Monday, September 26, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
I will be posting my photos and some information regarding natural dyes soon. I have dyed jute using turmeric, tea, kool-aid, onion skin, red cabbage, crepe paper, and RIT dye. I will have a break down of all my techniques soon.
Feel free to check out parts one and two of this tutorial as well.
Making the Basket
Once you have your grapevine wreath separated into usable rounds select two of similar size to make your rim and handle. If you need to clean off extra vines and smooth them up a bit you will need to do this before you begin weaving. I like to leave some of the curly bits and smaller branches attached to add a rustic look. I try to keep it as natural as possible... but some people like a more uniform look.
Making the Basket's Ears
Who knew baskets had ears? And that you weave the ears by making god's eyes? Start by placing one hoop inside the other to form right angles. One hoop will form the rim of the basket and the other will form the handle. You will begin by weaving a god's eye where these two parts meet.
How to make a god's eye- Begin by wrapping the yarn in an x pattern over the intersection. This is just to hold them together as you begin the god's eye. Now begin the wrapping pattern. Hold the intersection with one hand while looping the weaver around the first stick one time. Push the loop you made right up against the weavers that you've already wrapped. Turn the cross 90 degrees to the right and wrap a loop around the next stick, taking care to push the weaver towards the center of the cross. Turn the cross 90 degrees to the right and repeat the loop on the next stick. Keep turning and looping until you are satisfied with the eye.
Adding the Ribs
Once you have a good sized god's eye formed you are going to begin adding the ribs to the basket. First you will need to decide the length that you want the ribs to be. To do this simply take the round reed and hold one end on the inside of one of the god's eyes and measure how long it needs to be to form either a flat or twin bottomed design. If you wish your basket to have a twin bottom the piece of reed will need to be a little longer than the center rib. If you wish to make a flat bottomed basket then it will be just a touch shorter than the center rib. Like most things there is a formula for this... but I tend to eyeball it rather than making it an exact science. Once you cut your ribs for one side of the basket you can simply make a matching one for the other. You will add the same number of ribs on each side of the center rib. Then you will tuck them into the god's eye as securely as possible. You might want to experiment at this point with how well the basket sits. Place it on a flat surface and see if it leans this way or that. It is easier to adjust the rib length before you start weaving.
Now you can begin to weave
Now you can cut a weaver 2 to 3 yards long and begin to weave. To do this you will simply run the weaver in and out of the ribs and when you reach the opposite side of the basket simply wrap the weaver around the rim and go the other direction. When your first weaver ends you will begin weaving again. This time starting at the opposite ear. You will go back and forth between the ears until you get to the middle of the basket. When ever you start a new weaver just begin where the last one left off and continue the pattern. You can change materials whenever you like to add texture and variety. Once you meet in the middle all that is left to do is snip off any ends and sit back and enjoy your new creation.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Here is part two of my Ribbed Basket Tutorial. You can find part one here. I will have the final installment out soon.
I will also have a pdf download (both with an without photos) that will cover the same material that will be available as soon as I figure out how to make it happen.
I have also been experimenting with dyes and I will have a post soon about that. I hope you enjoy it.
Going Native... Gathering in the Wild:
You can also opt to gather some or all of your materials in the wild, vines for example. Grapevine is everywhere around here and with a little asking around I'm sure you can find someone willing to let you collect some if you don't have it in your own backyard. Honeysuckle is also easy to find, and since it grows so fast you can usually find a bit that needs pruning. Honeysuckle is smaller than grapevine and makes good weavers. Other woody vines include Virginia creeper, bittersweet, coralberry, and wisteria. But I have never gathered these in the wild and don't have a lot of experience with identification and where to find them. It is usually best to gather woody vines in the winter before the sap begins to run. The vines aren't very pliable at this time, however, so you might want to gather them in early spring or in the fall. In the summer time they will be full of grapes so this is probably not the best time. With grapevine the newer vines are best used for weavers while the woodier older parts are good for ribs, rims and handles.
You can weave with freshly cut vines and it might be easier in some ways since they are flexible at this time, but you have to remember that as they dry they shrink, so weave loosely. Another way to do it is to cut off extra leaves and limbs, coil your vines, allow them to dry, and then re-wet or soak them before use.
Other natural materials you might like to gather are cattails, rushes, grasses, fronds, bark, and different types of cactus (not the spiny kind but those similar to the century plant). My advice is to gather these materials, dry them, and then experiment with them. There is such a variety of advice out there on preparation that like most hobbies most of the fun is in the discovery. Just make sure to use common sense and gather materials safely... and make sure that you have permission of the landowner, park management, or proper authorities before beginning. Some materials also might cause skin irritation. Virginia Creeper, for example, causes skin rashes on some people. So when in doubt wear gloves. This will also protect you from thorns and bugs.
Dyes are an excellent way to add variety to your materials. There are many commercial dyes out there. The easiest one to get is RIT and it is very inexpensive. It can be purchased at most grocery stores and it does a pretty good job. The only problem with it is that it tends to fade with time. There are many other commercial dyes and stains available. I don't have much experience with them, but with a little research you can find the best dye for your needs.
The other option is natural dyes. There are many online resources and books about ways to naturally dye your reed or jute. I've experimented with a few and will provide a separate entry about how to achieve different colors with things you can find in your kitchen, garden, or somewhere in your local area. Just remember natural dyes fade... So keep that basket out of the sun.
Reed and Grapevine will need to be soaked in order to make them pliable. If you purchase grapevine you will need to soak the wreath in order to break it down in to usable rounds. After that is done, however, you no longer need to keep it wet. If you are using the smaller vines for weaving they will need to be soaked as well. If you are using reed or honeysuckle for weavers you will need to soak them long enough so that they can be wrapped around your finger easily. You don't want to soak materials to the point of being waterlogged... just soak them long enough to make them pliable. After that remove them from the water and keep them in a damp towel or keep a spray bottle nearby and occasionally mist them.