Archived Tips

  1. When weaving a basket with an intricate twill pattern, enlarge the twill graph on a copier. Then you can see it more easily, and you can also mark or highlight the rows as you weave.
  2. Spoke weights - even two or three of them - are extremely useful for laying out a twill base.
  3. If laying out a twill base with dyed reed, pack it tight as you go. If you try to pack it later, the dyed reed will have bled onto the other spokes and you'll have a mess.
  4. Carolyn Kemp passed on this idea and it's worked well for me! If you want to try to teach children's classes, try offering Parent and Child Classes. Both the parent and child weave their own basket - but each child has an adult there to help them (or vice versa!) It helps with crowd control, but also makes for a fun holiday workshop!
  5. "Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report; think on these things." Philippians 4:8
  6. The more clothespins you use on the first rows of your basket, the better your basket will turn out.
  7. When you are taking a basketweaving class, don't ask your neighbor for help - ask the instructor!
  8. Use your finger to rub off pencil marks on your reed while the spokes are still wet and they will come right off.
  9. Use vinegar in the dye pot and in your soaking pan and this will help prevent dyed reed from bleeding.
  10. "There is no end to what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit." General Colin Powell
  11. When cutting out your spokes - cut the horizontal spoke ends straight across and the vertical spoke ends at a diagonal. This way you can easily tell them apart when you are laying out the base.
  12. If you are having trouble inserting a spoke (when folding and tucking), cut the points off the corners - like a picket fence, but don't cut them to a point as they will split.
  13. When tapering a weaver, cut off the underside, not the topside. This is especially true when tapering a dyed weaver - then the cut white edge will be downward and less visible.
  14. If a squirt bottle just isn't enough to keep a large basket damp, go over to your sink and use the sink sprayer.
  15. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Matthew 7:12
  16. A Stanley Surform Shaver is my favorite tool for tapering rims.
  17. When weaving twills, you absolutely must use smooth, supple reed for the best results.
  18. To fold round reed in half without breaking it, twist it between your fingers or pinch it with a needlenose pliers.
  19. How to tell if your reed is long enough to lash all the way around the rim: if it will wrap 2 1/2 to 3 times around the rim, then it is long enough. Sometimes more is needed for twills or Nantuckets if there are lots of spokes and they are really close together.
  20. "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3: 23-24
  21. Run soaked, dyed reed through paper toweling or an old towel before weaving with it. This will help remove excess water and dye, preventing bleeding.
  22. If your dyed reed has bled onto natural reed, you can touch up your basket by carefully using some bleach on a cotton swab.
  23. You can dye seagrass and use it as rim filler. It can ravel, though, so make sure your piece is extra long before dyeing it.
  24. Measure the base of your basket from end to end - but also from the center to each end to make sure everything is centered and proportional.
  25. "Excellence is not a one-time event, it is a way of doing things." General Colin Powell
  26. When weaving a twill basket with a repeating pattern, mark the spokes with tape or a clothespin where the pattern repeats. This makes it much easier to check smaller sections of each row for mistakes. (Thanks to Chris Lamb for this tip!)
  27. Shaping - to make a basket get larger, the spokes must spread farther apart. To make a basket get smaller, the spokes must get closer together.
  28. Don't ever put reed in your mouth, or let your pet drink out of your water bucket! Reed is treated with insecticides so that it can be imported - you don't want to ingest it!

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