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FAQ's - Terms and Definitions
Chase Weave
  • Q: The pattern calls for the "weave and chase" method. Could someone explain this to me in simple terms?
A: Chase weave is weaving with two pieces so that one "chases" the other. This allows you to do a continuous weave without having to split a spoke. The weavers are traditionally the same size.
Taper each piece for about 6 inches. Start weaving with one piece on one of the long sides of the base. Stop when you get to the opposite side. Now start weaving with the other piece until you catch up with piece #1. You'll soon find what works best for you - weaving until you catch up to the other piece, keeping the pieces close together and weaving over a couple of spokes with each piece, or keeping the ends on opposite sides of the basket.
When you run out, it's ended the same way as a start/stop weaving. Overlap the ends of the old weaver and new weaver for 4 spokes, hiding both ends behind a spoke.
When you reach the top of the basket, taper each end again for about 6 inches and stop them about where you started. Now weave a rim row and use this to tuck your stakes over.

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Chicken Track
  • Q: A pattern I want to try calls for chicken track around a base where filler reed was placed, what is the chicken track.?
A: "Chicken Track" is merely one of several terms for the design that is created when filler spokes are split down the middle and tucked under a stake to each side rather than being turned back upon themselves (this forms a "V" shape). The term was most likely first applied by someone who knows the design chickens make in the mud. It is also referred to as: chicken feet, crow's feet & henscratch.

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French Randing
  • Q: What is French Randing?
A: The definition of randing is over one/under one. French randing is woven over one/under one on an angle. Usually done with short pieces (great for using up scraps of dyed reed), each stake has a weaver. Begin anywhere, insert a piece of reed behind a stake and angle slightly to the right. Weave over and under as many stakes as your pattern calls for in an upward direction. The next piece starts behind the stake to the left of where you started the first piece. Continue around the entire basket, the last weaver gets tucked in behind the first stake you went over. When all are in place, pack down evenly around the basket and cut ends flush. All weavers should now be on an angle.

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  • Q: I have a pattern that asks you to "hairpin the 52 pieces around the top of the basket". What does this mean?
A: Hairpinning is the first step for a braided border when the stakes are not used to create the border (this is usually a round reed rim on a flat reed basket). One end of the round reed is taken down through the twining or weaving rows (leaving a tail sticking out of the top of the basket) on the outside of the basket. This same end is brought back up through the twining rows one stake over (depending on the directions) leaving a "U" or scallop hanging down below the rows of weaving. Each piece of round reed is inserted into the basket all the way around the basket. They are all woven to make the braided or rolled border. The term comes from the old hairpins that were "U" shaped. A very good book with nice illustrations and pictures is Braided Border Baskets by Genie Jackson. This book is now out of print but check used book sellers for a copy.

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A: Reed hairs are small strings of reed that have pulled away from the main piece. They may be rather large or very tiny pieces of reed that look like little hairs sticking out from the side of the basket.
They can be
singed or trimmed off with a sharp pair of scissors (like the Basket Shear). Some people will sand each piece of reed before they weave it into the basket, others will not remove the hairs at all. This is your choice. If you like a rustic look, leave the hairs. If you desire to have a finished, polished looking basket, make sure to sand all wood areas and trim or singe off all the hairs.

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Mellow a Material

A: Mellowing is a way to make a material flexible without saturating it with water.
Lay cattails out on a plastic sheet and sprinkle them with water (or very quickly dip them into water), wrap the plastic around them and let them sit until they feel flexible. Cattails become waterlogged very easily and they will swell. This produces a loose product after they dry. Mellowing adds just enough water to become flexible.
Other materials can also benefit from mellowing.
The twisted natural grass rush should be dipped in warm/hot water and wrapped in a damp towel until the moisture seeps into the center and becomes flexible.
Try this with dyed reed to help keep the color from running.
Many natural materials like grasses and pine needles also benefit from mellowing.

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Mitered Corners

A: To "mitre or miter" a base is basically the same idea as twining the base. When you twine you use round reed, when you mitre you use flat reed.. It is merely a way of locking the spokes into place before turning up the sides and it also adds another 1/2" to the width and length measurements..
Simply weave over/under the spokes, when you get to a corner, you will "mitre" the reed, simply fold it over itself so the opposite side is up. Continue weaving over/under. Make the fold or right angle at each corner. You must select a "nice" piece of reed as two sides of the basket will have the right side out, two sides will have the wrong side out. However, since it is on the base, it is not that important.
This is also called a "locking row".

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Singe a Basket

A: To singe baskets is a method of removing reed hairs from a basket after it is finished. Using a lighter or other small torch or flame, move the flame around the basket to singe or burn up hairs. Brush your hand over the sides of the basket to knock off the burnt hairs. Hold the flame above the basket so you do not blacken the basket. It is recommended that you wet or mist the basket prior to singeing, the hairs will dry first and this will lessen the chance of burning the basket itself. Always stain your baskets AFTER you singe them, esp if you are using an oil based or flammable stain. Weavers have lost entire kitchens because their freshly stained basket caught on fire.

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Triple Twine or Three Rod Wale

A: To triple twine, take any 3 spokes of your basket and lay 1 weaver behind each of them with about 1/2" tail inside. Mentally label these spokes, from the left, 1, 2, & 3. Hold them in place with three fingers of your left hand while you get started. With your right hand, take the weaver that is behind spoke #1, lay it in front of #2 & #3, go behind #4 and bring it out to the front.
You now have 3 weavers out again and they have moved 1 spoke to the right. Go back to the original spoke #2, bring that weaver in front of #3 & #4, behind #5 and out to the front. Continue around the basket, always taking the weaver that is on the far left, in front of 2 spokes, behind 1 spoke and back out to the front.
There will always be 3 weavers coming from behind 3 spokes next to each other (one weaver per space between the spokes).

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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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