Sunday, October 18, 2009
Steps in making a rib basket
In a rib basket with willow ribs, it is essential to soak the willow before you begin. White willow, that is willow with its bark removed, needs perhaps an hour of soaking to make it supple. If I had used brown willow (willow with its bark still on) it would need to be soaked for 24 hours at least.
While the willow was soaking, I prepared the other materials. Two grapevine hoops of roughly equal size were found, and, in this case, pink rattan cane soaked in water to ready it for weaving.
With a long piece of flat rattan cane, I wove one God's eye to join the two grapvine hoops together. With a second long piece of cane I then wove the second God's eye. I then selected which segmant would be the handle to the basket, ensuring the horizontal hoop would be inside the handle hoop. This aids in developing the strength of the basket since that inside hoop is tightly held.
The next step is to place the initial sets of ribs in place held by the God's eyes. I usually place five ribs on each side of the basket at this stage.
After weaving several rows to fix these ribs in place, I added many more ribs. The basket-makers crede is, "The more ribs the better." For this basket I twinned the initial five ribs on each side and added two more to each sement too.
For these additional ribs, I decided to weave with natural, undyed cane. The end result is quite satisfactory.
Since I used 3/8" and 1/2" cane for this basket the weaving went much faster than in the case of yesterday's basket where I used 1/4" cane.