We have few coconut palm trees in our home garden. From time to time I used to prune few old fronds and also part of some which obstruct the path way. I always thought of making something useful from the fronds instead of throwing them out.
The Hats and Headpieces Challenge gave me an idea to make a Hat from the coconut fronds. I have never woven a hat using coconut fronds. My search on the web led to few youtube videos where professional weavers made some amazing looking headpieces using coconut fronds. At first it was very confusing. I repeatedly watched those videos many times, practised with few coconut fronds and finally made this hat. This may not be as good looking as those woven by professional hat makers, but it is a craft I have learned on the way.
For weaving the coconut palm hat, you need fresh fronds harvested from the tree. The middle portion of the frond is best suited for weaving. If you cut a whole frond from a tree, you can make about 4 to 6 portions for weaving the hat. Make sure each portion consists of about 22 to 24 leaflets.
Here I have harvested two portions of fronds, each containing about 25 leaflets on each side, from our coconut tree in the home garden. I can split these two into halves and will have four fronds for weaving the hat.
Initially I tried weaving the hat from freshly harvested coconut fronds, but the leaf sticks broke in many places, unsuitable to continue the crown. Please see the first picture here. After weaving a beautiful rim, I had to discard the piece due to broken sticks.
If you look at the circular frond carefully, you will see that the leaflets are slightly turned towards the left in a clockwise direction. The leaflets from other portion of the frond split from this one will run in the opposite direction, that is in the anti-clockwise direction. You will start weaving the hat towards the direction of the leaflets.For easy understanding of weaving the rim, I have numbered the leaflets from 01 to 17 in the clockwise direction as you can see in the first picture.Now take the Number 01 leaf, pass it below the Number 02 leaf, pass above Number 03 and finally pass below the Number 04 leaf. Do not weave very tight, make it slack.Now the Number 01 leaf will be below the circle. Hold it firmly with your left hand.Follow the same procedure with the Number 02 leaf, that is below Number 03, above number 04 and below Number 05.Repeat the same procedure with all leaflets up to Number 15, which passes below 16, above 17 and below Number 01 leaflet. You can see this exactly in the last picture with the numbers marked on each leaflet.
You can see the completed hat from coconut fronds in the above pictures. I made two of them. These hats are rather stylish to wear during your outing but will also protect you from the sunlight. They can be stored and used for a very long time for more than two to three years. The only thing is that the leaflets will dry and turn from green to brown in colour.
It took me about 10 days to learn the basics of weaving the hat from coconut fronds. The half-done things you see in above photographs are my repeated efforts in learning. There are few videos available in youtube but most of them are done by professional weavers. I had watched those videos repeatedly and admired the way professional hat makers weave a hat in less than half an hour. Now I could weave a hat with coconut fronds in about two hours, but the quality and look may not be same as done by professionals.
In this instructable I have explained the basics involved in weaving the hat from coconut fronds in easy to follow steps. Wear it when you go out and it is sure to make heads turn to admire the headpiece.
Basketry exists throughout the Indian subcontinent. Since palms are found in the south, basket weaving with this material has a long tradition in Tamil Nadu and surrounding states.
Chinese bamboo weaving, Taiwanese bamboo weaving, Japanese bamboo weaving and Korean bamboo weaving go back centuries. Bamboo is the prime material for making all sorts of baskets, since it is the main material that is available and suitable for basketry. Other materials that may be used are ratan and hemp palm.
Wolof baskets are a coil basket created by the Wolof tribe of Senegal. These baskets is considered a women's craft, which have been passed across generations. The Wolof baskets were traditionally made by using thin cuts of palm frond and a thick grass called njodax; however contemporary Wolof baskets often incorporate plastic as a replacement for the palm fronds and/or re-use of discarded prayer mat materials. These baskets are strong and used for laundry hampers, planters, bowls, rugs, and more.
Plants and trees provide other superb examples of fibrous structures. In many cases, the fibres are arranged or oriented in a particular manner to impart desired mechanical properties to the structure. A good example is the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera, Linn.) tree. The coir fibre derived from its seed husk is well-known and used in floor coverings, mattress fillings and others. Among other fibres found on a coconut palm, the layers of fibrous sheets in the leaf-sheath (base of the leaf stalk attached to the tree trunk) with fibres in the alternating sheets oriented nearly orthogonal to each other appear to be already in a woven structure  (figure 1). Interestingly, the leaf-sheath consists of three distinct types of multicellular fibres made of mostly cellulose and lignin arranged in a highly ordered structure. The mechanical properties of these three types of leaf-sheath fibres are vastly different from each other .
There is ample evidence to suggest that our ancestors looked to nature for inspiration to conceive new materials and devices long before the term biomimetic (and similar phrases) was coined. It is unclear what inspired prehistoric humans to invent the processes (i.e. spinning, weaving, etc.) to assemble fibres into clothing; it may have been an orthogonally interlaced thin and flexible biological structure like the coconut leaf sheath, or the nest of a weaver bird, or it may have been an invention of a contemporary genius. The fundamental practice of prehistoric humans to produce textiles from natural fibres has evolved into a vast array of modern energy- and resource-intensive technologies to make high-performance fibres and manipulate these fibres into complex textile structures for applications in civil construction, filtration, healthcare, etc., in addition to clothing.
Palm leaves usually are assembled in a rosette at the end of the stem. Each leaf consists of a sheath, a petiole, and a lamina which in turn is made up of a midvein (rachis) and several leaflets (pinnae). In some palms (Cocos, Elaeis, Phoenix, Raphia), the midvein is elongate and has several leaflets that form a pinnate leaf. In other palms (Borassus, Hyphaene), the rachis is reduced and all leaflets radiate from a single point to form a palmate lamina . The uses mentioned below either refer to whole palm leaves or to leaflets, which are dried and used for weaving. In some cases fibers are extracted from the leaflets and used for weaving.
Disorders of the reproductive system that fail to respond to rational therapy are often explained by witchcraft or broken taboos [7, 47]. In Nigeria, to prevent miscarriage Yoruba people used to roast a tortoise with coconut water and half a bottle of palm oil from Elaeis guineensis, after which the mixture was ground to powder . The powder was consumed in a corn flour pudding, taken every morning and evening during one menstrual period, followed by sexual intercourse five days after finishing menstruating. The Yoruba saw the tortoise as a symbol for a prostitute, which might signify that when a woman suffered miscarriage it could be due to committed adultery or a broken taboo . Sex taboos in particular were often used as an explanation for the occurrence of a disease [45, 48]. For the treatment of malaria, the Yoruba used start the ritual with two rings painted on the neck, one with shea butter (Vitellaria paradoxa), and another with Elaies guineensis oil .
In Madagascar Cocos nucifera and Dypsis canaliculata are still planted at sacred places by the Betsimisaraka people . The Wanaka of East Africa believed that the coconut palm has a spirit, and destruction of this tree is equivalent to matricide because the coconut tree gives people nourishment, as a mother nourishes her child .
Palm fronds and fibers may be used for roof thatching, mat weaving and basket making. The bark can be used as a flooring material and the hard outer trunk is used for construction. In addition, the starch is used to feed pigs, as an ingredient in paper and to treat textiles, while the starch-sugar extract can be transformed into biofuel. 2b1af7f3a8