Hemp fibre is a long, strong and absorbent material that is ideal for twining. Its anti-mildew and antimicrobial properties are also superb qualities for twine. This quality twining fibre is obtained when the plant begins to flower. A retting process removes the longest strands form the woody centre of the stalk and frees them for twining. Hemp, a cannabis sativa L. variety, has long been an important twine- and ropemaking plant.
- Skill level:
Ret the hemp plant matter to loosen the outer bast fibres from the inner core. Dew retting is accomplished by leaving the hemp in the field to allow natural bacteria and humidity to work on the stalks. This can also be done by water or chemical retting.
Pull and separate some of the longer outer fibres from the hemp stalk and rub them between your palms to remove any refuse.
Take a few strands and hold them between your left hand thumb and fingers.
Take one strand and twirl it clockwise, away from your body.
Bring this strand toward your body, still taut, and put it over and then under the other fibre.
Hold this cord tight at the spot where the two strands cross and repeat the twirling action with the other hemp strand.
Continue in this manner until the entire length of the fibres is twisted into cordage.
Tips and warnings
- These instructions are for right-handed people; reverse them if you are left handed.
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