This stitch is so named because it crosses between two reeds, forming a loop over each, in a perfect figure eight.
The part of the basket sewn is called the coil. It is not always made of reed. Some workers prefer a flexible coil of raffia, corn-husks, or even cord. However, when a new thread is started the ends should be secured by sewing
Starting of Navajo Stitch Basket.
them into the coil. The last row of the coil is called the lower reed and the reed which is being sewed in, the upper reed.
In the figure eight stitch, the thread comes out toward the workers between the two reeds and is carried down in front of, under, and behind the lower reed, coming out again between the two, which completes the first half of the figure eight. It then goes in front of, over, and behind the upper reed, and comes out again between the two reeds.
The thread must be pulled taut, or the surface will be rough.
To make the bowl-basket illustrated, make a bottom four inches across. Then fill a needle with coarse black cotton and sew two lines of stitches across through the center, at right angles to each other, as shown in the illustration, leaving the needle with natural raffia attached to the basket. Take a thread of dark raffia and sew from the end of one of these guide lines, carrying the light raffia in the coil, to within an inch of the next guide line. Then sew this one inch with the light, carrying the dark in the coil, then again with dark to within one inch of the next guide line. Finish this now to correspond. Start the turn-up of the basket by pulling on the reed. It must turn gradually like a bowl, so do not pull too hard, and hold the reed in position in working the following rows.
To start the oblong designs work over each light space with dark, and fill in between with light. Make five rows like this, the fifth row will be covered, as each row is gone over twice. To start the next design carry the black one inch to the left of the last design and go around in this way, one inch to the left up each figure. Make five rows like this.
Make the other oblongs in the same way. Four rows from the top begin to pull the reed to make the upper edge curve in.
Sometimes Indians sew in the new threads but leave the ends on the inside to be cut off afterwards. This basket could be worked in black, yellow and natural raffia.
The Pomo twined baskets are famous for their lightness and flexibility. They are made with spokes of the wild grape vine and very close-woven as they are often conical; they are easily carried in a net and form a kind of portable granary. The principle of weaving is always the same, very few spokes are used at the center, and to these are constantly added new ones as the basket grows in size.
Very small reed, number one or what is called "double nought," would answer very well. Cut eight pieces fourteen inches long, and about fifty pieces seven inches long. Take four of the long pieces and weave a strip of raffia near the center, weave another piece like this and put the two together so that the two ends of raffia come to the same corner. Weave these two ends around and around, crossing them over each spoke. Whenever there is an
Pomo Bam Tush. 1, 2, 3, Starting. 4, Twined Weave "Wattling." 5, "Ti" or "Tee" Band.
open space stick a sharpened spoke through the last stitch.
After about an inch of weaving, the bottom may be stiffened by putting an extra reed called a "ti" or "tee" on the outside, including
Example Of Twined Weaving
As used by the Pomo Indians - watertight but flexible.
it in the weaving. Go two or three times around with this band, as it makes a base into which to stick spokes.
To turn up the basket put in another ti band of three or four rows. This style of weaving can be done to advantage bottom-side up. The Indians do it by fitting the basket on the bottom of a stone jar.
It is better not to attempt a regular pattern or a large basket at first, rather make a small one and weave in bands of color.