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Basketmaking and Seat Weaving 

All About Reed
The Country Seat, Inc. 1013 Old Philly Pike, Kempton PA 19529
610-756-6124 -

Click HERE for FAQ's about Ordering Supplies
Click HERE for FAQ's about Seat Weaving
Click HERE for FAQ's - Terms and Definitions
Click HERE for Weaving Tips

FAQ's about Basket Weaving
1/8" Flat Reed
  • Q: I have some patterns that call for 1/8" flat reed, where can I buy this?
A: 1/8" flat reed is not commercially available. The pattern authors are cutting 1/4" flat reed in half. You can do this or try 11/64" flat reed or try natural cane or bleached cane in the Medium (3 mm) size.
1/8" half round is available and is used for rims on miniature Nantuckets and other baskets, it can also be used as an interesting weaver. 1/8" / 3mm Flat Oval is available in 1/2 pound coils and can be used for many projects. It works great for weaving, lashing and wrapping handles!

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Adding a New Weaver
  • Q: I have never used round reed as the weaver before. To start/stop the weaver, do I just the old and new side by side for awhile, or do I push the old end down a spoke, as well as the new end?
A: The answer will depend on who you ask :o)
1) It is an accepted method to lay the ends side-by-side, on the inside of the basket, across a spoke (whether the basket is constructed entirely of round reed or just the weavers are round reed). The ends are generally cut on an angle so they lay as flat as possible.
2) You can taper each piece for a few inches and then weave the two as one (trapping the ends between the spoke and weaver).
3) The method that I personally use (because I hate to see ends of any kind and I feel that loose ends weaken the basket, esp. if it will be used with anything that can catch on those loose ends and break them, OK I'm off my soapbox) is to bury the ends into the weaving. The old weaver is brought in front of a spoke (#1) and is crimped or bent at a 90 degree angle (a bent-nose pliers works great) and the end is inserted, down into the weaving, to the left side of the next spoke or rib (#2) , the new piece is crimped and the end is inserted into the weaving to the right side of the previous spoke (#1) and brought behind the next spoke (#2) and out towards you and weaving continues as usual. This allows for a most natural looking joint.
The method that you use is really up to you and your preferences.
Flat and flat oval weavers are overlapped for the distance of 4 stakes, the ends are hidden between the weaver and the stake. It's always a good idea to shave down the end of the old flat oval weaver or the end of the new weaver (the shaved end is placed behind the unshaven weaver) so the overlap is less noticeable and bulky. See Overlapping Reed Ends for more joining information.

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Attaching Handles Before the Rim is Lashed in Place - Bushel Basket Handles, Push In "U" or Notched Handles, Swing Handles, Ears, Square "U" w/Center Grip etc.
  • Q: How do I attach these handles to my basket?
A: First look at your handle, does it have any kind of a ledge or notch near the ends of the handle?
If it does not and your handle has nothing to hold it into the basket you have an Un-notched "U" or "U" Shaped Handle, click HERE
for the information on attaching this style.
Now decide if the handle has a ledge (that the rim will sit on top of) or if the handle has a notch (sometimes called a "closed notch") that has a top and bottom that the rim will fit into.
Remember that Bushel Basket Handles will be placed against the inside or outside of the wall of the basket while the other styles will staddle or go across the top or opening of the basket and the tips are inserted to the inside of the basket.
Handles with a ledge: First look at the tips of the handle. They may need to be trimmed with a knife so they are thinner. Only the tips of the handle are inserted into the weaving, usually behind 1 - 3 rows of weaving. Every basket is different, so judge accordingly. This will stabilize the handle. If you try to force too much of the handle into the weaving, the basket will become distorted.
The inside rim is placed against the inside of the basket. The rim will lay tight against the handle and sit on top of the ledge. Attach the outside rim. Make sure the rim overlaps are not at the handle. Lash your rim. It always looks nice to "X" lash at the handle, even if you only single lash the rest of the basket. (When the lasher comes into the space before the handle spoke, do not bring it to the front (toward you), instead take the lasher behind the handle, up and out to the front on the right side. Bring the lasher across the rim in front of the handle and into the space on the left. Bring the lasher straight up and out to the front. Make the "X" by crossing the front of the rim (weaving to the right) and insert into the space on the right of the handle. Continue single lashing around the basket. Repeat on the other side.) Your handle is now held in place by the rim.

Handles with a notch: First look at the tips of the handle. They may need to be trimmed with a knife so they are thinner. Only the tips of the handle are inserted into the weaving, usually behind 1 - 3 rows of weaving. Every basket is different, so judge accordingly. This will stabilize the handle. If you try to force too much of the handle into the weaving, the basket will become distorted.
These handles are most commonly placed on the inside of the basket, but may be placed on the outside if it is pleasing to the eye.
The inside rim is placed against the inside of the basket. The rim will lay tight against the handle and sit into the notch. The notch may not be large enough for the rim. Two choices, cut the rim or cut the notch. In almost all cases it is easier to cut the rim material. With a sharp knife, trim just enough off the rim so that it fits snugly into the notch. You can taper the cut or confirm the cut to the exact shape of the notch.
Attach the outside rim. Make sure the rim overlaps are not at the handle. Lash your rim. See above for lashing suggestion.

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Cane - Different Types
Natural Cane
  • Q: I see that there are different types of cane, what can I use on a basket and what is used for chairs? Are they the same?
A: All cane (Hamburg & Natural) can be used for basketweaving while only the Natural (also called Long Select, Strand cane, Chair Cane, etc.) can be used for chairs.

The Hamburg cane (also called Bleached cane) goes through a bleaching process that makes the cane initially whiter in color (it will oxidize and darken over time just as all reed and cane does) and more flexible than Natural cane. It will take a dye more evenly than the Natural cane. Hamburg cane is available in 500 ft coils.
Hamburg cane sizes

Natural cane comes in different amounts - 25ft bundles, 500 ft coils (1/2 hanks or 1/2 coils) & 1,000 ft coils (hanks).
The 500 ft (1/2 coils) are designated as Nantucket Quality cane and should be more uniform in color, other than that there is no difference in the Natural cane other than the amount it comes in.
Natural cane sizes

Click here: Cane Comparison Chart to see a comparison chart for the different widths available and the hole sizes that they are appropriate for when caning a hand cane chair.

The widths of cane can be listed in different ways, it might be listed by a millimeter size or by a name. You may see 3mm or Medium cane, they are the same thing. Slab Rattan and Binder cane are still cane just wider widths (4mm up to 10mm wide).

Where does cane come from? It is the bark of the Rattan vine. Please see this page: All About Reed for more information about the Rattan vine, how it grows and how it is processed.

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Decorating Baskets
  • Q: I have seen many baskets over the Internet that have stenciling on them, but I can't find any information about the stenciling. Do you have any tips?
A: To stencil a basket you need a smooth, dry surface for the best results. If you use flat reed you may want to lightly sand it first. Our tulip poplar stencil strips, maple or thin ash work very nicely for stenciling.
We carry Paint Crayons which work on well on baskets since the paint will not run
. The method that works well on baskets is to rub the crayon on a palette (a piece of waxed paper, etc.) Then wearing disposable rubber gloves, dab the paint on the palette with your finger. Drug stores carry individual rubber fingers, called finger cots, that work great. The stencil needs to be held firmly against the surface to be stenciled, then just dab the paint from your gloved finger into the opening of the stencil using a tapping motion. Carefully lift the stencil away from the surface of the basket.
The stencil strip can also be stenciled before weaving it into the basket. It is kind of tricky to get the stencils in the proper position this way, though. You need to measure the spaces on your basket carefully, so the designs line up correctly or stencil a continuous design so the spacing won't matter.
Look for the mini stencils in the on-line catalog.

Rub-on Paint Designs
Another option for those of us who don't paint or stay in the lines very well, are the Rub-on Paint Designs in over 30 designs, many new smaller designs are available. These work like transfer letters. Just rub the pre-painted design onto the basket using a wooden popsicle stick. The rub-ons can be applied to handles as well as stencil strips.
Hint - when applying the transfer to a finished basket, place a hard surface (such as a coffee can or block of wood) on the inside of the basket for support.

Another option is to add dyed reed after the basket is finished. This includes curls, flower curls, trellis and embroidery designs, woven embellishments, etc. To see examples, check out the following patterns in the on-line catalog:
Decorations I & II by Olney and Designer Denim by Hawkins
Raspberry Pickin' Basket by Bright & Raspberry Tea by Kraayeveld
There are many, many, many more patterns with decorating ideas. Visit the on-line catalog and look around, don't forget to try the search feature with words like: curls, overlay, etc..

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Feet per Pound of Reed
  • Q: How much reed is in a pound?
A: The number of feet per pound of reed will depend on the size of the reed, the smaller the size, the more feet per pound. Here is a chart:
Approximate number of Feet per Pound
Size Flat Reed
Flat Oval
Half Round
11/64" 420 ft. 320 ft. 1/8" - 800 ft
3/16" 400 ft. 300 ft. N/A
1/4" 370 ft. 275 ft. 200 ft.
7 mm 300 ft. 250 ft. 125 ft.
3/8" 265 ft. 175 ft. 70 ft.
1/2" 185 ft. 90 ft. 30 ft.
5/8" 120 ft. 60 ft. 24 ft.
3/4" 90 ft. 35 ft. 18 ft.
7/8" 80 ft. N/A N/A
1" 75 ft. N/A N/A
N/A= Not available
Size Round Reed
#00 ~ 1mm 3,000 ft.
#0 ~ 1-1/4mm 2,200 ft.
#1 ~1-1/2mm 1,600 ft.
#2 ~ 1-3/4mm 1,100 ft.
#3 ~ 2-1/4mm 750 ft.
#4 ~ 2-3/4mm 500 ft.
#5 ~ 3-1/4/3-1/2mm 350 ft.
#5-1/2 ~ 4mm 200 ft.
#6 ~ 4-1/4/4-1/2mm 160 ft.
#7 ~ 5/5-1/4mm 135 ft.
#8 ~ 6mm 105 ft.
#9 ~ 6-1//7mm 90 ft.
#10 ~ 8mm 80 ft.
#12 ~ 10mm 35 ft.
N/A= Not available
Please remember that these numbers are approximate. The thickness or thiness of the reed will affect the total number of feet in a coil.
Always allow for waste. The pieces may be shorter or longer than the stakes that you need for a particular basket.
See How Much Reed is Needed to Weave a Basket for help deciding how much reed you need to order.

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Flat Bottoms
  • Q: I would like some suggestions on keeping the bottom of my baskets flat after they are made. I have soaked them and reshaped them but they do not always sit flat, they wobble a bit. What can I do?
A: This is a common problem in baskets made with overlapped and stapled "D" handles. For a square or rectangular basket, put 2 skids on the bottom running parallel to the handle nearest to the outside edges of the basket. Use flat oval the same width of your stakes and the length of the side of the basket and "X" lash in place with natural cane, bleached cane or flat reed. Shave down each end and slip it under the last spoke on the bottom that goes over the row where the skid is to rest. Not only will this level the basket, but adds support to the base of a basket. Stapled handles are the oldest style around, long before the new dovetailed kind being sold today. There are still many people who swear by them as being the best. Also, whereas the newer style handles are all machine made, the overlapped and stapled kind are splits peeled from a log, bent around a frame and allowed to dry in place. They are then stapled to hold their shape. Many times, they will list to one side after being removed from the frame, but usually can be rocked back to an upright position.
To level without runners,wet the bottom of the basket, place your thumbs to the inside of the corners and push up. Do this on each corner so the corners rest on the table. Push the center up, leave the basket upside-down to dry with a weight on the bottom.

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Getting Started
  • Q: I want to learn basket weaving, how do I get started?
A: The best way to start weaving is to purchase a kit, the directions and all the supplies are included. You won't have lots of supplies left over. A wide variety of baskets can be found in kit form.
Almost all the kits that we sell are geared toward beginner weavers. Try any of the Burgundy Hill Collection, Easy Country (enough materials to make two of the same baskets), Blue Ridge or Jadvick and new Coiled Kits.
If you are interested in a ribbed style basket, start with a Melon, then Potato. The only kits from the above collections that we wouldn't recommend starting with are: the Gran's Cotton, Stairstep, & Potato. These are all great baskets and the instructions are written for beginners, but it's best to develop some weaving skills before you try these baskets.
To view the kits we carry, please visit the secure on-line catalog.

Some good books to start with are: Basket Beginnings (a classic) by Grace Kabel, Pine Needle Basketry (coiling pine needles) by Mallow, Wicker Basketry (the round reed Bible) by Flo Hoppe, and many more - see the secure on-line catalog for a complete list of all the books we carry.

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Gourd Cleaning and Decorating
  • Q: How can I clean the outside of my dried gourds?
A: Run the gourd under warm water for a few minutes (or hold under water in a bucket), the outer epidermis will soften and you can start scraping it off. I mostly use a potters tool (bent metal - a round loop on one side and a squared loop on the other side). After the peeling, waxy layer is removed, let dry and sand with fine sanpaper if needed. Now I cut open the gourd. You may or may not have to clean the inside, just depends on the look you want. Sometimes the pulp is very smooth and attractive. I use the scraping tool again to clean the inside. You may want to dampen the pulp.
ALWAYS wear a mask while working with gourd dust.
Sometimes I use my dremel tool to finish cleaning the inside. You can use a variety of products to color a gourd, basketry dyes, acrylic paints, leather dye, etc. Experiment to see which you like best. Next time you dye reed, throw some gourd scrap in and see what they look like. I like inks and the reed dyes.

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Hen Baskets

A: You should have 3 round or oval hoops, one large, two smaller (this answer is based on 8" & 12" round hoops, written from the right-hand point of view). The larger hoop goes in the center (hoops A, B, C from left to right, side-by-side). Hold the 3 hoops in your left hand. Fold a very flexible, soaked weaver in half around the A hoop. This gives you a top weaver and a bottom weaver. The top weaver will be under hoop A and the bottom weaver is over hoop A. Start weaving with the bottom weaver. Go under hoop B and over hoop C. The weaver goes around and under hoop C and now over hoop B. The wrong side of the weaver will face up every other row. It's a good idea to choose the nicest, most flexible weaver to get started. Keep weaving back and forth, pulling hard on the weaver to keep the hoops close together. After 2" let the end hang and do the same for the other side, using your top weaver. Once the handle is finished (don't cut the weaver), put in your brace. The brace should be made from stiff, heavy card board no more than an inch wide by 9-1/2" long. Cut a V into each end. Pull apart the hoops and insert the brace so hoops A & C fit into the V cuts. Weave one more inch with each weaver. Now you are ready to insert the ribs.

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How Handles are Measured

A: The first dimension listed in the catalog is the length of the handle which is measured from the top of the notch on one side, up over the top of the handle and down the other side to the top of the other notch.
The overall length is the tip-to-tip measurement which includes the notches.
The width is simply the width of the wood.
The critical dimension is the spread. This is the horizontal distance from one side of the handle to the other. If the diameter of the basket is 10", you will need to order a 10" spread handle.
It can be a challenge determining the correct handle needed for a particular basket if the finished size of the basket isn't stated in the pattern. Sometimes it is easier to wait until the basket is partially woven before choosing a handle.
Handle Measurements

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How Much Reed is Needed to Weave a Basket
  • Q: I want to weave a basket, but the pattern doesn't tell me how much reed I will need. How do I know?
A: Our print catalog and on-line catalog list the approximate number of feet per one pound coil for each size of reed. For example: 1/2" flat reed has approximately 185 feet per one pound coil.
The way to approximate how much you need for a particular basket is to take the number of stakes times the length and divide by 12 to get the number of feet needed. For example: 5 stakes at 20" and 7 stakes at 18" = approximately 19 feet. Now divide 185 by 19 = 9 baskets.
For each size of reed on the sides of the basket, take the number of rows of weaving, times the diameter of the basket (add 4 inches to the diameter for the overlap) divided by 12 to get the number of feet needed. If you do not know the diameter of the basket, take the base measurement and add together. For example: the base measures 10" x 12", so take 10" + 10" + 12" + 12" = 44" + 4" overlap = 48" approximate diameter.

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How to Dye Reed

A: The directions for dyeing reed will vary slightly from dye to dye. The dye packet should include the specific instructions for that particular dye.
The general directions are: dissolve the dye powder in warm water and add to the dye pot.

Always dye reed in areas that cannot be hurt by spills.

It is best to use enamel, aluminum or plastic containers (use plastic only if the dye is a cold water dye). You will need a container that is large enough to allow the reed coil to loosen (so the dye can reach all parts equally). You will need a stir stick and tongs to lift the reed out of the water. You may need measuring tools (depending on the type of dye or if you are adding salt), a funnel to pour the dye into a glass container to save for future use (not all dyes can be saved, please read the instructions carefully), strainer (always strain the dye before storage or reuse to remove any mold, old reed hairs or dirt), a hot plate to heat dye bath (check grocery stores for portable, one burner hot plates).
Do not use your dyeing utensils and containers for food.

Always use a test strip to make sure the color is what you expected (here's a chance to use up the yucky pieces of reed).

The dye water should completely cover the materials to be dyed (see dye packet for specific amount of water to be added). Weight the materials down or agitate the materials every couple of minutes, usually, dye no more than one pound of reed at a time.

Keep the dye bath at a simmer for good color penetration and deepest color.
Leave the reed in the dye bath until the reed has reached the color you like (remember that the reed will dry to a lighter color), this could take 5 minutes or 2 hours. There will come a point where the reed will not change color any more, this is the extent of the color you will get from that particular dye. If you want a darker shade of the same color, add another dye packet, agitate well and let the dyebath simmer.

Remove the reed from the dye bath and rinse in cold water until the water runs clear. Soak the reed in hot water with Retayne for at least 20 minutes, agitate the reed several times. Retayne helps to lock the color into the reed. It reduces dye bleed during weaving. Retayne can be purchased at fabric or quilting shops.
If you have chemical allergies, please take extreme caution while dyeing reed!
Bleeding Reed on the Tips Page for more suggestions.

Remember that you can always add more water to a dye bath to lighten the dye, but if it's too light, you can't take water away.

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How to Dye Pine Needles

A: The directions for dyeing will vary slightly from dye to dye. The dye packet should include the specific instructions for that particular dye.
When dyeing pine needles you must use HOT/simmering water. Some people will bake them in the oven at a low temperature until they reach the color they want. Needles can also be placed in a dye pot on a burner and simmered until the desired color is reached.
Always remember to use an enamel or aluminium dye pot.
Either the Basketree or ACP brands will work (just use hot water with ACP dye not cold water).
Try dried green needles for lighter colors and brown needles for darker colors.
After dyeing, rinse the needles well in cold water. Soak the needles in hot water with Retayne for at least 20 minutes. Retayne helps to lock the color into the needles. It reduces dye bleed during weaving. Retayne can be purchased at fabric or quilting shops.

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How to Dye Seagrass

A: Seagrass can be dyed like reed but there are a few small differences. You must find any ends and secure them with rubber bands or twist ties or the strands will unravel during the dyeing process. Loosely tie string or long twist ties around the coil so that the coil may loosen and all parts will receive the dye but you do not want the coil to be loose or you will have a knotted mess at the end.
Dye the seagrass in a large pot at a low simmer with plenty of dye until it is the color that you like, this may take as long as 2 hours. Seagrass absorbs more dye than reed. I usually start with 2 packets of dye. Not all colors will work well since you are not working with a "white material".
Remember that the color will dry lighter than it appears when wet.

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Kid's Projects
  • Q: I'm in charge of the bible school craft projects this year, what is a good basket weaving project for kids?
A: For a quick, easy and cheap project; try the drilled wooden bases.
These are great for even the youngest children because you can set up the spokes ahead of time and the weaving can be done with colorful string, yarn, grasses or anything flexible. The top can be dunked into water and a simple rolled border added or the spokes can be pushed down into the weaving for a quick finish.
See the books: Basketry by Christopher and Earth Basketry by Tod for instructions on using drilled wooden bases.
5 ply birch bases - Round Round Drilled Base
3" (9 holes)    
4" (11 holes)    
6" (19 holes)     Oval Drilled Base
8" (23 holes)    
10" (29 holes)
(also available in oval and heart shaped)

Weave place mats from heavy paper or flat reed.
The pattern can be a simple plait of over 1, under 1 or more complicated twills depending on the age group. String can be used to stitch the edges of paper together or lash a "rim" in place.

See the free Carolina Candy Basket
pattern: Carolina Candy Basket: freepatterncandy.htm .

Weave around a Styrofoam cup.
Round reed can be inserted across the cup near the bottom. A base can be twined for a couple inches or start weaving up the sides right away, using the shape of the cup as a mold. After the weaving is finished and secured, break away the Styrofoam. Voila', a finished basket.
Try Plastic Strapping - no water needed. Plastic strapping works great in a hexagonal (or Shaker) weave or try diagonally plaited baskets. Will also work as a reed substitute or for placemats. Mostly white to gray in color, sometimes mixed color (blues, reds, yellows) bundles are available.

For more information and projects, please visit our Basket Weaving Projects for Children Page

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Lashing a Rim
  • Q: Is there a formula for determining the length of reed needed to lash a basket?
A: You can figure 2½ - 3 times the distance around the rim of the finished basket. To double lash (or X lash) the rim, figure 4 - 5 times the circumference of the basket.

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Marbled Strips
  • Q: Help, I bought some marbled strips of wood, now what do I do with them?
A: Please follow this link to see the patterns that we carry that use marbled strips: Marbled Patterns.

You can use the strip as is in many baskets around the center. Just use it to replace several rows of weaving in the center or above the center of the basket side.

If you want to cut it into more narrow strips, mark the backside with a pencil where you want to cut. Put the strip into water for about a minute. Dry off in a towel and use a scissors or rotary cutter, etc. to cut down the pencil marks. Always cut the strips while damp or they may decide where to split rather than where you want them to.

You can use them alone in a basket or sandwich them between a couple rows of dyed reed, totally up to your taste and preferences

If you'd like to try marbling wood strips yourself, the Marbling for Baskets and Fabric Pattern - by Venie Hinson gives all the directions and lists the supplies needed to marble fabric and wood strips.

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Moldy Reed/Baskets

A: Just soak the moldy reed in warm water with a little chlorine bleach. Rinse thoroughly and hang to dry in the sun. Usually that's all it takes to stop the growth of the mold. If any discoloring remains on your reed, use the reed in your next dark dye bath.

If your reed basket is moldy or has mildew spots, you'll need to take one or more of these steps:
Let the basket dry completely and brush off any residue with a stiff brush.
Wash the basket in warm soapy water with a stiff brush.
Wash the basket in warm water with a small amount of bleach added to the water, use a stiff brush on the moldy areas.
If the basket is discolored from the mold, over-dye the basket or use a stain such as Weaver's Stain in walnut, driftwood or black walnut.
In the future, always store baskets and basketmaking materials in paper bags or other containers that allow for air flow or make completely sure that the materials are bone dry and that no moisture can get into the containers. Mold forms very easily on reed and many other natural materials.

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Nantucket Materials

A: The size of materials is really based on personal preference. Some people prefer a finer, more delicate looking Nantucket , while others may like the rugged or antique look of a basket woven with larger sizes of cane. Here are our suggestions for the molds that we carry.
Staves are listed first/weavers second.
#00 - Medium/Carriage
#1  - 4mm/Carriage
#2  - 5mm/Carriage or Superfine
#3  - 5mm/Carriage or Superfine
#4  - 6mm/Superfine or FineFine
#5  - 6mm/FineFine or Fine
#6  - 6mm/Fine or Narrow Medium
#7  - 6mm or Slab rattan/Narrow Medium
#8  - Slab rattan/Narrow Medium or Medium
Remember, these are just suggestions. Try weaving on the same mold with different sizes to see what you like the best.
  • Q: How do I know how much material I will need to weave a Nantucket basket?
A: Here is a rough formula to figure out 6mm stakes (from Martha Lawrence's book Lightship Baskets of Nantucket): the diameter of the mold x 10 = ? + 1 to give an uneven number of staves. Now you must measure the approximate length of the staves x the number above and divide by 12 to give the number of feet.
Remember: your staves should be about 1/16" apart, you may have to add or subtract staves when you actually put them on the mold
In order to determine the approximate amount of weavers needed: count how many rows are in one inch x the number if inches of weaving x the circumference = ?, now divide by 12 to give the number of feet.
Carriage cane through Common cane is available in 1,000 foot hanks, 500 foot 1/2 hanks and 25 foot bundles. 4mm, 5mm and 6mm are available in 500 foot hanks. Slab rattan is available in 250 foot hanks.
Handle Suggestions:
#1  - 11" Plain Oak Swing Handle
#2  - 12" Plain Oak Swing Handle
#3  - 12" Plain Oak Swing Handle
#4  - 15" Plain Oak Swing Handle
#5  - 20" Plain Oak Swing Handle
#6  - 22" Plain Oak Swing Handle
#7  - 26" Plain Oak Swing Handle
#8  - 26" Plain Oak Swing Handle
Please keep in mind that these handles will not be sized correctly for a nesting set. You will have to adjust the height of the handle.

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How to use Weaver's Stain

A: Staining Tips:
Once your basket is completed and manicured, you are ready for the last step, which is staining.
Weaver's Stain is a tung oil enriched stain with a urethane resin that penetrates, seals and finishes reed, cane and wood baskets, while still allowing them to breathe. Weaver's Stain provides a more durable oil finish due to its urethane resin which allows for better resistance to water, abrasion and dirt. You will add to the lifetime of your basket by using Weaver's Stain to protect it, adding a beautiful luster and sheen at the same time.
Always stain outside or in a well ventilated area.
1). Turn basket over and spray bottom first.
2). Work your way up the outside of the basket to the rim. By this time stain has penetrated to the inside and you need only mist the inside of your basket.
3). Spray inside of your basket.
4). If you have a wood handle, spray the handle last and wipe with a cloth immediately. The longer the stain is on the wood handle, the darker the handle will be.
DO NOT spray the same area twice.
Once you start spraying, keep the basket and the can moving. Your basket needs only 1 coat of stain.
Should you get more stain on one end of your basket than the other, do not wipe it to even it. It will even itself when it dries.
If stain is dripping from your basket, you are using way too much stain, or you are too close to your basket.
If your basket is darker shade than normal, you are holding the can too close to our basket. The closer you hold the can to your basket the more intense the color.
You should be able to handle your basket after 15 minutes. However, let it dry 24 hours before actually using it.
Any odor will dissipate after a few days. If you let your basket dry outside, in the shade, the odor will disappear sooner (during warm weather only).
If it is damp or wet outside, it will take longer for your basket to dry. If possible bring your basket inside where it is warm and let it dry (place on a plain brown paper bag).
You may wish to use a wire coat hanger when staining. Open up the hanger and hook your basket to one end and hang from a tree. This way you can walk around your basket when staining.
We recommend that you take a large appliance box and cut the flaps out, set the box on its' side and you have a stain booth. Eliminates any over-spray problem.
Do not spray outside when it is below freezing, 32 degrees. The propellant breaks down in the cold and you are wasting your stain. You'll know when it is too cold, stain will come out in a stream.
If you have to spray a basket outside when it is below freezing, keep the can inside where it is warm. You may go out and spray your basket. Once the can becomes cold you will notice a stream of spray. STOP. Go back inside the let the can become room temperature again, then you may go out and finish your basket.
Do not spray on a windy day.
Do not spray next to your husbands new car or next to your vinyl siding.
When finished, turn your can upside down and press nozzle for 1 or 2 seconds. This will allow the propellant to clean the cylinder and nozzle.If you do not clear the nozzle each time you use the stain the nozzle will clog and not allow the stain to spray.

If the nozzle clogs, and it is a wide nozzle with a fat finger pad, you can remove this nozzle and soak it in mineral spirits for 15 minutes and rinse with water and place back on can.
A fuine gauge wire can also be pushed up into the base of the nozzle to clear the clog.
If this does not work, try changing the nozzle from a can that sprays well to a can that is clogged.

The number of baskets stained from one can will vary from weaver to weaver and how experienced the weaver is with the stain.
It also depends on how light or dark a weaver wants the baskets. However, once a weaver gets a handle on the technique, they should be able to stain:
approx 20+small baskets
approx 8 to 12 medium baskets
approx 6 to 8 large baskets
per can
Information provided by: The Weaver's Stain Family
reprinted with permission

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How to use Willow Peel

A: Willow peel is willow. It has been debarked and cut into strips (similar to skeined willow but thicker and not not near as flexible). It is off-white in color and the width can vary slightly.
Willow peel should be soaked in hot water before use or mellowed (wet briefly and wrap in damp towel until flexible enough for use). Soaking will cause more shrinkage to occur than if it is mellowed.
Willow peel can be used as an accent, lasher, wrapping handles, anywhere that skeined willow is used, or on ribbed baskets.
You may want to scrap off some of the pith (inside of the plant) that is on the underside of each piece, especially if you plan to use it as a lasher.
Willow peel is flexible, but not in the same way as reed, due to the uneven thickness of the pith.
Try these books:
The Handmade Basket Book - Board

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Natural Walnut Stain

A: Making walnut stain is really very easy.
If you have a place to work and don't have to worry about splashing the stain, boiling is the fastest way to get a good, dark stain.
Place the walnuts into a pair of pantyhose, tie a knot at the top of the leg. Fill each leg if you like. Or put them into a cheesecloth bag or some type of bag that will let the water reach the nuts but not let the dirt, etc. into the stain water.
There is no need to remove the skins (unless you want to eat the nuts or cut them into slices for coiling, etc.).
Place a leg or two into an enamel pot of boiling water. Boil until you get the intensity of color you desire. You may have to add more water. This may take a little while, don't forget you have the pot on the burner! Once you have a color you like, hang the pantyhose outside to drip & dry. Remember - walnut stain will stain anything and is a permanent stain.
There is no need to add a mordant to walnuts.
Pour the stain into a bucket with a lid (plastic buckets that hold cat litter work great) and use until gone. Occasionally, dip a strainer in to catch the hairs & dirt that comes off the basket. Store in a cool place such as a basement or garage. My boiled stain never gets moldy as long as the lid is kept tightly on the container between uses.
The walnuts in the pantyhose can be reused at least several times. Just make sure they dry out completely after boiling or they will get moldy.
There are other slower ways to make a walnut stain: letting them soak in water, adding ammonia, keeping them outside in garbage cans filled with water, etc. If you do the slow soak, you may want to add several bags of walnuts to get a good color faster.

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Newbie - Where do I start?

A: There are a wide variety of methods for gathering information so you can pick what will work best for you. Instructors can give you shortcuts based on their years of weaving experience. Kits give you the information for one specific basket. Books generally cover a range of information about a specific style of weaving. You can follow the patterns in the book or study the techniques and branch out on your own.
1) Teachers: Check our
Guild Pages for a Guild or weaving group in your area. Many groups hold weaving sessions with teachers from inside the group or they bring in teachers to lead classes. We also have a Teacher's Page. There might be a teacher in your area. If you do not have luck with either of these resources, try Artisan and Craft Guilds in your area or state. Pennsylvania has the PA Guild of Craftsmen, a great resource when trying to locate a producer or instructor of craft in PA and surrounding areas. Check the continuing or adult education classes at your local community or state colleges. Many will hold once a semester basket weaving courses taught by local instructors.

2) Kits: Kits contain all the materials needed to weave a particular basket and instructions with a lot of information for a beginner weaver. Kits are a great way to try out basket weaving without investing a lot of money and space before you know if you enjoy it or not.
While most all of our kits are geared for beginners, here is a list of some of the best kits for beginners.
Doval kit ("D" handle attached to a oak base) & Floval kit ("D" handle attached to a oak base) - Great beginner baskets!
Wine Basket kit - Great basic shape.
Melon Basket kit - Best first ribbed basket.
Shaker Cat Head kit - Don't be put off by the shaping involved with this kit. It is a basic shape and no big deal if you don't get the cat's head shape the first time around. A great basket no matter what the shape.
Casserole Basket kit - Includes enough materials for 2 baskets - great summer project with the kids!
Catch-all Basket kit - Includes enough materials for 2 baskets - great summer project with the kids!
Muffin Basket kit - Includes enough materials for 2 baskets - great summer project with the kids!
Gift Basket kit - Good small market basket.
Market Basket kit - Good small market basket.
Wall Basket kit - Similar to a weed basket.
Quill Basket kit - Introduction to continuous weave.
Little Tote kit - Good small tote basket.

3) Books: The best book for you will depend on what type of weaving you are interested, but here is a list of some books with important information for beginners and a wide range of information about specific styles of weaving.
Antler Baskets & Gourds:
Antler Art for Baskets and Gourds - Sloan - Enhance your gourd vessel or basket with antlers. Step-by-step instructions, learn how to drill, frame, and attach antlers to baskets, gourd bowls, floor vases, and even masks. Twenty projects for the beginner to advanced weaver.
Coiled Basketry:
Coiled Designs for Gourd Art Book - by Catherine Devine - Step-by-step coiling techniques, as well as some patterns, will help the gourd enthusiast to use coiled wax linen and color thread designs in their work.
Pine Needle Basketry - by Mallow - Complete step-by-step instructions along with over 150 photos and illustrations take even the beginner through the process of making one of more than 40 patterns in this book.
General Basket Weaving:
Basket Beginnings - by Kabel - Learn all the basics with 9 easy to make patterns.
Baskets, Baskets, Baskets Book 1 - by Rohkohl - A good beginner book of mostly flat reed baskets with some round reed accents.
How to Make Baskets, Set of 10 Books - by Siler & Kemp - Complete set of How to Make Baskets Books 1 -10. Complete instructions and detailed illustrations to make 30 baskets from beginner to advanced.
The Complete Book of Gourd Craft - by Summit & Widess - Includes information about growing, drying, and cleaning gourds, and describes more than 55 ways you can decorate them, using stains, paints, carving, wood burning, basketry, decoupage and other approaches.
Weaving on Gourds by Marianne Barnes - Combine basket weaving and gourd art. With 200 color images and step-by-step directions, five projects are presented for both the beginner and advanced weaver.
Nantucket Baskets:
Lightship Baskets of Nantucket - by Lawrence - A chronicle of the history and makers with color photos that detail construction and detail. Includes easy-to-follow, step-by-step illustrated instructions.
Jewelry & Woven Wearables (as well as great accents for gourds, baskets, etc.):
Fabulous Woven Jewelry - by Hettmansperger - Plaiting, Coiling, Knotting, Looping (knotless netting) & Twining with Fiber & Metal.
New Age Looping by Donna Kallner - Looping (also called knotless netting) is a living legacy from the Stone Age that contemporary fiber artists give their own spin. Looping creates a fabric so stable it will not unravel.
Naturals: Old New England Splint Baskets - by McGuire - Black ash splint baskets and the process involved in making them from selecting a tree to signing the completed basket.
Plaited Basketry with Birch Bark - by Vladimir Yarish, Hoppe & Widess - PACKED with information including the history and tradition of Russian birch bark weaving, harvesting and preparation instructions. plaited and plain weaving general basket weaving instructions, diagonally plaited & double woven traditional Russian birch bark weaving as well as solid canister construction - 18 projects.
Ribbed Baskets (melon, egg, etc.):
Rib Baskets - by Finley - Complete instructions with extensive color photos and diagrams to make a wide variety of rib construction baskets including melon, wreaths, doll cradles and twelve other traditional and modern styles.
Round Reed:
Wicker Basketry - by Hoppe - Fully illustrated instructions for 24 baskets with all the information you will need to design and make original baskets. Most comprehensive and concise book written on round reed weaving for the beginner to advanced weaver.

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Overlapping Reed Ends

A: Each row should overlap at a different spot on the basket. If the basket has 4 sides, turn the basket 1/4 turn before starting the next row. This keeps bulk, from the overlap, from building up and creating a weak spot. Try to never overlap around a corner. If the basket is round, keep about 2-4 spokes in between each overlap. So again, you're turning the basket after you finish a row. Always overlap the ends for 4 spokes. It's OK to cheat with 2 if the weaver just won't reach, but not 2 consecutive rows. A 4 stake overlap is always stronger than 2. If you are weaving with a thick piece of flat reed or flat oval, always shave the start of each piece or the end of the old weaver (the shaved end is placed behind the unshaven weaver). The overlap will be much less noticeable.

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Pack Basket Straps

  • Q: Where can I get pre-made back pack straps?
A: Back Pack Straps may be purchased from:
LL Bean, Inc.
Freeport, ME 04033
Ask for the Harness System - Not available through their catalog. Ask for retail store item: number 5C443 for a green strap that fits a 24 inch large pack basket.

Back Pack Harness made from Cotton Straps or Leather are available on These harnesses are made to fit the Adirondack Pack Basket pattern by Lisa Nortz. These are completed harnesses available from a company not affiliated with The Country Seat, Inc. Please see for prices. We are offering this link as a service to our customers. We make no promises or guarantees regarding theses products. Please contact directly if you have questions about their products.

If you would like to make your own cotton harness, please see the Shaker Tape choices.
Bachelor buttons or rivets, to secure the harness straps, may be purchased at your local fabric store or hardware store.

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Reed Scraps

  • Q: What can I do with all these small pieces of reed?
A: Reed scraps tend to multiply very quickly. Here are some solutions:
If the reed is small in width (11/64", 3/16", 1/4"), try looking for patterns for small or miniature baskets. See books such as: Mini Memories I & II and patterns such as: Miniature Baskets by Richards and the Mini Marathon Collections II & III by Gibson. Type the word miniature in the search box of our On-line catalog for more patterns. These small sizes can be the weavers or the stakes for small baskets. Try the mini wire handles on small baskets for ornaments or favors.
Small Puffy hearts or Swedish sraes can be woven with thin strips that are 6-8" long.

If the reed is short but wide, try using it with a slotted base. Many patterns call for short stakes. Depending on the size of the base, you may need many short pieces of reed.
Short pieces of round reed (#4, 5, 6, 7, and larger) or spline can be used to make bushel basket handles for miniatures up to full size baskets. Short pieces of round reed can also be used as spokes with slotted bases or drilled bases.
Use shorter thin and flexible pieces to create curls on small sections of a basket. Make patterns with the curls or flowers.
Try a pattern with French Randing. This technique uses short pieces (usually dyed), one for each stake, woven on an angle. Please see French Randing section on this page.
If you just can't figure out a use for the scraps, cut them up into tiny pieces and add them to your compost pile or mix them right into your existing mulch.
The thinner materials might be welcomed by birds when building their spring nests!

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Reed - What is it?

  • Q: What is reed made of and where does it come from?
A: Visit our Basketry Reed Page for pictures and information on the growing, harvesting and producing of reed. You'll also find more information about Seagrass, Antler Laws in PA and dyeing paper rush.

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Help - I got reed that's very thick or very thin,

  • Q: What do I do with it?
A: Just because you received a coil of reed that doesn't meet your immediate needs doesn't make it a bad coil of reed. Brittle or splitting reed is bad, too thick or too thin reed is just not what you need at that time. Someone else may be desperately looking for exactly what you have.

A good coil of reed should have pieces of varying thickness, some thicker, some thinner. This give you weavers and stakes.

Please don't throw away thicker pieces of reed! They are perfect for stakes and the very thickest pieces are great for rims.

Even the short pieces 6" or longer are great for slotted bases and the heavier, thicker pieces make the best spokes.

Even the super paper thin pieces are perfect for plaited ornaments like the reindeer. I've been making larger ones with 3/8 and 5/8" flat and they are a lot of fun.

It can be frustrating when you don't have the right piece of reed for the project that you are working on but if you keep what doesn't work for the current project, you will have what you need the next time.

We're happy to look for "longer lengths" or "thin and flexible", etc. just let us know. We'll do our best.

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The Right Side vs. the Wrong Side of Reed

  • Q: I have made several baskets and seem to have the most trouble determining the right side of small sizes of reed (1/4" and smaller). Is there any trick to this?
A: The smaller the reed, the harder is is to tell the right from the wrong. But, that can be a good thing - it means that you have good reed :)
Best advice is to bend a piece around your finger while the reed is dry. The wrong side should show raised hairs. Or try bending a dry piece in half (do it near the end so as to not waste too much reed) one way will probably crack more than the other. Often times, the smaller reed will have a side with slightly rounded edges and a side with sharp edges. The good side is the one with the slightly rounded edges.
If you still can't tell, don't worry about it. Both sides are probably equally as good. Once the reed is wet it's harder to determine which is right/wrong. Try putting a little pencil mark on the wrong side before you put the reed in the water to soak.

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Rim Fillers

  • Q: What is rim filler?
A: Rim filler is any material used between the rim pieces of a basket.
It is inserted after the stakes are tucked down and before lashing the rim. It is used to conceal the cut and bent edges of the tops of the stakes, but can be omitted. Round reed or seagrass is commonly used as rim filler. Try braiding round reed or seagrass strands are other possibilities. The size or thickness of the filler depends on the space between the rim pieces.
Always allow extra length in case of error. It can be adjusted right before you lash over the joint. If you place the filler joint just to the left of your rim overlaps (when lashing to the right), it will be easier to adjust.
How to join rim filler for the least visible ends:
Round reed ends should have a long taper and then be overlapped. The lasher should cover the overlap as much as possible.
Seagrass ends can be twisted together to create a seamless rope. Leave at least 2-4 inches of overlap. Lash the rim until you are near the filler overlap. Untwist each side. You may loose a few short pieces, nothing to panic about. Now twist together one end from each side. When you are happy with the results, trim off excess and make sure that the lasher covers any ends.
Baskets with handles - the rim filler can be cut so that it lays tight against the handle, an X lash at the handle will cover these ends. The filler can also continue around the basket, laying in front of or behind the handle, whichever works best. Secure ends like above.

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Seagrass, Sweetgrass, same thing?

  • Q: Seagrass, Sweetgrass, what are they? Aren't they the same thing?
A: NO!!!

There are many grasses and long leaves that are commonly used in basket weaving including bullrushes, cattails, iris leaves, rye straw, etc. If the grass or long leaves do not crumble when dried it's a good bet that you can coil or weave with it.

Many grasses are not strong alone but in a coiled bundle are very sturdy.

Charleston are Gullula baskets are woven from a marsh or dune grass commonly called "Sweetgrass". needle rush (Juncus romanearus)

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Shaping Baskets

  • Q: How can I get the shape I want?
A: It is very important to choose the right materials for the job. As a general rule, the stakes should be stiffer and heavier and the weavers should be flexible and of a light weight, ESPECIALLY if you are using the same size reed for your stakes and weavers.

Stakes are like children: they need constant, gentle attention. Gently push them or pull them where they should be each row. The weaver snakes around the stakes and should not cause the stakes to bend around the weaver (unless the pattern specifically calls for that effect). Keep a constant spacing between the stakes: continually widening the space if you want the basekt to flare or continually lessening if you want the basket to decrease in diameter.

Here is a wonderful article written by Judith Olney - a master at the art of hand shaping baskets and author of patterns such as Denty Baskets.

The Dynamics and Practice of Freehand Shaping
By Judith Olney

Making an evenly shaped basket involves a great deal more than hand movement.

Part 1: Choosing the Correct Weight Materials
Shaping begins with choice of materials. The stakes must be the correct weight (thickness and stiffness) for the size and proposed use of the basket. Weavers are usually thinner and more flexible than the stakes, but not so thin and flexible as to be overwhelmed by the strength of the stakes. As a general rule, the smaller the spaces between the stakes are, the thinner and more flexible the weaver should be. When the spaces between the stakes are large, strong and thicker weavers are required to hold the stakes in place and maintain the shape of the basket.
Shaping continues in the mind of the basketmaker. Good shaping demands knowing and understanding what determines shape and how the elements used in constructing the basket interact to produce the conditions necessary to achieve a desired shape.

Part 2: Making the Spaces Even
Shape has two components: the position of the stakes and the size of the spaces between them. If you have chosen your stakes carefully they should be equal to each other in their widths and weight. The variable in the shape of a basket is the spaces between the stakes. when the spaces are kept even throughout the weaving process, the resulting basket will be evenly shaped. When the spaces are closer on one side of the basket and correspondingly farther apart on another, a curved basket will have bulges and flat places; a flared basket will list to one side. Closely spaced stakes turn upward and change direction much more readily than stakes with distance between them. No amount of adjustment to the finished basket can ever make a basket with unevenly spaced stakes appear well shaped. Evenly maintained spaces in combination with properly conceived and executed weaving techniques produce well shaped baskets.

Part 3: Rows of Weaving Should Touch Each Other
Correct weaving for shape has its own particular mind set. Throughout the weaving of any basket, think of placing each stake in its proper position then placing the weaver on the stake in such a way as to hold it in that position. To do this it is necessary to understand how weavers hold stakes in place. Twining holds stakes the best of all weaves because the two twiners "lock" as they pass each other traveling in and out between each stake. The over/under strokes of plain weave do not lock the stakes in place. The ability of plain weave to hold stakes in place can be enhanced by carefully making certain that each weaver touches the previous waving every time it passes in or out between the stakes. That touch is the closest over/under weaving can come to the "lock" of twining. When a weaver does not touch the existing weaving, the stakes are not necessarily held in place: they, and the entire basket, can easily become distorted. Because the weaver passes over and under groups of stakes in twill weaves, the need for it to touch the previous weaving becomes even more critical.

Part 4: Don't Pull That Weaver!
It is rarely, if ever, necessary or useful to pull on a weaver to achieve a change of direction while weaving a basket. The forces that result from pulling on a weaver are much too variable to be consistent with precise shaping techniques. The degree of dampness in both the stakes and the weaver, the amount of space between the stakes, and the type of weave being used all influence the distance tension from a pull can travel around a basket. If both the stakes and weaver are fairly dry and there is space between the stakes, a pull can tighten the far side of the basket. Even if the stakes and weaver are both quite damp, a twill weave can allow tension from pulling to travel farther than intended. Damp, close-spaced stakes in combination with plain over/under weaving and a damp weaver can cause a healthy pull to have little or no effect.

Part 5: Turning the Basket Up or In
Manipulating the stakes and using the weaver to hold them concentrates all of the changes in shape immediately under the fingertips and right in front of eyes. The actual technique for turning a basket inward is far simpler than the conceptual considerations that precede its use would indicate. The over stroke of weaving controls inward or upward changes of direction. Push inward on each stake in turn as the weaver passes over it. This is accomplished more easily with finesse than force. Choose a moderately stiff weaver if the spaces between stakes will permit it. Spritz the unwoven part of the stakes if they feel stiff. Pushing inward on the outside stakes lessens the distance the weaver needs to travel between the backs of the two stakes on either side of the pushed in stake. The effect is the same as pulling: less weaver is placed in the basket. The effect, however, involves only the pushed stake. The force of the push is determined by the intended shape of the basket. If the turn inward is to be abrupt, push almost to horizontal; if the turn is to be more gradual, push correspondingly less. As the shaping continues, the push will ever more vigorously approach horizontal. After a round of pushing in on the outside states and placing just enough weaver over them to hold them, there should be a distinct difference of angle between the stakes that have been pushed and those that have not. Ideally the pushed stakes will maintain their angle while the pushed stakes from the next round lean even farther into the basket. As the stakes turn ever more inward and the spaces between them become smaller, the weaver must be increasingly thinner and more flexible.
To avoid pitfalls, make certain that the pushed stake bends inward right at the top of the previous row of weaving. Under no circumstances should pushing in on the stake involve the existing weaving. If the stake merely leans inward pulling weaving with it when pushed, the basket will merely lean inward. If the top part of the weaving also bends inward when the stake is pushed on or below the top row of weaving, the area to be woven is actually stretched so that the diameter of the basket will continue to expand. The area to be woven also stretches if the stake is pushed past horizontal.
Over/under baskets with stakes that are far apart and twill baskets are more difficult to turn up or in than over/under baskets with normally placed stakes. In both cases the existing weaving almost always bends with the pushed stake. Supporting the stake that is being pushed by holding it against the last row of existing weaving will force a bend at the top of that row and facilitate the change of direction. Using the stiffest weaver allowed by the stake spaces on the rows just before the change of direction will also aid in shaping these baskets.

Part 6: Flaring the Basket Out
The under stroke controls the weaving of outward flaring baskets and outward changes of direction. Generally this type of shaping is much more difficult than turning a basket inward because of most basketmakers' innate tendency to pull on the weaver. Flaring a basket outward requires absolutely no tension on the weaver. The stakes are merely held at the desired angle while the weaver is made to curve around over and under them. To turn a basket outward, reverse the process described above for turning it inward: pull each inside stake outward at the desired angle and place the weaver under it to hold it in place.

Part 7: Straight Sided Baskets
Straight sided baskets are shaped more like baskets that flare outward, especially since it is usually necessary to hold the stakes of a straight sided basket slightly outward as they are woven. The spaces between the stakes still determine the shape. A space the same size as the other spaces in the basket must be developed at each corner. The weaver should move in and out, over and under the stakes holding them in place, but never binding or bending them. The wider the weaver is, the more it becomes imperative that the weaver touch the previous weaving and bend as it moves in and out between the stakes.
Ed. Note - original note from the Northeast Basketmakers Newsletter: Judy writes: "This article is not under copyright, so anyone may use it, but I would, out of curiosity, like to know when and how it is used." If you reprint this in any way, please contact Judy and tell her how you used it.

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Size Changes

  • Q: How do I know how long the stakes should be if the pattern calls for one size "D" handle but I want to use a different size?
A: Keep this rule in mind: the length of your stake is determined by adding the width of the base plus 2 times the height desired plus an extra 6" (for tucking the stakes).
If you are using a larger handle than in the pattern, make sure you add extra stakes both horizontally and vertically (otherwise your stakes will be too far apart and you will be left with a weak base and basket).

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Spoke Bottom Baskets

  • Q: I'm stumped on how to control all the spokes when starting an apple basket, and how do you add the 2nd set of spokes when it is a double bottom?
A: The Weaving Table is helpful for this type of base. It has one inch grid lines running vertically and horizontally and also a 1 inch circular grid. This is very helpful when the pattern says "twine to 4 inches", no need to measure, just count the rings.
There is a hole in the center for a T-pin. The T-pin is inserted through the first set of spokes. Twine or weave as far as the pattern calls for. The weaving table has a "lazy Susan base" so that it revolves. No need to slide the base, just turn the table.
(This also works great for wooden slotted bases. I use sticky putty to hold the wood base stationary, insert all the stakes and start weaving. After the weaving is stable, the base can be removed and you continue up the sides.)
When it is time to add the second set of spokes, remove theT-pin. You can leave it out or replace it as you add the new spokes. Do not try to add all the spokes at one time. Keep them in a pile next to you. Lay one across the base so that it sits in between two original spokes. Twine/weave around the new spoke and twine/weave around the next original spoke. Now add another new spoke, twine/weave around this one and the original spoke next to it. Continue twining/weaving in this manner until all the new spokes have been added. When you have gone once around, all the new spokes will be held in place. You can continue twining/weaving, using the grids on the weaving table as a guide. It will also help you see if you are twining/weaving in a perfect circle or if the base is lopsided. Small square and rectangular baskets can also be laid out on the weaving table. The grids will measure for you and help to keep the base "trued". The twining or retainer row can be woven while the base is on the weaving table. The table will turn so the base doesn't drag on the table. Sometimes a stake can pull out of place while the base is turned for this first row. You don't need to worry about that on the weaving table.
When it is time to indent the base, try using your knee for pressure or try weaving around your knee. Some baskets call for a large or "kicked in" bottom and others have just a slight indentation so that they sit well. The large "kicked in" bottom was very useful for fruit baskets. The fruit didn't roll all over the bottom of the basket and the weight was distributed evenly.

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How Many Spokes for Slotted Wooden Bases?

  • Q: How do I know how many spokes to insert into a slotted wooden base?
A: How to figure approximate number of spokes for slotted bases:

Measure the circumference of the base.
Multiply by .25 (for 1/4" space between spokes) and round this off to the next highest number (ex: 6.25 becomes 7).
Subtract this number from the circumference and divide the balance by the width of the reed for the spokes (ex: 1/2" = .5).
Remember, you want to have an even number of spokes for start stop weaving, odd number for continuous weave so you may have to subtract one spoke from your total.

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Tools - What do they do?

  • Q: What are all the tools, listed in your catalog, used for?
A: Everyone you ask will have their favorite tools and your tool kit will depend on what style and kind of weaving you prefer. You won't need all the tools listed, but be careful - collecting tools is addictive!
Here are some great tools to get you started:
Basket Shears (they are strong enough to trim your rose bushes and cut half round reed but fine enough to trim the hairs after the basket is finished)
Packing Tool - Weaverite™ H (used in place of the thumb or finger nails - tip - weave the sides of the basket, allow to dry, pack down the rows, rewet the top of the stakes and tuck - this will result in a stronger basket)
Stanley 1/4" x 6' Pocket Tape Measure (helpful for measuring stakes or the overall size of a finished basket, etc.)
Flat tipped awl Weaverite™ B or D (used to create space when tucking stakes into weaving, lashing rims, adding curls, weaving round reed rims, etc.)
Eversand Pads 1400 (Coarse/Medium) & 1401 (Fine/Extra Fine) (can be used wet or dry, each pad has 2 different grits to sand any exposed handle areas, or rough pieces of reed, etc. )
Stanley Surform Shaver (to taper edges of the overlap on flat oval rims - works best on dry reed)
1" or 1/2" opening Rubber Tipped Clamps and Hippo Clamps (to hold a rim in place while lashing, holding the corner stakes together while weaving the first several rows of the side, holding the end of a weaver in place until the overlap is woven, 1/2" Clamps are good for ornaments like the Puffy Ash Heart and Swedish Star, etc.)

Here are some more great tools and some of their advantages in weaving:
Platoshear Diagonal Cutters (great for cutting inside stakes flush with the last row of weaving, trimming the ends on the inside of a basket in round reed work). Plato is the name of the original manufacturer and this tool is also known as a "flush-cutter", "diagonal cutter", "knot cutter", etc.
Scissors Guards (covers the sharp blades of your scissors (fids, awls, plato shears, etc.), protects the scissors and you)
Spoke Weight - the basketmaker's third hand! (works great to hold stakes in place while weaving in the other direction, also works to measure small items and true your woven base)
Wood Handled Awl
5" Plastic Handled Awl
( awls are used constantly for round reed weaving, creating space, etc. The Fid was originally used for making cordage, the diamond shape lends it to creating openings.)
Brass Reed Gauge (sliding gauge accurately measures reed in inches and millimeters at the same time)
Plastic Reed Gauge (not as accurate, but an inexpensive measuring tool, pre-formed spaces and holes for flat, flat oval, half round & round reed)
Weaving Table (circular and square 1" grid makes laying out square or round spoked bases easy, revolving base aides in the weaving of round spoked bases, no more turning the basket base - just turn the weaving table, center hole for T-pin (included))
Lash Buddies (Aides in lashing baskets, allows the lasher to slide on the grooved metal rather than against the reed, string with beads helps to easily find the Lash Buddies)
EZ Lasher & Mini EZ Lasher (A great tool that works like a needle to aid in lashing rims. The lasher material sticks in the tip of the EZ lasher, no more frayed ends! It is made from Grade 304 Stainless Steel. According to the steel industry: Grade 304 has excellent corrosion resistance in a wide range of media. It resists ordinary rusting in most architectural applications. It is also resistant to most food processing environments, can be readily cleaned, and resists organic chemicals, dye stuffs and a wide variety of inorganic chemicals.)
Reed Cutters (good for rough cutting, cuts fiber rush well)
T-Pins (hold spokes in place, works great with the Weaving Table)
Black Basket Thread & Natural Basket Thread (used to hold hoops together until Gods eye is finished, lashing twill or other baskets with small spaces between stakes)
All the Weaverite™ tools (various uses: lashing, packing, adding overlay spokes or weavers (the long tools are great for plaid baskets), adding curls, tucking spokes, making spaces, weaving round reed rims, adding embellishments, etc. X, Y & Z are wonderful for minatures, waxed linen and Nantuckets)
All the tools are pictured in the secure on-line catalog.
Bob-EEZ Bobbins are good for rangling threads (the small bobbin) and round reed (large bobbin).
To protect your fingers try: Finger Tape, Leather Whales & Needle Grabbers.

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Turning Down Stakes

  • Q: What do I do when the stakes crack while turning them down?
A: Let a basket dry thoroughly. Pack rows to eliminate any gaps (makes a stronger basket). Rewet just the top of the stakes (to the top of the basket, don't rewet the basket). Cut off the stakes that are to the inside of the rim row. Rewet other stakes if necessary. Bend the spokes flat against the inside of the basket. Cut to a length that the end will be hidden behind the weaving. Snip off the corner (just a little bit) of each side of the stake ends. Hold the basket so you are looking to the inside, use a flat tipped awl to gently hold the weaving away. Tuck stake into space and push down on the bend to force stake all the way down. Trim bended area (the Platoshear Diagonal Cutters works great for this) to remove any reed that might have cracked off. This is normally covered by the rim filler, so it doesn't matter what it looks like. Only worry about the spokes cracking if the stake actually breaks off.

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Un-Notched "U" Handles

  • Q: The un-notched "U"s seem like an economical handle choice, but how do you secure them? Don't they just pull right out of the basket?
A: Examples of this type of handle are Handle Fillers, Bamboo or Oak Un-notched "U" Shaped Handles. There are several different ways to secure the un-notched "U"s in a basket:
  • Make 2 small "V" cuts on opposite edges of the handle where the top of the rim will be. Make an "X" lash around the handle and the lasher will catch in the handle cuts.
  • Wrap the handle with reed or cane, anchoring the wrapping material under the rim. See the book Fancy Handles for 16 different ways to wrap a handle.
  • Glue or tack handle in place.

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Where to Store Reed

  • Q: What is the best way to store reed?
A: To prevent the growth of mold and mildew, reed should not be stored in a damp location such as a basement. Of course, if the room it is stored in is too dry, such as an attic or next to a wood stove, the reed will become brittle. Paper grocery bags, cardboard boxes or plastic milk crates work well for storing reed. They can be easily labeled with the size and type of reed and if there is any dampness in the reed it should evaporate.

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Wire Handles & Hangers

  • Q: How are the wire hangers used?
A: Wires are most commonly used as hangers for wall baskets. Place the horizontal bar of the wire on top of the last row of weaving. Hold in place with a 1/2" rubber tipped clamp. Tuck down the stakes over the wire and into the weaving as usual and apply the rim. Make sure the the horizontal bar is hidden in the rim and the lasher goes completely around it. The wire will be held securely in place after lashing the rim.
The bean pot and jelly wires are usually attached over the center spokes of the basket with wire eyelets (separate loops of wire). Only the horizontal bars of the eyelets are lashed into the rim. The eyelets enable the handle to swing.
A few types of jelly and bean pot wires do not have a pre-bent loop. These handles with the straight ends can be attached in several ways:
1) Using a pair of bent-nose pliers, bend the bottom into a loop and attach to mini eyelets or large eyelets purchased separately and attach as above.
2) Complete the basket and lash the rim. Now bend the bottom of the wire under and back around the rim. The end can be twisted back around the wire above the rim.
3) Using a pair of bent-nose pliers, bend the bottom of the wire 90 degrees. Tuck your stakes over the bend and lash the rim as usual.
#2 & #3 will result in a stationary handle.

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Paper Catalog:
Click here to see and print the pdf version of our paper catalog.
New products are added to the secure online catalog as they arrive.
You can always read the current and past 6 months of Country Seat Courier Newsletters online at our Newsletter Page
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If you have any questions please e-mail us at

The Country Seat, Inc.
Basketry, Gourd Weaving & Chair Seating Supplies
1013 Old Philly Pike
Kempton, Pennsylvania 19529-9321 USA
Phone: 610-756-6124
Fax: 610-756-0088
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