Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cattail Basket

This little basket was woven completely out of cattail I gathered and dried myself. It was a bit of an experiment and it is crude as a result... but I'm happy with it all the same. I used the basic design of the Cherokee Double Wall basket...but I had planned something totally different when I got started so I ended up winging it.

It looks like I've got a dandy new place to stash my spare change.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mike Row continues his voyage.

Mike Row has traveled a total of 3206 miles so far. He was last logged in Washington State and he is on his way to Burning Man.

Here he is for his last photo in Texas with a large spiny lizard.

Mike Row at Bradley Point

From Log Entry: "Bradley Point a small state park and rest area along Highway 30 in Oregon on the way towards the Oregon Coast. Behind MikeRow is a beautiful vista of the Columbia River and one of my favorite spots on the drive to the beach."

Mike Row in Cannon Beach, OR

From Log Entry: "Mike traveled with me (StephGail) and Kuno the geopup to Cannon Beach, OR where behind Mike is Haystack Rock which some of you might remember from the movie The Goonies. It was a beautiful day for the beach."

Mutant Vehicle Geo-cache

From Log Entry: "Dragons Breath bike a Burning Man (2003) Mutant Vehicle is the perfect spot for a Geocache."

I can't wait to see where Mike turns up next...


Friday, August 19, 2011

Ribbed Basketry Tuturial: Part 1

Ribbed Basket

Over the next few posts I'm going to offer a ribbed basket tutorial. I also have this tutorial available in a pdf format and I will post that once I figure all that out so that you will be able to print your own copy either with or without color photos.

This particular tutorial will have 3 parts. The first part is this one and it will cover a little history, what you need to make this basket, and some information on suppliers. Part 2 will cover gathering materials in the wild and dying your own material. And finally Part 3 will cover basic construction of the basket. Hopefully in the future I'll be able to add some videos and more information on dying and gathering. I hope you enjoy it... and PLEASE leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

This is the tutorial I'm using to teach my basketry class and I would love to hear any feedback so that I can make the classes I'm teaching in September as good as I possibly can.


About this Basket

The ribbed basket is thought to have been created by ancient Celts in Scotland, but similar baskets can be seen around the world. Settlers from the British Isles to the New World brought this style of basketry with them and with them it traveled west. This style was taught to me as the Appalachian Buttocks basket (it is a funny name I know) but its other regional names include the melon basket, peanut basket, egg basket, or fanny basket just to name a few. As the names buttock or fanny imply, it can be made with a twin bottom design (making it look like a fanny) or you can make it with a flat bottom.

Basic Construction

The basket that we are going to make today uses two hoops (we will use grapevine) that are attached together at right angles. They are lashed together by making a god's eye. Once the god's eye is made, the ribs (you can either use more grapevine or round reed) will be tucked into the god's eye and then you begin to weave using a flexible material like raffia, jute or sea grass.

Gathering Materials

Basic Supplies:

Before you begin you will need to gather some basic supplies.

  1. Two hoops-we will use grapevine... but there are many other choices. You can order hoops from basketry supply shops or gather your own material that is strong and yet flexible enough to form hoops. There are many books and online sources that offer ideas for gathering and selecting the right materials for you.

  2. Ribs- we will be using round reed (size #6). You can also just make your ribs out of grapevine... but it is a bit trickier to get started this way. Reed is more uniform and works better for beginners.

  3. Weavers- We will be using jute, sea grass, raffia and possibly some flat reed... but there are many other options. You can add color or interest to the texture of your basket by using yarns or interesting gathered materials. You can really use your imagination when you pick out your weavers.

  4. Basic Tools: scissors or pruners (to cut reed and vine), knife, buckets (for soaking). You might also want clothes pins or bread ties. Some optional tools would be a tapestry needle and a tape measure but I don't use those much for this style of basket. There are a wide variety of other materials you might want to invest in if you get serious about basketry... but I've found that most of the tools I use are things that I have around the house already. I like to keep it simple.


If you use grapevine for your basket's ribs you can purchase everything that you need for this basket at Hobby Lobby. Micheal's craft store stocks grapevine, hemp, and raffia, but I have been unable to find jute, and I like to use jute as my all purpose weaver for this basket. Hill Country Weavers in Austin also stocks basketry supplies, but I am unfamiliar with their inventory. If you want reed, sea grass or other supplies then Royalwood and Earth Guild are both suppliers that I've used in the past. I'm sure there are other options out there that can be discovered with the simple click of a mouse. Shop around and look for deals... and if you find a supplier in your area let me know.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Coupon and Other News

Yesterday I taught a basketry class at the public library and I had a great time. Next week I'm going to start a series about basketry and I will be posting photo and hopefully eventually video tutorials on how to make baskets. For now, however, I just wanted to share a coupon for hobby lobby. You can buy some of your basic basketry supplies there: Grapevine, jute, raffia, and other decorative accents. Just click on the coupon to go to the page where you can print your own. It is good Monday the 15 through the end of the week, but they post new specials every week.

I also wanted to share links to the two online basketry suppliers that I've used in the past... Earth Guild and Royalwood. These two sources have kits and a wide range of other supplies you'll need such as reed and sea grass. If you took my basketry class yesterday this should get you on your way to buying what you'll need to get started in this fun hobby.


Friday, August 12, 2011

My Busy Summer

This is a repeat of what I just posted on my other blog... Worth a Fig... but it has more to do with my craft than the kitchen so I thought I would repost it here.

My writing has been much more sporadic lately. I just seems like I don't have enough hours in the day to keep up with all my projects. I haven't been cooking as much either... it is just too hot for that. We have been trying to keep dinner as simple as possible.

So what have I been up to? Well the typical summer fun... swimming, playing in the river, grilling on the patio, and in the mornings when it's cool enough we try to venture out for a walk or some geocaching... but we have also done a lot of arts and crafts and hanging out inside.

I have also been keeping myself busy with my various crafts. I'm teaching a basketry class tomorrow at the public library and I'll be teaching two more in September for TPWD. I've also been working on designing some new toys and games so that I can get my Etsy shop up and running again. Previously my husband and I just sold greeting card, but we decided to branch out. I'm going to be making small toys and games, and I plan on getting it all up and running again early next week. I'll be posting more about that later along with photos from my basketry class... but until then here are some examples of what I've been working on.

I haven't stayed out of the kitchen entirely. I did manage to whip up this last night with Italian sausage and tomatoes from the farmers market.

For anyone interested in basketry I will have a free tutorial available sometime next week.

What has been keeping you busy this summer? Leave a comment and tell me about it.

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