bark intact. For the twigs of trees such as slippery elm and basswood use a sharp knife to slit the bark and then peel the bark away from the pith. Your goal is to get the longest strips of bark possible.
* Remove Outer Bark
The inner layer of the bark is the fibrous part that gives string its strength and flexibility. The outer layer is weaker and should ideally be removed. It will tend to flake off as you work the cordage but it can get in the way and can ultimately damage the finished string with its sharp edges. If your bark is fresh and moist in the case of a tree you can peel away the outer bark but do it carefully to avoid tearing the inner bark. Dried stalks like dogbane may be rubbed between the hands to flake off most of the outer bark.
For some barks like elm and milkweed it is easier to extract the fibers when the plant is green but you must allow the inner bark to dry before rolling the cordage or the fibers will shrink leaving gaps along the string. These barks will stiffen once they are dry. They must be briefly soaked to make them flexible before peeling outer bark or rolling string.
* Reverse Wrap
Now you have some longish strips of plant fiber. From one strip separate a strand about 1/4 inch wide. Holding the strand at its midpoint with the left hand twist the fibers by rolling between your right thumb and forefinger until the strand kinks into a tiny loop. Grasp this loop with your left thumb and finger holding it so one strand extends up and to the right while the other goes down and right.
TWIST AND WRAP: Roll the upper strand so that your right thumb goes upward and your right forefinger goes downward making a small twist in the fibers. Tilt your right hand so the thumbnail faces up and the middle finger can reach down and press the lower strand against the forefinger. Then tilt your hand back again so the upper and lower strands are now reversed. Move your left thumb and finger slightly to the right to grasp the little section you just twisted and wrapped. Let go with your right hand and go back the beginning of TWIST AND WRAP above twisting the upper strand and wrapping it over the lower strand so they reverse positions. Repeat that step over and over and you will have a beautiful piece of string. For information on splicing see the blog Splicing Reverse Wrap.
Read more: http://www.suite101.com/content/how-to-make-cordage-a35134#ixzz1BFP5YxFz