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Preparing Dogbane        for Cordage

Image Used With Permission of Karl Holte

Preparing dogbane for cordage was an important process. If the material was not properly prepared then the cordage could not be tightly twined into a sturdy cordage.

Dogbane Preparation

1. In the late fall or early winter dogbane with tall straight stalks was     located and gathered.

2. A sharp tool or knife was used to carefully scrape off
    the thin, red bark.

3. The stalk was cracked open between thumbs and fingers almost
    to the end. A few inches were left uncracked to use as a
    handle to keep fibers from tangling.

4. To loosen the fibers from the stalk one half of the stalk was
     placed with the pithy inside against the wrist. The pith was
     broken into short sections.

5. The same was done with the second side of the stalk.

6. The bits of pith were removed from the fibers by shaking the
    fibers and scraping them with fingernails.

7. The fibers were gently rubbed to separate them from each other.

  The fibers were ready to be twined into cordage.

Note: This process was also followed in the preparation of milkweed.

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