Indus Tree Crafts Foundation


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Skills / techniques

Rope making

Rope making is one of the most basic skill for converting any linear material into a usable stage. Rope is a length of fibers, twisted or braided together to improve strength, for pulling and connecting. It has tensile strength but is too flexible to provide compressive strength. It is practiced in most of the craft pockets. Ropes can be made by two methods viz., hand spinning and machine spinning.

Materials like banana bark, korai, screwpine, mova grass, sabai, chamba, etc. are soaked in water for sometime and then spliced. Two or more strands of the spliced material are taken and rolled between the palms. The material is twisted in only one direction thus obtaining a ‘S-twist’ or a ‘Z-twist’. For fibres like banana, sisal, coir, jute, etc. soaking is not required. A combination of material is also done for variations.


Rope / yarn making by hand

The usual practice in hand spinning is to roll the bark into short length of 16 to 19 inches, giving a clock-wise twist by hands. When a sufficient quantity has been made, two of these short lengths are taken in hand together and made into yarn of two plies by giving a counter twist, using both palms. When the counter twist reaches near the end of the striking, further pieces of short lengths kept ready are added one after other, while the counter twist by hand is continued till the required length of yarn for a knot is reached. This is reeled in the form of a hank and a knot is made at the end. Handspun yarn always has a soft twist.



Step by step procedure to make banana yarn

From top (clock wise)

1. Artisan removing pith from the banana bark after wetting the banana bark for 5-10 mins.

2. Banana bark after removing the pith

3. It will be spliced in even sizes and the artisan making rope by hand.

4. The hand made banana yarn.


Sisal rope making



Rope / yarn making by machine

Machine spinning is a technique adopted by the artisans for faster production. It involves a very simple mechanism, consisting of cycle wheel with hooks fixed on them and a handle to rotate the wheel. 


Step by step procedure for Banana rope 

1. Layers of Banana bark will be taken out from the stem, keep it for drying. After drying store the raw material.

2. Wet the dried bark in water and remove the pith from the bark, and splice it into even sizes to get same thickness of the rope.

3. Spliced Banana bark will be taken to the ratt machine, on the hook tie it and spin the wheel gently.

4. After rotating the wheel in the ratt machine, the banana bark also gets rotated it will be twisted and it becomes rope. It will be joined with another banana bark to get the continuous rope.

5. This rope becomes single ply rope. If two single ply ropes are produced and joined together using ratt machine is called as double-ply rope.

The same procedure can be used for natural fibres to convert to ropes. 




Crochet work, form of knitting done with a hook, by means of which loops of thread or yarn are drawn through other, preceding loops. It is one of the most widely used knitting techniques and is easy to learn. Crochet with banana bark rope was taught women's this was perceived as most feasible way of transforming threads and ropes into different products. Crochet stitches are all based on the chain or single crochet, i.e., a single loop. In double crochet the thread is thrown once about the hook before the loop is drawn. All other stitches and patterns are merely varying combinations of the single or double loop.


Braiding is another important skill used in many pockets. Fancy braids are created and then products like hats, boxes, bags, etc. are made. They are also used to make bag handles. Commonly the plait braid, the four-strand braid, the hexagon-braid are used. Flat materials like palm leaf, screw pine, banana bark, etc. are used for braiding.






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