Saturday, June 15, 2013

Look what I can do!

One of Good For Ewe's first customers (actually, my very first customer) is a little basket shop in Greenfield, Indiana with a yarn room.  I've been telling the owner for about 2 years how I'm going to take a basket class...after I finish a few more projects.  And then I was out there last week and she was dyeing some pastel reeds that were really talking to me.  So I signed myself up.  I also talked to my web-girl, Lauren, and signed her up too.  So bright and early this morning I picked her up and we headed out to Greenfield.

I'm not sure why I had been putting it off- I guess I didn't realize what a fast project it was and didn't need yet another ongoing project.  Margaret was a really great teacher and was so helpful in showing the steps for right handed weavers (Lauren) and left handed weavers (me).  As she started the next step she explained more about the "anatomy" of the basket and why this step is important and why it goes like this.  We started with a quick lecture on reeds- what they are, why they're used, how the plant becomes a basket and how to take care of it when it's done and woven.

First we made our base...
True to Paige-Gauge form, mine was way too tight and she made me loosen it up.  I protested a bit- what if I wanted it that tight?  I was glad I changed it though, setting the foundation for a much larger basket than the one I was attempting to make.
Then we wrapped a twine thing around the corners and started pulling the reeds up to make an actual basket and not a flat, woven wall-hanging.  The first couple rounds were stressful- the warp reeds wanted to lay back down and the weft reeds had no idea what was happening and just wanted to curl up at the angle of their choosing.

*I'm using loom-weaving terms.  Does that work for basket weaving?  I don't know enough about basket terminology to use it, so I'm just going with the weaving I know.
Got a few inches in and it was time to start adding our colors.  She suggested 3 and we were supposed to break up the colors with natural reeds in the middle.  But I've never been much of a pattern-follower. She saw my color choices and strongly suggested leaving out the dark blue, but I told her that I really loved the orange, and I needed the blue to complement the orange.

I'm sure she thinks I'm a little bit nuts and should probably have gone with 1-2 colors, but this is my basket, darn it! (Later on my mom called it my Easter basket and my friend Greg called it my Gay Pride basket)

A few more rounds of the natural reed and we began the top, which you really need 5 hands to do.  Since I only have 2, it was awkward and time consuming, but all in all, I'm really pleased with my first basket.
The very open weave at the bottom....
Was easily hidden by a knitting project! What a surprise!
So...I really had a great time basket weaving today.  If you're in the Indy area, I highly recommend Willowe's Basketry & Yarn Haus as a place to start.  The class was a great deal for the supplies you use and the attention you get- there was 2 of us for 3 hours and she was there working with us the whole time.
I'd love to do a little more basket weaving in the future, but I don't see it taking over my life the way knitting has (and quilting is starting to). I mean seriously- how many baskets do you need?  But if you have 3 hours to kill and want a project that you can actually finish in one sitting...this is the way to go.


Bonnie said...

It looks great, and I think you made a very good decision with the colors. Thanks for the recommendation!

Paige Darling said...

Thank you! I love them too. I keep walking by the finished basket and thinking...yep- still love those colors!