Tip of the Week ~
Take a look at the slotted base before you soak your spokes. If the slot is very narrow, put you spokes into the slot while they are dry. If you soak them, they may not fit.
Take a wet sponge (almost dripping) and run the sponge over the good side of the reed (less snagging on the good side) up to the edge of the base.
Weave as usual.
If the slot is wide, go ahead and soak your spokes. Take them out of the water and wrap them in a towel to remove excess water.
If you are using a Weaving Table or Lazy Susan table (see previous post) you can just insert the spokes and begin weaving. I find that the Weaving Table is all I need to have control over the spokes.
BUT, if they still slide around too much for you, then try these ideas.
1) Place a tiny piece of twist tie over the end of the spoke and insert the spoke all the way into the base. Make sure that the twist tie is short enough so that it does not show. (Thanks to Venie Hinson for sharing this trick - see http://www.countryseat.com/basketclasses.htm#hinson - for Venie's spring class dates)
2) Put all your spokes in place and wrap a thin piece of string or a small size of round reed around the base and pull tight so that it slides into the slot, wedging the spokes in place.
3) Cut your spokes a little longer than the pattern calls for and bend the end over, crimping (squeezing) it together with a pair of pliers (bentnose pliers). Insert this crimped end into the slot.
If your spokes are still moving around A LOT after the first 3-5 rows are woven, they may be too far apart (you have too few spokes). You should have about 1/4" space between spokes when starting to weave. The first rows of a slotted base should be woven with a small size (3mm flat oval, 11/64" or 3/16" flat or flat ovals or twine with #2 round reed, etc.). After 3-6 rows of a smaller size, you can begin to use a larger size or work up to it with several rows of 1/4" or 7mm and then a wider size.
Remember - tension is what holds everything together when working with slotted bases. The first several rows must be woven tight up against the base and be very snug. No loose or sloppy weaving or your basket may not hold together correctly.
Slotted bases are a lot of fun once you become comfortable working with them. Try some of our patterns or kits - low shopper kit, beginner twill basket, color-blocked cabinboy basket pattern, mini shopping basket pattern, there are many, many more - try searching our online catalog with "slotted base" and then narrow the search by clicking on the Books, Patterns & Magazines link in the results.