Monday, February 25, 2013

Third Basket

My third basket for the Texas Basket Weaver's Association was called Sonora taught by Marcia Balleweg. Sadly, I failed to get a photo of Marcia. She was a patient and attentive teacher, just what I like best so the class went very well for me. The basket started with 54 stakes of round reed placed in a slotted wooden base.

Beginning of Sonora

In the beginning it feels a little like a giant unwieldy spider that's hard to hold on to. Once all the stakes were placed there were two rows of 'triple weave' done with 3 weavers. After that it was just a plain over 1/under 1 weave to the top of the basket. I got so involved with this basket that I forgot to take a few pics here and there. I did get shots of folks around me though. Go figure. Do check out the teeny little basket necklace this lady is wearing. Those teeny baskets take a lot of patience and perseverance to weave!

Plain weave to the top

During the plain over/under weave it was important to pay attention to shaping. Ideally it would be about 6" in diameter at 2 1/2" from the base and then we were aiming for 5" in diameter at 5" up from the base. At the top we used the spokes to make a woven rim. Then we started weaving down the basket to make a double walled basket. Twice the work for ONE basket!!

Woven rim on Sonora

Now for some fun stuff. On the way down the outside we started with 6 rows of triple weave in a colored reed. I chose rust. (Is it bad to be so predictable? Nah!)  After the 6 rows of colored reed we started French randing with 27 pieces of cane. Don't ask me how it got to be called French randing. I have NO idea. When I googled it I got things like French fries, French toast and French kiss. Whatever.

French randing along with the colored reed

As you can see French randing goes in at an angle. It feels pretty weird to do at first. In the middle of the French randing there are 3 more rows of triple twining.

Maintaining basket shape

As the weaving progressed on the outside of the basket it became very important to pull the stakes back in to maintain the shape of the first basket wall. It helped a lot to tie up all the stakes into a sort of tepee effect. This is one of my fellow weavers in class. After the second section of French randing it was back to colored reed and more triple weave to the bottom of the basket which was then finished off with a woven rim. Marcia helped me modify the rim on my basket to make it actually be the foot as the basket sat a little off kilter on the base. Thanks for helping me fudge the outcome Marcia!!

Outside and Inside of Sonora

Ta Da!! Sonora is done!


Friday, February 8, 2013

Second Basket

Well, I got a little side-tracked since my last post. I wasn't feeling well (allergies hit me) and then we got news that our youngest daughter, all the way over in Japan, went into the hospital. Feeling a little sick AND being worried sick does not add up to any sort of blogging! Thankfully, she is much better now so here we go on basket #2 from the conference in January.

My second basket was called Oval Sampler designed by Debbie Hurd who was also my teacher for the Tidal Wave basket ( ) and again I must say that Debbie is an excellent teacher. Here we go with the beginnings of the basket on an oval wooden base....56 stakes inserted and weaving begun.

Beginnings of Oval Sampler

Getting those stakes to turn up at the beginning is a real challenge and is a constant battle for the first few rows of any basket. It's called 'upsetting' the stakes. I'm not sure of the origin of the term 'upsett' but there you go. One must be tough and just really let the reed know where it has to go! In this instance size is important because there is a handle that much fit the basket in the end. We had a choice of colors and I remained trued to those more earthy tones....

Stakes upsett at last 

Tidal Wave from the day before was woven over one, under two. Oval Sampler is over two, under two. It was hard to switch gears and I had to unweave and correct several times. I don't switch gears easily at all. VERY frustrating!!

Twining and French randing

I got so involved in my weaving that I forgot to take more photos of the progression. After the first bit of colored reed we switched to natural reed. This section has a row of triple twining, reverse triple twining, French randing, 4-rod wale, French randing, triple twining and reverse triple twining. You can see how I forgot about the camera! Triple twining uses three lengths of reed at the same time. By alternating the pieces you get that nice twisted bit just above the green reed. Then by twining under rather than over that nice 'arrow' design appears. This was repeated at the top which is really the same size as the first two rows of twining but the camera was a bit tilted. Oops. The center twisted bit is four lengths of reed twined together. That makes the twist a bit thicker but it is really accomplished in much the same manner as the triple twining. Now the French randing is another story altogether! Here's a photo of the inside of the French randing.

French randing from the back

If you look closely you will see that the weaving is actually short lengths at an angle. Each piece begins in front of one stake then under, over, under and ends in front of the fifth stake. That leaves a cut end behind every stake top and bottom but it looks really neat on the outside of the basket! 8^) The twining is important here because it helps lock the randing into place and keeps the basket a bit more sturdy. Next another section of color and then a 4-rod wale edge which was all new to me. Here I'm working on the second row of 4-rod wale.

4-rod wale edging

After that every other stake was cut away at the top and those left were tucked to the inside of the basket. The handle was inserted on each end. Yea!! It fits!

Handle inserted

An inner rim lashed to the basket holds the handle into place and poof! another basket is done! It only took all morning, all afternoon and into the first bit of the evening to make the whole thing. Next time you look at a basket don't assume it's as simple as it looks!!

Oval Sampler

At this point my hands were starting to feel pretty raw. In the shower the next morning it really stung when the water hit my hands. Bring on the lotion, a LOT of lotion, because there is more weaving to do!