Twining was another old method of Basketmaker days, now almost gone. It means that two strands at a time are woven in and out through a set of foundation strands, one passing over and one under, twisting together each time they meet. Beautiful sandols were once made by this method, so fine that they looked like cloth. Rabbitskin blankets were twined too and it is only for convenience that we describe them later under weaving, instead of here. Perhaps indeed it was the coming of weaving that put an end to twining, which was the ancient way of combining soft materials before there was any loom.

Start of coiled tray

Plate 11-10. Start of coiled tray, Hopi Second Mesa.

Finished coiled tray

Plate 11-11. Finished coiled tray, natural colors, Hopi Second Mesa.

The only relics of it now in pueblo basketry are an occasional windbreak, a reed mat, or a door curtain. The windbreaks are rows of slender poles, placed upright, with yucca strands twined between them. The reed mats and door curtains are really the same thing, used for different purposes. A row of reeds is laid parallel in the shape of a curtain. Then two twinings of yucca string or cotton string are made at intervals down their length so that the reeds are held together like the bamboo curtains bought in modern stores. If the curtain is not too large, it can be rolled up and tied with windings of string. In that shape it forms the "suitcase" which used to be taken home by a Hopi bride after her husband's relatives had woven her wedding trousseau.


Coiling was an old Basketmaker method, given up for awhile and then brought back by the Hopi about 1300 A.D., the great Pueblo period. No one but the Hopi uses it now and they only on Second Mesa. What they make for themselves are small basketry trays to be carried in procession and given away at the women's dance, and larger ones in which a bride carries commeal to her husband's house. Coiling is a little like sewing with stiff materials. The foundation is a spiral coil of twigs or grass (the Hopi use a bundle of coarse galleta grass as thick as a finger). The rounds of the coil are bound together by strips of yucca which have to be poked through the grass bundles with an awl. (Plate 11-10) The Hopi lay these binding strips so close together that none of the foundation can be seen, and since many of them are colored the result is a pattern. It often represents a bird or a dancing god, as the wickerwork plaques of Third Mesa do, but here, where all the lines go around in circles instead of spreading out like sun rays, the designs have a different quality. (11-11)

The colors too are different, for Second Mesa often uses the natural tones of the yucca which come in many different shades. The tender, inside shoots are white, the new outside ones are green. The old outside ones, exposed to the sun, are yellow (or the Basketmaker may dry them artificially outside her house). She adds very little to this soft natural combination except accents of brown and black, which are colored with thelesperma grass or sunflower seeds like the wickerwork.