This method is used with reeds or vines, or with short lengths of grasses, pine needles, rushes, etc. These are wound into a coil or core, and stitched together with raffia, grass, thread, or twine, using a large-eyed needle. The materials should be prepared (see above) before starting the project. Steps

1. Using the core material of reed, vine, etc., make a center by coiling the end into a tight "button" or circle, using the winding material to hold fast (Fig. III-10).

2. Thread the winding material into large-eyed needle. Use this to bind the coils together, winding raffia (or other material) twice around the reed or grass bundle, and then stitching into coil above, working out from the center (Fig. III-11). This stitch is known as the "Lazy Squaw" stitch.

3. Continue in this manner until base is formed.

4. To shape the basket: place the core reed directly over the previous row, rather than beside it. Make sides curved or straight, as desired. If flared, each row should project a little on outside; if curved, stitch rows in or out as desired. Continue stitching on side rows as on base.

5. To add new material: stretch out old end (Fig. Ill-12 a) along the reed or grass coil. Place new raffia (Fig. III-12 b) with end at left, under coil. Wrap with new raffia from right to left, covering ends until stitching is reached, then proceed with new piece.

Grasses: add new bunches of grass, staggering the ends, so the coil remains the same thickness continuously (Fig. III-13).

Reeds: splice end of old reed with end of new reed by cutting a slanting cut on each end, fitting ends together to make the thickness of one (Fig. III-14). Bind the joint together with winding material.

6. When using pine needles, hold several groups of needles together with sheath ends together, and smooth sides outside, to make a bundle for a coil. Add groups of pine needles so the ends are staggered (similar to adding grasses), and the same thickness is continued throughout coiling.


Variation in stitch: The open poma stitch is used for pine needles, and may be adapted on a larger scale for making an archery target (see Chap. XVIII on Games and Sports Equipment). After making a center button and starting the base, carry raffia or twine or thread around coil, inserting needle into previous stitch in other coil, from right to left, and from back to front (Fig. III-15).


This method is a braiding method, used with rushes, cornhusks, and other broad-leafed, soft materials. Materials should be dried as above, and soaked when being used, so they are not brittle. Larger husks are torn into strips of even widths for narrow braiding for table mats, etc. Groups of wide husks are used for larger braid, as for floor mats or wood baskets.

Plaiting is done in a manner similar to three-strand braiding of cord (see Chap. II on Braiding and Knotting). Use groups of materials, and divide into three strands. Tie or loop at end, and hang on peg to braid into a plaiting strand (Fig. III-16). When a sufficient length of braid has been made, it is ready to be stitched into a mat or basket base. Use heavy cotton button thread for a small mat, string or twine for a heavier mat.


1. Start with a "button" of the braided strand.

2. Wind strand around and around the coil, sewing succeeding rounds to the button, being sure to keep the braided strands flat. Sew through the husk, or pass needle under a loop, making a cross stitch (Fig. Ill-17). Keep mat on flat surface, rather than holding in hand or lap.

3. Build sides by turning up braid, sewing a layer on the outside edge of the base, rather than beside it. Turn the side of the braided strand on edge; in Figure III-18, a is the bottom outside edge; b is the side braid, on edge.

4. End strand by stitching flatly in place. Trim off some of the under parts of the strand to taper the strand (Fig. III-19).

5. Handles may be made by a small length of braid, sewed into the body of the basket near the top row. Ends of the braid may be whipped (see Figs. II-10-13); or the handles may be inserted into braid of basket with an awl. Take a few stitches to make the handles secure.

Variation: To make an oval mat or base, make 2 or 3 circles and join them side by side. With a long plait, sew around outside edges of the center made of the circles (Fig. III-21). Continue as for round mat or for base.