Saturday, August 16, 2008

How to make Japanese Rice Straw Rope

Attach the beginning loops to something stable like a door knob or chair finial. The beginning must not be allowed to twist.

After establishing the base of the loop by twisting it around a few times, separate into two equal strands of fiber. The two strands are twisted in the SAME direction and made into rope by twinning in the OPPOSITE direction. This creates the tension that keeps the rope from untwisting.

You can finish off the rope with a knot, bead, or weave it back into itself. Lots of possibilities!

(If you want to reproduce the instruction image, click on the jpeg and drag it to the desktop to save. Then either print it directly (MAC) or place it into a document like Word and print the image. The jpeg will print at about 6 x 8 inches on a landscape setting. Unfortunately, the graphic program I used to make the sheet is kaput - outstripped by technology - but you could either re-draw the instructions or re-align this copy.)

You can use single strands of fiber to make a very fine rope or a grouping of strands to make this rope. In this country, raffia is the closest thing to rice straw and has the fiber strength. Check out basketry suppliers, arts & craft stores, needlework shops for sources of fiber.

Using raffia, the rope can be made of colored fibers or dyed to match a glaze. It works well on lugs, handles and as webbing on a pot. It can be used to attach a lid to a pot or loop over the top to hold a lid down. It works very well with rattan and natural twigs and wood as well. You're only limited by your imagination!

An excellent resource for a world of knots, this reprint of the original book can be found on many discount websites. I found mine in a used book store and couldn't pay for it fast enough!


Editor said...

Where do you purchase your rice straw for making rope?

Thank you.


Clay and Fiber Artist said...

You can use rafia if it is stiff. Just about any fiber that resists twisting will work as well as rice straw. Here's a test:

Take a few strands of fiber and twist it; if the strands return to the original position, it will be a good medium for making the loop.

Try to find material that has rather long strands and arrange them unevenly, adding a new piece as you go. Good luck!