Artificial Imitation Simulated Sinew Use On Coiled Baskets

Pine Needle Coiled Baskets by Peg's Basketry Arnoldussen
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When I began coiling pine needles back in 1999, I stitched them with raffia and continued to do so, exclusively, for the first three years. I bought a spool of artificial sinew for a birch bark quill box project I was working on. When that was completed, I still had a lot of sinew left, so decided to try it on a coiling project. Big mistake!

I quickly realized that simulated sinew is much easier to use than raffia--so much so that I haven't touched raffia since. I'm still partial to the look of raffia, but that partiality isn't enough to entice me back to the raffia. Well, maybe someday... well, maybe not.

In working my first imitation sinew basket, I used the sinew without thinning it. On subsequent baskets, I have split it down into fifths, to produce very fine stitches. In every way, I use it just like raffia, including all the various pierced stitches. I have also used it for teneriffe, and have found that it works quite well for that. I have split it into fifths for all aspects of teneriffe work: knotting around the wire, stringing spokes, and the weaving. Sample basket. Splitting it on the spool works fine. It's not necessary to cut a long length and then split it apart.

Simulated sinew is rather sticky, which can be annoying at times; it is, after all, waxed nylon. The advantages more than compensate for the annoyance. One can work forever with a single strand, as it can be cut to very long lengths, eliminating frequent add-ins. It never breaks when pulling a snug stitch, or piercing a previously worked stitch. It will occasionally pill a bit; snip the pill off (don't cut the strand, though).


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