We will worked with open plane twining, leaving space between successive rows of wefts. We changed the shape of our baskets by changing the space between the rows of wefts. We also explored what happens when warps, the vertical element of the basket, or ribs, are paired and then separated, then paired again. This also changed the form of the basket.
Instructions for 8" Onion Basket: [Process pictures coming soon!]
Cut 10 pieces of round reed at 40” and 2 at 10 feet. (these instructions are for #3-#4 round reed. You can make this basket smaller or larger with different diameter round reed. Smaller baskets are more easily made with smaller diameter reed but one can experiment to see what happens.)*
Soak your reed in warm water for 10 - 15 minutes and then pull it out and let it rest for 5. As you wait you may want to cut and soak some extra long pieces, extra weavers, for later.
Mark centers of the 40” pieces (or not). Lay 5 vertical spokes over 5 horizontal spokes.
Lay the two 10 foot weavers diagonally sandwiched between the two groups with the ends extending one inch in the southeast corner and the long ends in the northwest corner. (The one inch ends will be trimmed later)
Crimp the long weavers close to the base. Include one in with the north group of spokes. Take the other long weaver to the right, going over the north group, under the east group, over the south group, and under the west group. Do this for 3-4 rows.
Bring the long weaver from the north group to the front. Twine over two spokes at a time for two to three rows. This will form the base of your basket. When the base measure 3 ½ to 4” in diameter, begin to twine around single spokes moving out from base about 3/8”. As you continue, spaces between rows should be about ½”. Begin tugging the spokes to the left to make the basket “cup”. You can also hold your basket, bottoms up, against your belly to allow the spokes (ribs or warps) to fall vertically downward. Twine 6-7 rows or until desire height switch back to twining around pairs of ribs. This will cause your basket top to dramatically narrow. Make two passes around the top of your basket, twining around pairs, pushing your weavers so successive rows are right on top of each other, making a more solid rim. This levels off the top of the basket and gives it a more finished look.
Drop each spoke behind the one to the right and out. Holding 2 spokes in your left hand, take the furthest left spoke, drop it over the two spokes right next to the basket and hold it there. Now pick up the next spoke to the right and begin again. When only two spokes are left in your hand, push the first two spokes up a little, and drop the last two spokes into the loops made by pushing up on the first two spokes. Repeat this as many times as you like.
Use a 4 foot piece of #3 or smaller. Bring up loops at an intersection of weaving leaving 4-6 spaces between handle ends. Wrap (twist) each end back across the handle. Stick ends inside basket and trim.
Wet basket and squish to a pouch shape.
Note: All weaving is done working on the outside of the basket, weaving to the right. Keep basket very wet while weaving to avoid breaking spokes.
*Material notes: Since reed is a natural material, each of the strands will have its own unique character. After you've soaked a bunch of them in water (the first step in the basket-weaving process), you'll find that some lengths are very strong and sturdy, others feel as soft as cooked spaghetti, and still others snap all too easily. Do save the more pliable ones for starting the base of the container, though, as that's where the coils are tightest.
Many types of material are suitable for basket weaving, [we are using due to is accessibility and general uniformity] but one of the best is reed. Strong, pliable, and light, reed comes from the core of the long shoots of the rattan palm, which grows in the tropical forests of many South Pacific islands, Northern Africa and Asia. These shoots reach lengths of 200 to 600 feet as they trail over the floor of the jungle or hook onto other trees and plants. And once the thorny outer bark has been removed, the smooth, glossy under bark is stripped off in specific widths to be used for caning chair seats and such.
Beneath this layer is the actual reed — the core of the vine — which is harvested and machine-processed into round and flat strips of different diameters and widths. (Resource: MotherEarthNews.com)
Pine needle Baskets