Controlled Shaping

Pine Needle Coiled Baskets by Peg's Basketry Arnoldussen
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This information, including illustrations, and probably everything you will ever need to know about coiled basketry, is published in "Coiled Art with Pine Needles."

I tend to think mathematically, so this is how I understand shaping. First of all, a coil does not sit on top of another coil like 2 round logs sit on each other. The pine needle coil is not a rigid thing; it will shape itself to the coil beneath it. My little illustrations show this.

When I think of shaping, I perceive the needle as being the base line (bottom line) of a set of 2 perpendicular lines.Lines The other line runs through the center of the coil to be attached.2coils The red perpendiculars in the illustrations represent this relationship. Therefore, the angle of the needle will determine where the coil places relative to the previous coil.

I personally find it much easier to control my angle if I insert the needle from front to back of my basket. If, like me, you are one who likes to play with a variety of stitches, you will have to occasionally reverse the insertion to achieve a certain effect. This, however, is rare. It occurs when working the wheat stitch, if you want to alternate the direction of the "branch."

Coiling is not an exact discipline in the sense that mathematics is. CoilsPeople say, "Listen to your basket talk to you." This is true. It's doubtful you can achieve absolute perfection in shaping; however, you can control it more than it controls you. Concentrate on what direction you want a coil to go and how steep or shallow the angle. Then accept what you achieve in actuality. Don't cling to perfectionism, as it can defeat you so that you never complete an entire basket. I've seen this happen with my knitting students. Therefore, I always emphasize, "Effective fudging is a requirement for becoming a master of anything!"

I hope this has helped you.


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