This is the original creating cordage post that would never cooperate with me:
My Appalachian Arts students and I have been making cordage the last couple of days. We used materials and techniques traditional to the Cherokee Indians of this area. Some of the boys gathered tulip poplar bark from a local log yard and I brought in yucca leaves. Strips of the inner bark were pulled away from the outer bark and the pulp was scraped away (we used a plastic knife) from the yucca. We worked with the yucca raw the first day and then we simmered it for a couple of days and tried it again. The pulp was somewhat easier to scrape away, but I'm not sure it was worth the time spent. We spun the fibers until they started to ply themselves and then continued to apply twist to each end of the resulting cord and plied by hand when a couple of inches had been spun. We spun in one direction and the plied in the other (for you spinners, spin either "s" or "z" and then ply in the opposite direction). The resulting cords were very strong and attractive; the poplar was a nice choclatey brown and the yucca a beautiful soft sage green. The cords were made into bracelets by threading a bead onto them and them putting a knot behind the bead. The beginning loop serves as a buttonhole for the bead. Everyone loved them and the kids made them for friends and teachers. I wound up having to teach my other classes to make them too.