Well, time to make this blog a reality. We are now working with DSL and life is sweet. The page needed to post the blog took ages to load with dial up so I had given up. We're caught up with the times (at least for the moment :o) so it's back to posting for real now.
Tip of the Week
What to do with "bad" reed.
What makes a bad piece of reed? This answer will vary from person to person.
Some times reed is just plain bad. It might be cut unevenly, hairy, thick and thin in the same piece, just awful. Do you throw it away? NO. Save it for the last row of weaving (the rim row) that goes under the rim. This row is only used for support, it never shows, so it does not matter what this piece of reed looks like.
Keep in mind that reed is cut using very simple machines. To learn more about basket reed and how it is processed, please visit our Basketry Reed Page at: http://www.countryseat.com/basketryreed.htm#reed .
While one person is unhappy because their last coil of reed was all too thin/thick for their needs, the next person has been searching for that kind of reed.
Many times a coil of reed will contain some pieces that are stiff/thick and some that are flexible/thin. This is great, you have a variety of pieces to choose from for your project.
Save those thin/flexible pieces for things like: lashing, starting and ending a basket, weaving small baskets, special projects like twill or cat's head baskets, plaited ornaments, etc.
Save the stiffer/thicker pieces for rims (There is no reason why you can't use flat reed for rims, it looks great. Works best on smaller baskets. Wrap the flat reed at least twice around the basket for the outside rim to give extra strength.). Weaving in the middle of the basket where the spokes/staves are farthest apart or weaving from the middle to the top of a basket that flares outward as it increases in height (like a wastebasket) is a great place to use stiffer reeds. Save the stiffer pieces for stakes/staves.
Never let your weaver distort or bend your spokes/staves (unless you want a certain look or are creating an art piece, these could be exceptions). If you cannot pack your rows tightly against each other, your weaver may be too stiff and/or your spokes/staves too thin. Take out that reed and find thinner pieces.
You should feel each piece before you pull it out of the coil and put it in the water. If it feels very stiff and you need something flexible, put it aside. It will only become flexible to a point after soaking. It will not magically become a super flexible piece of reed if you leave it in the water for an hour. That's way too long. 5- 10 minutes is more than plenty for any flat reed. The longer you leave reed in the water the worse the quality becomes.
Do you need lots of thick/stiff or thin/flexible pieces of reed for a particular project? Let us know when you place the order. We can't guarantee 100% that all the pieces will be what you want, but we will look at each coil as we pull your order. Sometimes it obvious. Example: if you are weaving backpacks with 3/8" flat oval weavers. This is a very important time to check the thickness of your weaver. Too stiff and your backpack will become distorted. Tell us you are ordering weaving or rim flat oval and we will pick thinner or thicker reeds for you.
happy weaving & happy holidays