Fiber Craft · Garden · How-To

How I Made Rope ala Dr. Seuss

It started, as many things do, with a completely separate project. Well. In this case, several projects. They colluded, I tell you!

First, it was the bread’s fault. With apparently the rest of the world, I rediscovered sourdough starter. In my case, in the back of my fridge and was able to resurrect it into a functioning colony of bacteria and yeast. I didn’t do this because I have copious time on my hands with which to experiment with all sorts of beautiful and tasty breads – oh no. The fact that all four members of my family are home for three square meals, seven days a week, means that we go through bread faster than my dog can eat a stolen muffin. Or the toddler, for that matter.

Bruce before he was reanimated and became ZOMBIE BRUCE!

So I start making bread, and since my herb garden grows without much input from me, I decided to add some rosemary to a recent loaf. The internet says the herbs should dry for a day or two. BUT INTERNET, WHERE WILL I HANG THEM?? I obviously need a spice drying rack in my kitchen and I know the exact place I could put it and I have these dowels right here so this will be great, right?

I know, it’s perfect, right?! (Yes, this is a picture of a blank wall, you aren’t missing the point)

I get the dowels together and think about how I want to hang this thing up on the wall. I need some space in between the wall and the dowels so the herbs don’t rest flush against the wall, but I don’t want to use cup hooks. This wall is lath and plaster and it would be a mess. I could use some thicker twine or… or… I could MAKE the appropriately thickness cord! AHA!

This is where the other project was in on it: the Great Tidying of The Attic Vol. 5? 6? 84? I’ve lost count. Anyway, years ago when I put my loom together there was an old warp still on it. I took the threads off in sections and set them aside for some unknown future purpose. Well, in my most recent Sisyphean attempt at taming the attic, I came across them and resolved to let them go, once and for all. And then the above happened the next day and hey, those warp threads could make good rope! Conspiracy, I tell you, conspiracy!

So much potential! They just need the right project. And witness protection from certain kittens.

And so I began my rope making adventure. Braiding a four strand (name of rope here) is not hard, but it’s not simple either. It works best when the rope is held taught, and I like to use the weight of the unused threads as a way to balance the tension. However, when you live with two small people and three cats, one must get …creative… with how you accomplish this.

Back off, Odin. That is MINE.

After a week, I felt like that guy from Green Eggs and Ham. I braided using my toes, a drawer, a book, a door. I braided standing up, sitting on the ground, outside, upside down. Whenever and wherever I could, really. I fended off kittens, toddlers, and well-meaning four-year-olds. And finally, I had a ROPE!

You thought I was kidding about the upside down? Ha!

Now to assemble this masterpiece of DIY-ness. I like the look the of the inverted triangle shape, plus that means that the place with the most herbs will be the farthest away from a certain toddler in his highchair. I tie the rope on the ends to make a shallow V for the hanging on the top (hey, only one nail in the wall means one hole in the plaster AND I don’t have to use a level! Score!). With the lower levels, I tie the rope to be essentially vertical. Now to add the herbs and hope it doesn’t fall off the wall. If it does, I’ll probably end up with two more projects and who knows what I’ll be trying to make while upside down next…

Ta-da! I’ve made an herb drying …mobile?

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