A basket woven of cattail leaves may be used as a container for gift cookies and candies. Start weaving as one would weave strips of paper into a flat mat. Add weavers until the bottom of the basket is the desired size. Turn the leaves up and with another strip weave under and over the vertical spokes of the basket. Bend the ends back and weave them into the sides for finishing the edge. A lid may be made in the same way. Select wider leaves, so that the top will slip over the lower part of the basket. Practice with strips of paper before weaving with cattails. The basket should be kept damp while working.

Mexican horse and rider

PLATE XX. Mexican horse and rider.

Scrape the pitch

PLATE XXI. Scrape the pitch from the split rush with a paring knife.

How To Make A Twined Basket

Unlike the coil method in twined weaving, the warp splints are enclosed by the crossed twining of two or more weft strands.

Tie the warp splints

Fgure 9. Tie the warp splints with string.

Cross wefts 1 and 2

Figure 10. Cross wefts 1 and 2 around each warp splint.

For the warp splints, take a number of the split or whole rushes which have been flattened and crisscross them to form a star or the radii of a wheel. See Figure 9. To make the center secure, tie with a piece of thread. Dampen the rush.

The weft strands should be of the split and scraped rush. They may be of contrasting colors. Cross the wefts and hold them in place at the center of the warp with the left hand. Bring the back weft to the front of the warp and the front weft to the back of the same warp spoke. Press them together firmly. Continue to weave in this manner around the spokes of the warp. On the second row, insert another warp so that there will be an uneven number of warp ends. Weave under and over the warp until the bottom of the basket is formed. See Figure 10 for details of this weave. It may be necessary to add more spokes as the base increases in diameter. For the side walls of the basket, turn the spokes up and continue to weave. As a variation, the rows may be left more open.

Cross weft 1 over each

Figure 11. Cross weft 1 over each warp and around weft 2.

A single weft may be added

Figure 12. A single weft may be added.

Another weave is to use the two weft strands but twine one over the warp and the weft all of the time rather than alternating the two weft strands. A single weft may be woven under and over the warp between the rows for variety. Details for these methods are shown in Figures 11 and 12. In Figure 11, two warp strands are skipped.

Braid wefts 1, 2, and 3

Figure 13. Braid wefts 1, 2, and 3 around the warp.

A braided effect is attained by using three weft strands. Each strand passes over two warp strands and under one on the inside. When it is finished, it gives a twined or rope appearance on the outside. It makes a heavier basket. Figure 13 gives the details of the braided weave.

There are two ways of disposing of the warp at the border of the basket. One is to cut the warp strands off and the other is to fold them down into the inside and bind them with the weft. The latter method makes a stronger weave.

The warp is bent over

Figure 14. The warp is bent over at the top of the basket.

As each splint is bent over, it becomes a third strand combined with two weft strands, and the braided weave is used to finish the edge. See Figures 14 and 15 for the inside and outside details of folding the warp ends.

Cut the warp on the inside

Figure 15. Cut the warp on the inside of the basket.

When the basket is finished, allow it to dry slowly. It is not necessary to apply varnish or shellac to preserve the rush.

Purses, bread trays, sewing baskets, and market baskets are a few of the articles that could be made using the twined basket technique. Patterns in contrasting colors may be added for decoration. Use an all-purpose commercial dye for the rushes.