May Your Life Be Like A Basket...Useful...Bountiful...Beautiful...

Basketmaster's Weavings is about my passions, much of which revolves around basket weaving. I weave with reed and I love teaching others to weave. Many of the patterns and styles that I show in the blog are geared to the beginning weaver, or even the brand new weaver. If you have been thinking about wanting to learn to weave, then this blog is for you. Throughout the blog and videos I take you step by step through each and every process of weaving. I want you to be successful in weaving the very first time you try. For the intermediate and advanced weaver, my wish is that you take ideas that I show, mix them up a bit, and incorporate them into your own beautiful creations.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tip Technique Tuesday - How to Handle Weak Stakes

Good Morning Friends,
Have you ever woven a basket and the stakes want to fold to the inside or the outside of the basket causing it not to pack tightly or look pretty? I have and it can be very frustrating.

Today I'd like to share a few tips on how I handle weak stakes or spokes when weaving. This is one of those instances when an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

  • If you are like me and you cut an entire handful of stakes at one time to the desired length, take just a moment before hand and feel each piece of reed paying attention for flimsy pieces. Remove the flimsy pieces from your bunch and save those weak pieces for weavers.
  • The opposite is true as well. If you have a weaver that seems especially heavy, don't use it to weave. Toss it aside and save it for a stake.
  • If you have started to weave a basket and realize you have a weak stake, make sure that your weavers are well soaked and pliable. Then, as you weave around the weak stake, go slowly keeping the weak stake straight and make sure that your weaver is the one that bends to do the over under weaving.
  • Change the pattern a bit. If you are finding that you are struggling with weak stakes, switch to smaller weavers. Take a look at the little tote bag in the photo above. The stakes are 3/8" flat reed. They are very thin. By using 11/64" flat for my weavers as well as seagrass, which is very pliable, for some of the weavers, I was able to keep my stakes straight.
  • You can always insert another stake directly behind the weak stake making it a double thickness. Be sure to hide the ends of the inserted stake. This technique works well if the weak reed is caught early in the weaving process. Consider adding a second stake just slightly thinner and of a different color and place this second stake on the outside for a double thickness. This can give you a great plaid or decorative effect. My basket above is not the best example but it does show two layers of stakes. Look at the stem of the flowers. The stem is the second layer or thickness.
  • 99.999% of the time I make sure that my stakes are larger than my weavers. A larger size stake means a thicker and therefore stronger stake.
Reed is processed by a machine. Much of the time, you get a uniform consistency to each strand, but there is always the exception in the batch or even possibly you get an entire bad pound of weak reed. Sometimes you get a different piece just due to the conditions in which the reed was grown, for instance due to the amount of rainfall. Reed is grown in the tropics so there is usually sufficient rainfall. Perhaps though that strand of reed had died before it was harvested and has already dried out giving an exceptionally hard piece of reed. Reed is usually dried a bit before it is cut into the desired sizes. If the reed is swollen full of moisture and then cut, then when it dries, it will shrink a bit and therefore give you a weaker piece of reed. Things happen with it that are beyond our control. Sometimes it is also human error in the processing of our reed. We just need to learn to work with what we are given.

Now there are always the very few extreme exceptions to the rules I've given you above when you might not want to try my tips, but if you follow these ideas you should have a good sturdy basket where each row packs down nicely and weak weavers become a thing of the past.
Happy Weaving,

1 comment:

Juliana/A Hand Woven Life said...

Good info! That little tote basket is exceptionally cute!!!

Grab a cup of coffee and take time to enjoy some posts from the past