Sunday, October 21, 2012

Making Yucca Cordage

This is yucca the plant that grows in the desert (or ornamentally in other areas), not the potato like root. 

So, how do you get from this:

      To this?: 

With a lot of work actually. But it's very therapeutic as far as I am concerned!

Start with a nice long leaf. This particular type of yucca is called Yucca Filamentosa which of course is also edible.. and the wood is very useful too. 

But for now, lets focus on the usefulness of the fibers. So.. the best part of this project is that you get to take a rock and beat the leaves.  You don't want to beat too hard, or you will actually damage the fibers. Just kinda.. drop the rock.. more than smash with the rock. I found a nice rock that fits well in my hand and the bottom is nice and flat. Then I use a nice piece of wood as a base. Your mission at this point is to just separate the fibers a bit. 

 After you have accomplished a nice broken up leaf (above right), you want to get the "meat" of the leaf off. (Save this stuff as it can be used as a "soap")  For this I have a scraper rock. You don't want a real sharp edge, as that might damage the fibers. You could also use the back of a knife, that's the type of edge you want. You can rinse the fibers to get some of the pulpy parts off too. You will see that your hands might get very green, but when you rinse it just comes right off, no staining. 

 At this point you can easily pull the fibers apart and see that you have stringy fibers available to you. You could make this into a rough cord the way it is if you like, 

or you can work it more to get as much of the pulp off as you can. I (of course) chose to make it into nice fine threads. In order to get it to the fine clean threads on the right, I pretty much took each fiber individually and scraped it with my fingernails.

I realized I don't have any pictures of how I actually made the cordage. I will post that step separately later :) (perhaps I will mix it in with my milkweed fiber tutorial ... I didn't forget you Sarah)

1 comment:

  1. Very impressive, sweetheart! I will be trying this with the native yuccas of central Texas.