Spent Labor Day weekend cleaning and organizing the studio and finishing baskets. I completed two, and worked on a third.
Years ago, I met Shereen LaPlantz at a workshop. She encouraged us to finish or discard all our unfinished work. Said that they take up both physical and emotional space in our lives.
This year, I’m going to make a concerted effort to dig out all those unfinished projects and do something with them.
Back in the early 80’s I learned to weave from 3 Japanese books recommended to me by Jim Widess from the Caning Shop, who assured me that I could learn to weave from them, even though they were written in Japanese!
I first saw the 3 x 3 Classic twill basket above in one of these books:
These basket makers each interpreted the the 3 x 3 twill in their own way, resulting in three beautiful baskets.
You can see how color placement in both the stakes and weavers affects the look of the basket.
I’ve finished the bottom of my basket. Getting the cat head feet is the toughest part for me. In general if I have a 1 x 1 weave, it takes 4-6 rows flat on the table to turn the feet, for a 2 x 2 twill it takes 8-10 rows and the 3 x 3 twill takes 12-14 rows to get it nicely fanned out.
And now the sides are woven and waiting for a rim. The zig zag of the twill isn’t as pronounced as it was in my head!
Starting a classic 3/3 twill basket.
Years ago, when looking for an easier way to start a base when teaching beginners, I came up with this technique. I use it instead of the classic 2×2 twill base that most instructions call for.
First I sand the stakes using a green Scotch Brite Green scrubby pad. Fold the pad in half and pull each stake through the fold once or twice in each direction. Voila, most of those pesky hairs are gone.
I taught myself to weave using information and instructions from many different books. In Shereen LaPlantz’s book “Plaiting Folios” she wrote about weaving bases from the center out, stating:
The easiest way to achieve equidistant tension is to start plaiting the base in the center. Plait two elements across two elements in the over one, under one pattern. Continue plaiting the base by adding one element to each of the four sides. Continue this until the base is the desired size. Adjust your tension as you go.
That made a lot of sense to me, and I do all my bases using her center out technique. I mark the center with a piece of wire or waxed linen, to help me keep track of my place. When I’m done, it’s easy to snip out.
Although Shereen passed away years ago, many of her books are still available. Check out Amazon, or your favorite online book store. Some of her books are back in print. and many basket suppliers, like Royalwood and The Caning Shop carry them.
The finished base. Note the single spokes in the center; necessary because I have an odd number of spokes vertically and horizontally. If there were an even number of spokes, I would place a pair of spokes in the center both horizontally and vertically.