Friday, May 16, 2008

What to do about mold

Oh, this is the weaver's worst nightmare.

If you have no dyed reed in your basket you might try a light solution of bleach water. If it's just in a small space you might try a Q-Tip to put the bleach solution directly on the moldy spot.

However, if you have dyed reed in your basket, about the only thing you can do is throw it away....:(

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rit Dye

If you have not tried Rit Dye on your reed for basket weaving, give it a try.

I have found that it works really well.

I use the liquid Rit Dye and put 2 cap fulls into about 2 gals of water, the colors come out extremely well. Add a cup of salt and water softener if you have hard water, bring it to a boil and then add your reed, let it simmer for 1/2 hour or til you reach the desired color. Rinse really well after you take it from the dye pot. Let it sit over night and then rinse it again really well before weaving with it, let it dry a second time and then weave.

You will have to be careful of bleeding. It seems that all the commercial dyes will produce bleeding, but with some care and use of limited wetting while weaving you can reduce this danger.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Weaving the Bottom Corners of the Double Weave

When weaving the outside bottom corners, the key is not to squish the corner, it should lay nice and even over the inside bottom corners.

If your corners on the inside are off, then the outside corners will be off as well.

Weave each piece of cane and straighten it as you go; this also means the weavers from each angle. The Straighter you keep the weavers as you go the better your bottom will turn out.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Flowing Water Weaving

Look very carefully at the middle weavers in this basket bottom, bottom photo. This is the way you need to start the basket in order for the design to come out right on the outside bottom.

  1. The top center weaver begins Under 3 to the left and Over 3 to the right; the bottom center weaver begins Over 3 to the left and Under 3 to the right. This is looking at the middle and when weaving from the middle to the outside edges.
  2. When turning the rim at the Over 6 row, you will have more of the Over 6 going to the outside than the inside, so the turn isn't exactly in the middle of this row. This will bring the basket side up even with the inside bottom just before beginning the outside bottom.
  3. I did not tuck the inside weavers to the bottom on this basket and I think it makes for a much fuller and better bottom. Instead I just cut the inside weavers and they will automatically tuck as you weave the outside weavers of the bottom;
  4. Now looking at the top photo of the basket outside bottom; at the corners you will turn the middle red weaver behind the weaver to it's right; this middle weaver is the 4th red weaver of each red group. The weaver to the right of the one you turn is the corner weaver and forms the corner of your basket.
  5. I also did not tuck the middle red weaver into the side, but tucked it under the weavers on the side I was weaving. This will prevent this little Over 1 weaver from getting lost in the next Over 2 weaver as you weave around the sides.
  6. As you weave you will notice that at the fourth wall you'll have a natural weaver that lays over the red weaver, in this bottom photo it is the lower right hand corner first natural weaver next to the last red weaver, this natural weaver is woven from the 4th wall all the way over to the other side - without doing this you will have 4 red weavers rather than three in that grouping;
  7. Now going up the natural weavers to the upper right hand corner, the first brown weaver in that grouping on the 4th wall will meet a natural weaver, this brown weaver also needs to be woven to the over side and tucked. This will complete a design exactly like Eva's design in the bottom of her Flowing Water baskets.
  8. For best results in doing this, I cut the weaver which the natural and brown weaver laid over, so that it didn't create bulk. Cut it so that a small portion of it will lay under the overlaid weaver.

This does get complicated, but the only way to learn how to do this is just to weave until it comes out the way you want it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


If you are just weaving your first double woven, you might prefer the Eva Wolfe Double Woven since it is a smaller basket.

This basket can be woven with just plain natural cane without using dyes, the only difference in weaving it this way, is that you will not have the colors. This however, would be a good way to learn just the weave and not have to worry about dyes or color bleeding problems when just beginning to weave. Remember the plain natural cane has a hard outer shell, where as the Hamburg/bleached cane has that outer shell removed. Weaving either plain will do.

Same with the Oklahoma Double Wall, this can very easily be woven without any colors. Once again no worries with dyes or color bleeding. This is how I learned the Oklahoma Double Wall using just plain #2 reed. Then as you get better at the weaving you can branch out into dyes and experiment with colors.

Turning the rim on an Oklahoma Double Wall

When you get ready to turn the spokes on the rim for the Oklahoma Double Wall, take a long weaver, weave around the basket at least twice, leaving enough to go around your basket once the spokes are turned, then turn your spokes. Once the spokes are turned now resume weaving with the weaver. This outer wall should be woven very tight against the inside wall, this weaver will help keep the upper part of the outer wall from becoming to loose. Weave very tightly around the basket as you go. (I learned this weaving one of Peggy Brennen's Oklahoma Double Wall basket kits)

If you turn the spokes and then start a weaver, you will run into problems getting the weaver to stay in place and in some cases it will pull loose, causing the outside wall to become too loose and it will not lay tightly against the inside wall.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Using clips and the spray bottle

I use a lot of those little 2" clips, particularly at the corners for holding the weaving in place when turning the corners.

They come in handy as well, when weaving up the inside wall, at the corners also.

The spray bottle comes in handy as well, if you set it inside the basket to shape the bottom.

Clip and weave the inside wall, make sure your weavers are all touching each other, this can be an endless task of pushing the weavers up against one another, then put a clip at each corner, spray the basket really well and set the spray bottle on the inside and let it dry over night. This will help to form your basket. Make sure the spray bottle is full of water, this adds weight to help form that bottom.

I have found putting the clips at the corners to *hold* them in place really is helpful and won't allow the sides of the basket to expand out from the weight of the unwoven weavers sticking up or sliding down to the outside.

Letting the basket dry over night gives you a rest and helps to *set* the weaving in place.

Weaving Cane and Reed

When weaving a cane basket you will only want to keep the cane *touching* each other at the sides, *tight* but not necessarily hard packed.

Also I've found that weaving the bottom say from left to right or right to left, has a tendency to *bunch* the middle spokes in the center of the basket. So to prevent this, I weave from the middle to the outside of the basket, middle to right, then middle to left or visa versa. This gives me a much nicer center to the basket bottom. Keeping the cane just so it is touching the next piece of cane in the bottom, also gives me a much more square bottom, which becomes important when turning the corners.

The round reed weaving requires a very very tight weave. Your fingers will hurt when you have finished this type of basket. This basket needs a very tight weave all the way through. Also the reed as it passes over your fingers will leave *rub* sores, so I keep plenty of bandaids handy. Since your hands are always wet, the bandaids will continually fall off, but for the protection of the fingers, you'll need these.

The cane is much easier on the hands when working with it.

Making the Reed and Cane *flexible*

When weaving you'll want a flexible material, so the reed is usually soaked.

Reed if soaked to long will absorb any impurities in your water, in the city that's chlorine. It will also become *hairy*. These can be later removed by clipping, but the less amount of time spent soaking the less of a *hairy* reed you'll have.

When weaving that reed bottom, your reed needs to really be soaked and made flexible, otherwise you'll have trouble making the rounds with the weaver and getting a tight bottom. Reed is usually soaked in a large tub type container, just enough water to cover the reed weavers will do. I also use a spray bottle for weaving this type of basket, except when weaving the bottom and find that the reed will usually stay flexible but you usually have to spray it more than the cane.

The Hamburg cane, does not need to be soaked, it will become flexible with much less water. I use a spray bottle for weaving with cane and have found that if the cane is pretty damp as opposed to *wet* you will get a nicer look.

Commercial dyes bleed pretty badly so the more soaking the worse the bleeding. I'm still working on the bleeding problem with commercial dyes.

You don't want to soak say, two different colors of reed together or soak one, say a dark color and then soak in the same water a lighter color. They will really bleed into each other if you do this.

Difference between Reed and Cane weaving

All of my baskets are currently made using commercial reed and cane and commercial dyes and are thus considered contemporary baskets. So these tips pertain to that style of weaving. I've tried to keep the weave as traditional as possible, since I'm Cherokee, that's important. As with all artistic endeavors, you'll find that the basketweaver will have their own style in weaving the basket, so there are many ways to begin but a Cherokee Basket will always look basically the same.

The cane is the same that is used for chair caning. Although you can use the natural cane, which has the outer hard skin still on, I have found that using the Hamburg cane gives you a much tighter and even looking basket. Hamburg cane is that cane which has been bleached and stripped of this outer hard skin or shell. This type of cane is used in making the contemporary Cherokee Double Woven Baskets. Although you can use flat reed or oval reed to make these and in some cases, this might be the preferred material of choice for a beginner. It is however, the cane that look closest to the River Cane used by SE Cherokee in Ancient times.

Reed is used in making the Oklahoma Double Wall baskets. Reed comes in a variety of sizes, but the size to start with is the #2 round reed. The smaller size of round reed will break very easily even when wet, so not real good to learn on. Cherokees began making this type of basket in OK, after the Trail of Tears.


Well, I've learned quite a bit since first starting to weave these Cherokee Baskets.

So rather than going back and trying to update the instructions with more info, I decided to just add a blog on weaving tips.

This is the most up to date info.