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.
Happy Weaving and Baskets of Blessings to all my visitors,
You may find my YouTube Videos Here.
Listen to Basketmaster's Making our Home a Haven Podcast.
Monday, July 26, 2010
I want to direct you over to W.H. Baskets to pick up their free pattern this month. It's called a Buffet Basket and uses beautiful braided seagrass and swing handles. I wove a basket similar to this a number of years ago. I lined it with a Winnie the Pooh fabric and filled it with baby items as a baby gift for a friend. It turned out darling. I'll have to search and see if I can find an old photo of the one I wove. The swing handles add a lot to this sweet basket. The two wooden handles give strength to the base. It also makes it easier to store because you can fold the handles down when needed. W.H. Baskets keeps their free patterns up only for a month and we are almost to the end of July so get there soon and print it off.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
- Use plenty of clothespins especially in the first few rows. They are your extra hands. One thing I notice when teaching is that students use too few clothespins. The basket above is not large yet I have 10 clothespins on it. As I weave higher up the walls of the basket I won't need as many.
- Clothespin your corners upright. You can see easier in the top photo that I have all four corners clothespinned upright. Keep these pinned also for the first few rows, then the clothespins in the corners can be removed.
- If you are a new weaver, select patterns that use at least 3/8" or wider weavers for your first few rows. The strength of a 3/8" weaver is strong enough to help get the sides of your basket going up straight quicker. In the photo, I am weaving with 1/4" flat reed. This is a very weak reed so I will need to use more clothespins and continue using quite a few clothespins for additional rows to ensure that my basket walls are going up straight.
- One e-mail mentioned that she was weaving with the basket upright like in the top photo and she was struggling. She noticed that I turned my basket on its side like in the bottom photo. If you turn your basket on its side to weave as in the bottom photo, this helps not only the stakes on the top, but also on the bottom take their proper upright shape. One thing you do not see in my videos that I will mention here; On my videos, I weave on the table so that my webcam can see and take the picture. When I weave without a camera, I weave in my lap! I lay my old towel in my lap and weave there. My lap works the same as the table in that I have my basket turned on its side as in the bottom photo. It is much more comfortable to weave in my lap and therefore I get a better finished product.
- When starting a row of weaving, get around the first corner and STOP. Take a moment to shape that corner, add clothespins if needed. Now weave across one side of the basket and around the second corner and STOP. Get this side of weaving adjusted as needed and the corner shaped. Continue on with this pattern of stopping after going around each corner so that you can shape each side and corner just the way you want it, not too tight and not too loose so that the sides of your basket will go straight up and down rather than bend inward or flair outward (unless that is the desired shape like in THIS basket which both flairs and bends). Take your time to get it just right with each row.
- When lashing on a rim, remember rim material is considerably heaver than your other weaving material. It needs to soak longer so that you can bend it 90 degrees at each corner. What will happen if you don't is the top of your basket will be round or oval. Again, if that is your desired shape then ok, otherwise, be sure to soak it well and bend it well at each corner to keep that square shape.
- If the base of your basket is wobbly once it is woven, dampen it slightly and place a heavy book on your basket like a phone book. Let it set overnight to dry and it will be perfectly flat in the morning.
- Remember that shaping gets better with practice. The size of the basket in the photo above is a nice size to begin with for a new weaver, it is not too large or not too small. In the words of Goldilocks, "It is just right." For new weavers, be sure to start with some easier baskets to practice your shaping. Most patterns will identify themselves as either beginner, intermediate, or advanced. When you've done a few beginner patterns, spread your wings and try something more challenging. If you follow these tips and take your time, even your very first basket will be a beautiful work of art!
Sunday, July 18, 2010
I wanted to show you my Mini Muffin Basket once again. I demonstrate this basket in my YouTube videos and take you through it step by step in how to weave it. Just go to my YouTube channel and follow right along! I call this a Mini Muffin Basket because it is just the right size to hold 6 mini muffins or 2 large muffins. You could also put a large muffin and a small bag of coffee in it.
Get you weaving supplies ready. You will need the following:
- 5/8" flat reed
- 3/8" flat reed
- 1/4" flat reed
- #3 round reed
As always, if you would like to view any of my baskets, you can visit my YouTube channel at
Thursday, July 15, 2010
From time to time I like to weave a basket to contain something specific like this Corning Ware dish. I've also woven around plastic containers of various sizes. These plastic containers basically become a liner for the basket. This way, I can put food or plants in my baskets and I don't have to worry about my baskets becoming damaged or wet.
The way I start designing the basket is I know what purpose I want to use the basket for.
If I want to weave it around something like this dish in the picture, I measure around it. Look closely at the photo. My tape measure extends two inches on each side of the basket. I would cut my stakes for this basket 17". This gives me room to cut and tuck and I won't run short when I get to the top. So basically, measure the three sides (side, bottom, side) and add 4 inches. If it is a large basket, I would add 6" or an extra 3" to each side. Make sense?
Then I almost always use 1/2" flat or 5/8" flat for my stakes or spokes. I weave typically with thinner reed than my spokes so 3/8", 1/4" or 11/64" flat or flat oval or round reed, anything that is thinner or more flexible than my stakes. If I use fillers for my base, I often use 3/8" or 1/2" flat. To know the number of stakes to cut, you're just going to have to do the math on your particular project. It depends on what size stakes you are using and the spacing you choose between each stake.
As I weave up the sides, my creativity just guides me. I just have a finished height in mind. For my rim row, I weave 1/8" narrower reed than what I'm going to use for my rim. for example, if my rim is 1/2" flat/oval, I would weave my top rim row 3/8" flat.
Have you ever been at a store and saw a basket you really liked and thought you could weave it at home with a higher quality look and in colors that matched your decor? Just keep your tape measure in your purse and measure around the basket like I did in the photo. Take a few notes as to what sizes of materials they used and the finished dimensions of the basket. Then you can go home and weave it with better quality products, better reed, better handles etc.
Be sure to post a comment or send me an e-mail if you have further questions about this. I hope it gets you started on designing your own baskets. As always, be sure to let me know when you finish a basket and post me a link to its photo.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Have a Blessed Sunday,
Thursday, July 8, 2010
If it is a large project, one stage you can do is read through your pattern, gather your supplies and cut your stakes. Of course you can stop at this point. I like to have all my supplies gathered together because it is frustrating to have to get up and down because I've forgotten something.
Is your basket being woven in all natural reed? If so, and if there are no wooden parts then you can stop at most any time during your project and just resoak it when you are ready to begin again.
If you have wooden parts on your basket such as a wooden base or a wooden handle, you shouldn't even dip those in water. Some wooden handles are held together with glue and the water could affect the stick-um power of the glue. Some handles are steamed into their shape and water could cause them to relax and straighten back out. Of course they may get slightly damp from using wet reed and that cannot be helped, I'm just saying don't dip them in water. So that said, when you start weaving, it is best to weave up to the top of your basket and get your stakes cut and tucked. You can always put the rim on during your next basket weaving session.
What happens when.....your child requires that horrible trip to the emergency room when you just have to drop everything? Well, things like this can happen and you have no control of when to stop working at a convenient place. (Seriously though, let's hope that never happens!) What I would do is when I return; I'd mist the reed lightly with a water bottle and work on shaping the basket the best I could. I'd continue weaving up the sides and again mist the reed where it gets cut and tucked. Have a paper towel handy to wipe off excessive drips. By only misting and using a towel to wipe drips you will decrease your chances of the dyed reed bleeding onto the natural reed. When you tuck in your stakes, you may have more cracking and splintering than usual, but...this is just one of those times where that cannot be helped. The cracking and splintering will be hidden by the rim and rim filler.
I hope this gives you some suggestions when to pause your weaving should you need to . Of course, in all instances, it is ideal to go from beginning to the finished project in one session.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Remember, whenever you want to add wooden objects like my beads and stars shown here, you can also dye those if you desire. Just throw them in the dye pot as you dye your reed and it is a fun way to personalize any project.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Hope you are all getting enjoying your holiday weekend.
Baskets of Blessings,
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Baskets of Blessings,
Base--Bottom of a basket.
Stakes--These are the foundation of a square or rectangular basket. They help form the base and then go up the sides of the basket vertically.
Spokes--These are the foundation of a round or oval basket. They also then go up the sides of the round basket vertically.
Ribs--The skeleton frame in a ribbed basket that weavers are woven on.
Weaver--This is what goes horizontally around the sides of the basket.
Twining--This is done with round reed. It is a half twist in the round reed and is created with either two separate strands, or one strand that has been bent in half.
Packing--Packing is pushing the weavers tightly together as they are woven up the sides of the basket.
Splicing--Splicing is when you run out of a weaver before you are finished so you need an additional piece of weaver to complete the row or basket.
Upsetting the Basket--This is when the base is woven and you bend up the stakes or spokes so that you may begin working on the sides of your basket.
Cut and Tuck or Cutting and Tucking--When finished weaving the sides, you cut the stakes or spokes that are on the inside of the basket flush with your top row of weaving. The stakes or spokes that are on the outside of the basket get folded to the inside and tucked behind a weaver to hide the ends.
Basket Hairs--The splintery looking things on the rough (wrong) side of reed. These are cut or singed off when the basket is completed.
Rim Row--The top row of weaving. This is typically hidden under the rim.
Rim--Typically 2 pieces of reed that are slightly wider than the rim row. These pieces sandwich and cover the rim row and are placed even with the bottom edge of the rim row.
Rim Filler--Something that goes on top of the rim row and is sandwiched between the two rim pieces. Often this is seagrass or round reed.
Lashing--This is the material that holds the rim and rim filler in place.
Shaping--Using your weaver to make the spokes or stakes flare out or pull in.