Ever wanted to learn to weave a basket at home using reed? You can now do it yourself with these step-by-step directions.
What you need
1/4″ flat reed in natural
36 spokes @ 23″
18 spokes @ 27″
two rows of weavers 1/4″ flat reed dyed mauve or rose pink,
for 19 rows 3/8″ flat oval reed for rim seagrass for rim filler waxed linen for lashing
Before you measure and cut your spokes, make sure that all the reed you use is very pliable. Do not use any reed that may feel very thick. Twills weave very easily with the thinner reed. A thick piece will not slide down well and you will have a gap in your design. Dye enough reed to weave 19 rows of color.
Soak all the spokes for several minutes. Lay out all the long spokes vertically, rough side up. Mark the spoke on the far left 9″ up from the bottom. Hold in place with a spoke weight. Mark one of the remaining shorter spokes 9″ from one end on the rough side. With the marked side to the left, weave it in horizontally starting with O2, U3, O3, U3, O3 and etc. finishing with O1. Weave the base with the remaining spokes with the basic O3/U3 twill pattern. Make sure ends are even with the first woven spoke. Notice that when starting with O2, you will end with O1 and when starting with U1, you end with U2. The weaving will equal out to 3/3.
Line up the mark on the horizontal spoke (short) with the mark on the vertical spoke (long) as pictured below. Weave in the first 4 rows loosely using your spoke weight to hold the vertical reed in place. Then slide the spokes together and maintain the twill design as you continue.
Row 1 O2-U3-O3-U3-O3 and etc. ending with O1 (you just did this one)
Row 2 O3-U3-O3-U3-O3 and etc. ending with U3
Row 3 U1-O3-U3-O3-U3 and etc. ending with U2
Row 4 U2-O3-U3-O3-U3 and etc. ending with U1
Row 5 U3-O3-U3-O3-U3 and etc. ending with O3
Row 6 O1-U3-O3-U3-O3 and etc. ending with O2
Repeat these six rows until the base is completed. Check frequently to make sure you have the twill pattern in the base. It should progress like stairsteps.
Square up the base and check measurements. Soak the base for a few minutes and then bend the sides for uprighting. You are ready to weave in the design.
Use a generous number of clothespins to hold the spokes upright while weaving the first 3-4 rows of weaving. After that you may only need 1-2 clothespins per side. Only soak the dyed reed for a minute, being sure to wipe off any excess color and water before weaving. Slide each row down firmly and clip in place securely. Keep spokes at a right angle to the weavers as they tend to slant. Use a spray bottle of water to keep spokes from drying out completely. Begin and end each row at a different place working your way around the basket. This will prevent a bulkiness from forming on one area of the basket.
When finished weaving in natural, turn the basket upside-down to soak in water for a few minutes. Remove from water and adjust all spokes, pulling each one straight up and making sure all spokes are parallel. Use a Weave-Rite bent tip tool to adjust spokes.
Find an outside spoke to fold, trim and tuck to the inside of the basket. You only have to tuck one of each outside trio (every 6th spoke going around the rim). Cut all other spokes even with the top of the basket, being careful not to cut them too short.
Soak the 3/8ý flat oval rim pieces. Measure to fit the rim and shave to taper the ends. Pin it to the basket with seagrass for filler. Lash with waxed linen.
DRY AND SHAPE:
Square the corners and wrap with large rubberbands; allow to dry thoroughly by turning basket upside-down for several hours. Upright the basket and use your spoke weight across the top to help level the base when drying. Trim, stain or finish.
by Laura Lee Zanger
In Honor of Margaret Elston
(my mother and breast cancer survivor)
Tested by Martha Robison
Copyright (C) 2000 Plot of Herbs
All Rights Reserved
2220 Lumpkin Rd. Augusta, GA 30906 706-560-9800