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Tips & Techniques


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Tips & Technique

When making curls on a basket use a pencil or dowel or dowel rod to keep the curls the same size.

If clamps or ties leave marks or indentations on the rim, wet a sponge and dab the marks. The wet reed will swell and should raise or minimize the indentions

Every coil of reed has some spoke reed and some weaver reed. The spoke reed is the thicker reed, while the weaver reed is the thinner reed. When cutting spokes, make sure you use the thinner reed for weaving and thicker reed for your spokes.

Round Nose PlierRound Nose Plier

To fold round reed without breaking it, pinch it with our round nose plier then bend the reed over.

If you are having trouble inserting your spokes while folding and tucking at the top of the basket, cut the spokes at a diagonal to form a point.

Rub pencil marks off from reed with your fingertip while the reed is wet.

Spoke Weight

Using a spoke weight will help you manage weaving your base. They hold down the curving reed and keep your horizontal spokes from moving when you are weaving in your vertical spokes. Also to get your basket base square, correctly sized, and evenly spaced with the zero center mark and converse increments.

Wipe soaked, dyed reed with a paper towel or old towel before weaving with it to help prevent bleeding. If you get bleeding - touch up the natural reed by carefully using a Q-tip soaked in bleach.

Basket Weaving Glossary
Base--Bottom of a basket.
Stakes--These are the foundation of a square or rectangular basket. They help form the base and then go up the sides of the basket vertically.
Spokes--These are the foundation of a round or oval basket. They also then go up the sides of the round basket vertically.
Ribs--The skeleton frame in a ribbed basket that weavers are woven on.
Weaver--This is what goes horizontally around the sides of the basket.
Twining--This is done with round reed. It is a half twist in the round reed and is created with either two separate strands, or one strand that has been bent in half.
Packing--Packing is pushing the weavers tightly together as they are woven up the sides of the basket.
Splicing--Splicing is when you run out of a weaver before you are finished so you need an additional piece of weaver to complete the row or basket.
Upsetting the Basket--This is when the base is woven and you bend up the stakes or spokes so that you may begin working on the sides of your basket.
Cut and Tuck or Cutting and Tucking--When finished weaving the sides, you cut the stakes or spokes that are on the inside of the basket flush with your top row of weaving. The stakes or spokes that are on the outside of the basket get folded to the inside and tucked behind a weaver to hide the ends.
Basket Hairs--The splintery looking things on the rought (wrong) side of reed. These are cut or singed off when the basket is completed.
Rim Row--The top row of weaving. This is typically hidden under the rim.
Rim--Typically 2 pieces of reed that are slightly wider than the rim row. These pieces sandwitch nd cover the rim row and are placed even with the bottom edge of the rim row.
Rim Filler--Something that goes on top of the rim row and is sandwiched between the two rim pieces. Often this is seagrass or round reed.
Lashing--This is the material that holds the rim and rim filler in place.
Shaping--Using your weaver to make the spokes or stakes flare out or pull in.

Fall is the time of the year to be collecting Black Walnuts to make your basketry dye! You will need the following items: Approximately 100 whole black walnuts, tied in a pillowcase, 1 30-gallon plastic garbage canand water.
1. Place the walnuts in a pillowcase or similar sack. Tie the pillowcase with a thin rope, leaving the rope long enough to drape outside of the garbage can.

2. Put the sack of walnuts in the garbage can (from here on referred to as the dye pot).

3. Fill with water to within 4-6 inches of the top of the dye pot.

4. Let it steep until the dye achieves the desired color.

5.The dye will keep for 6-12 months, depending on weather the condition.

Please note: If you use boiling water, your dye will develop a lovely, warm color almost immediately. Within a couple of weeks, the dye will also develop a very strong and unpeasant ordor. A basket dyed in this brew will require a good airing in sunlight and fesh air before coming in the house.

When walnut hull stain has dried, I spray it with Old English Lemon Oil (you have to put it in your own spray bottle). It really brightens everything up and dries nicely. It does wonders for the hardwood handles and other parts that tend to look "dry and old."

To figure out how many spokes to put into
a basket with a wood base

  1. Measure the circumference of the base.
  2. Multiply by .25 (for 1/4" space between spokes) and round this off to the next highest number (ex: 6.25 becomes 7).
  3. Subtract this number from the circumference and divide the balance by the width of the reed for the spokes (ex: 1/2" = .5).
  4. Remember, you want to have an even number of spokes for start stop weaving, odd number for continuous weave so you may have to subtract or add one spoke from your total.

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