# How to Square the Base of a Basket

**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?**

Squaring a base really means making sure that the corners are ‘square’, or 90°. So you can ‘square’ a rectangular or square base.

**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.

In your last photo of squaring up the base you have an X out of flat reed woven over the base, what is the purpose of this? It is the first time I have seen this done. Bella

Bella,

This is the base of my basket called Surreptitious. I added the crossed spokes so I could round the corners out as I wove up the sides. You can find the pattern here and view additional photos of it the gallery. ~annetta k

Where did you find the mat that is under your base. I would really like one.

You can find self healing mats at most fabric stores. I found this one at Joann Fabrics.