Earlier this year, Warhog blogged about wrapping his lamp post with paracord, done with a series of half hitches. Here, I've done the same thing on a small table lamp, using CoolGlowStuff! cord. I think I used about 7 feet of cord for the covered section.
An online example of making the series of half hitches can be seen in this book preview. The hitches can be kept in line, or twisted as you go for the spiral pattern.