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Basic Start Weaving a Pine Needle Basket

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." Figure eight starts are explained in detail in this book.


Pine needle basket making is often referred to as "weaving," but this is incorrect. Coiled baskets are stitched/sewn together. The start of a basket is worked using a type of lashing called a figure-eight, where the tightly spiraled coil is held together by wrapping the binding fiber around the coils in a figure-eight pattern. This is done only at the beginning, to hold a spiral together that circles about three times, after which actual stitching begins.


Because coiled basketry starts are the putsiest part of a pine needle basket, I like to tackle several at once. First I soak and prep the needles, pulling off the caps.


While the needles are still full of moisture, I do the starts, because the tight coils require very flexible needles. However, as the needles dry out again, they are better for the wider coils because dry needles won't shrink, resulting in a wobbly basket.


I do not use a gauge and I don't sit at a table when I do this. It's not necessary to work on a flat surface to achieve a flat bottom. Coil placement is everything.


Figure8 start

The figure eight start is explained well on one of the web pages I have linked to. At first, though, I did not understand from the instruction where I was to put that figure eight. After thinking about it for a while, the light came on -- so to speak. To the left is a cross section drawing of 2 coils being lashed together with a figure eight stitch. Do not stitch through a coil -- go between them. Wrap a few pine needles, form a spiral with them, then lash the spiral with figure eight stitches.


Rev.12Feb09



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