Shaping starts with the base
so today, I thought I would share not only how to square the base of a basket, but also why it is important to square the base.
First, what does it mean to square the base of a basket?
How do you square a base?
Well, you could get out your old school protractor, but there is an easier way. All you need is a tape measure or a ruler.
The corners will be square if all three of these are true:
- Both horizontal edges must be the same length.
- Both vertical edges must be the same length
- Both diagonals must be the same length
Note: the horizontal edges and vertical edges may or may not be equal lengths.
When your base is squared, lock the base. This may not seem important and you can weave the sides without locking the base, but keeping the base squared is an important part of the control you need to get a beautifully shaped basket. I suggest locking the base by twining all around the base with a length of waxed linen or strong thread, catching every stake, if you struggle to control the base or the first rows of weaving. You can cut this row out when the basket is complete. (To learn more about locking a base, check out these two blog posts: Locking the Base Part I and Locking the Base Part II)
Why is it important to square the base?
- It is easier to upset your stakes and weave straight up the sides (as you would in a market basket) if the stakes are already trained to line up.
- If you are weaving straight up, having a squared base will help the basket to sit flat.
- If you are weaving a cathead base, you must have a squared base for the basket to sit on all four corners. If the base is not squared, no matter how much you manipulate the basket it will want to sit on three of the four corners.
So — take a few minutes to square your base and lock it before you weave up the sides, I think you will be happy with the results.