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Thing-a-Day – January 2 – daylily cordage

January 2, 2015

Day 2 of the Thing-a-Day Challenge

Materials: dried daylily leaves

Keep it simple!!  I am always – ALWAYS – trying to do too much.

I had hoped to make a basket today.

I have some great dried (overwintered) daylily leaves from my garden, easily 10 years old, that have been (again) sitting in my basement waiting to be used.  Over the years, I have thrown some chopped up bits into flax paper pulp occasionally (makes a nice particle-board texture), but that will never use this stuff up.  “Finally!” I thought, “I will use it to make a basket!”

daylily leaves

Here’s the problem: I am not a basket maker.  I just have always wanted to make baskets, but I have basically no experience. So, I thought I’d make a really small basket in order to make it in one day.  I realize that this is totally doable, but the leaves (which I was smart enough to soak early this morning) are pretty stringy and I didn’t like the way they looked so ragged.  Instead, I searched through some basketmaking sites online and decided to make some cordage (simply twisted/plied to make a thicker, stronger cord) to make a more substantial base material for my basket.

Daylily cordage

A few yards into it I had a revelation: Cordage is a thing, too!  I could just make the cordage today and that could be the thing for January 2.  Now that I had an excuse to stop, of course, I was determined to finish the basket as well.  But the larger point is that making one thing is enough.  It doesn’t have to be a finished, perfect thing.  It has been fun to feel the soft fiber and smell the hay-like odor of the leaves as I twist the cords.  This cordage could be useful for many other projects.  I have learned a new (very simple!) technique.  I have reused a material that could have gone in the trash (or at best the compost pile).  The lesson for today is: “Slow down and enjoy the task at hand, no matter how small.”

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