It is a cold, cloudy day today and a great day to weave baskets. Actually, any day is a good day to weave baskets, but weaving always seems to lift my spirits.
This morning I finished a guild project from our spring weave. All I needed to do was to finish the rim, not one of my favorite things to do. The diamond weave basket pattern with space dyed reed was taught by Marla Sunstrom. Guilds are a great way to learn new skills and meet new friends. For a list of basketry guilds in the United States look online for the National Basketry Organization or click on this link for a listing.
My second basket incorporated some wicker techniques from Contemporary Wicker Basketry by Flo Hoppe. I used my left over space dyed reed from the diamond weave basket to make a little colored stripe on the sides. I love the interwoven base on this basket and each one I make gets a little easier. I plan to take it to some of my summer historical demonstrations.
I spent some time working on the website today, making it a little more user friendly and updating my teaching and demonstrating schedule. Our next scheduled event is Horicon Living History Days in May. This is a wonderful event that has grown every year. Stop by the Events page for more details.
Thanks for stopping by today. Hope to see you again soon.
I think spring finally came to Wisconsin, hopefully to stay. I was able to get out into the sunshine a little yesterday which made me very happy, Truth be told, I think my dog was smiling too!
I also felt motivated to work on a new skill, one that took an amazing amount of concentration. I'm no athlete, but I found this quote by Babe Didrikson Zaharias to be fitting.
When I set out to weave this basket, I was a little bit concerned. I had tried this basket once before and it was a complete flop, so I maybe set my expectation a little lower. I've found however, that once is certainly not enough to learn a new skill, so I pulled out my copy of Splint Woven Basketry by Robin Taylor Daugherty. "Be sure the B stakes are on top the C stakes" and then it told me that I was to weave the A stakes across going under the C stakes and over the B stakes. It seemed like so much to try and get right and remember. All the while I was trying to keep all these little hexagons even and shaped correctly. I feel like the book explains it quite well, but it's one basket that is very challenging.
Well, I stuck with it and kept checking if my A's and B's and C's were in the right places. In the end I was pleasantly surprised. I think I have it right! Now I'm ready to try it again. Practice and concentration and more practice.
Thanks for joining me today and keep practicing!
It's going to be a weaving weekend this weekend with Driftless Folk School where we will be teaching the Adirondack Pack Basket class. I'm very excited about this opportunity and looking forward to meeting new people and weaving with them. If you missed this class offering, but are still interested in basket weaving, I have two upcoming classes at Driftless, one scheduled for August and one scheduled for September. The times and details are yet to be announced, but will be in their new catalog which will be out soon.
If your organization would like to host a weaving event, please contact me for details. I have many beginner to intermediate projects that I can teach.
I've added a new basket to the Etsy shop this week. New on Etsy this week is this knitting basket which could also be used for many other purposes. Decorate it with burlap or fabric flowers for a spring embellishment. Add a flower arrangement. So many creative choices!
Have a great week and see you next time!
This past Saturday I had the opportunity to teach weaving to a small group of beginning weavers. It's always an enjoyable experience to meet new people and share my skills with them.
I love to see how each person's basket is somewhat the same and yet unique from all the others. That said, I think that one of the most difficult things for the new weaver is the shaping of a basket. Today I wanted to do a short tutorial on basket shaping that may help some of my new weaver friends.
A couple weeks ago I did this tall wall basket that has nearly straight up sides.
While this is a taller basket, the sides are mostly straight up and down because the stakes are parallel up the sides of the basket. It is important not to pull too tight as you round the corners and that you check your weaving frequently to make sure that the stakes have equal distance in between. In addition, as I weave up the sides, I like to straighten my stakes every couple of rows so that they are perpendicular to the base.
The next photo shows a woven wastebasket that has been flared through the center by by pulling those stakes apart, and weaving with less tension. The top stakes are closer together.
On this bag keeper basket I brought the stakes together by pushing them inward as I wove to create the almost "funnel" shape to hold my plastic bags in. I actually had to taper those stakes with my scissors in order to bring them together as close as possible and still get my weaver through.
This pair of baskets were shaped by bringing the stakes a bit closer on each row, especially the very sides.
Here we have a bit of flare as they are pulled outward and apart.
Now we have a little bit of a combination to get the flare through the center to make a more unique vase shape.
As you practice and gain confidence as a weaver, you'll be able to use these techniques to create the kind of shape that you desire for your handwoven baskets.
Thanks for stopping by and enjoy weaving today!