Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day one of the sewing basket class

Patrisha and Bunty arrived promptly at my home this morning at 9 00 am to begin to learn how to make a sewing basket using English basket-making techniques. Flo Hoppe's book called for "four spokes through four" to begin weaving the base, but I modified this to "five through four." This way the students could learn a wider variety of weaves since there would be thirty-six spokes on the sides. This would enable students to learn weaves that required a number of spokes divisible by two as well as other weaves that required a number divisible by three.
The first photograph shows one base at its finished stage and with the spokes upsett.

In weaving the sides, we learned how to do a four rod coiling weave to set the upsett. We then wove five more rows of three rod waling. This was followed by twining rows using two sets of two weavers. (Patrisha refered to this as "double, double," Canadian-speak for a Tim Horton's regular coffee with two milk and two sugar.) I then attempted to have the students learn how to weave one row of three rod waling followed by a second row of reverse three rod waling to create the arrow pattern shown in natural and wine here. This was the most difficult part of the teaching and learning. The above photograph show the arrow pattern as woven by me.

Both students opted for using Tamarak bark in the "stop-and-go" weaving technique they had learned in weaving flat cane into their trays last week. Not only was this simple to do but it also saved them a lot of time and effort in weaving more rows with round or flat cane. Patrisha's basket is shown here. In later weaving rounds she substituted continuous rows of regular three-rod waling for the arrow weave to make an attractive pattern.

Bunty's basket is shown here. Both Patrisha and Bunty prefered to use the Tamarak bark with the outer bark showing on the outside of the basket. I prefered to show the inner side of that bark on my basket.

By 3 30 pm both students were ready to call it a day. They had accomplished more than I had expected. Bunty's basket is shown here with a finished border. Patrisha took hers home to show it off. When each student returns, they will make a lid for their basket, and learn how to make a small market style basket from flat cane.


  1. The baskets look great...its not easy teaching! Its hard sometimes to predict what will need more explanation. I love the tamarac bark!

  2. Tamarak bark really made the basket! Thanks John for spending the day teaching Bunty and I this really neat skill!I've gotten alot of great compliments on the basket and i'm really looking forward to making much more,all I need now is materials!