Sunday, November 1, 2009

10. Three Considerations for Faster, Easier Coiling Post 10.

The last post was about direction of coiling. Thanks to everyone who commented. I particularly was interested in Tony's comments about turning his basket upside down, and Sue's about coiling on the side of the basket away from her body...these are exactly the sort of thing I am talking about, each person doing what they need to do to make the basket work...I applaud you for being so creative, and for sharing your creativity! Kim, i am impressed you stuck through the explanation of spirals...i have a feeling you were not alone in your seize up when it comes to geometry of spirals...i am not sure i really understand it either. Perhaps it was my explanation. But don't worry, you don't need to understand geometry or spirals to coil...just do it! One day, after you have ALOT of baskets under your belt, it might dawn on you...or maybe not. Either way, i am sure your baskets will be beautiful!

Again mulling over our inclination to be creatures of habit…

What is your standard binder length? If you have been using raffia, you are obviously limited by the binder length, and this is not an issue for you. If you are cutting binder, optimal length is 2 arm lengths. That is YOUR arm length. People with longer arms can easily use more binder. If you are bridging a floating coil or going around a large gourd on the first row, obviously you will need more than 2 arm lengths. But 2 arms length is short enough to keep the binder from tangling, and long enough to get quite a few stitches in on each add. So if you are using MORE, why are you doing so? If you are using less, you might try extending it to make your coiling more time efficient.

How do you add binder? Elaborate knots add complexity and time to your basket. I have seen all sorts of fancy knots, and estimation techniques for figuring out where the knot will end up, and ways to pull it into the basket. None of that is necessary. The fastest, most efficient way to end/begin new binder is to bury the end in the coil. This takes only seconds. If you zig and zag INSIDE your weaving, it is anchored securely. Care must be taken so the needle is buried, or the binder will be visible. If you are not used to doing this, and you are reversing your stitch direction as well (for example, beginning to coil from the front, and you are not used to it,) the easiest thing is to add the new binder BEFORE burying the old binder in the coil. This way it is plain to see where the new binder should come out. Some very slippery materials, such as horsehair, absolutely will not hold a knot. Meaning, no matter what you do to hide the knot, it will work it's way to the surface eventually. The only way to begin/end binder is to bury it in the coil when using that medium.

I have had many students who rankled at my suggestion they bury the binder. It is always a pleasure to have a student come back for a second class, and see they have stuck with it, learned how to bury the binder, and never looked back. I have tried and tried to learn the knotting techniques, and still don't understand why people do it...anyone want to talk about that?

I would love to hear about your techniques for determining proper binder length and method for adding on, please leave a positive comment here for everyone to read! Thanks

Next post will be on preparation of pine needles for coiling, please hold those thoughts for the next post…


Donna in WA said...

When I was first learning how to coil, I was taught to measure out the binder approximately 4 feet before cutting it. In the beginning, that's what I did. But, when I gained more confidence, I used longer binder length. Sometimes as long as 10 feet, maybe.

When needing to join another length of binder, it all depends on which I am using. When I use the waxed linen, I can usually just add it in by coiling over a new length with what's left in the current length. It generally stays put much better than the synthetics.

Even the waxed nylon slips around, even if I keep it waxed. I find that I have to attach it by knotting it with the previous length and making sure the knot is on the top of the coil so that it will be hidden by the next coil. I use a simple square knot.

jac138 said...

Pam - You are so positively "right on" with this. Thank you so much for putting it in writing!!
Judy Cellars
Basket Babes
The Villages, Florida

J. Anthony Stubblefield said...

My joining is horrible. I just make my baskets with openings so small you can't see the mess that results on the inside of the basket. I am in desperate need of a good joining lesson.

I am not sure how long of a piece of binder I use. I double my binder so I think I use about 3 arms length folded in half, so about 4.5 to 5 feet. Since I usually leave the tips on my pine needles I don't like the binder to be too long as it tends to catch and break them off (which requires use of the dreaded g-word. Yes glue!).

Deb Groom said...

I tried knotting and the knots slipped and looked messy. I found it was stressing me and interfered with the joy of basketry. For me, when I have about 4 inches of binder left, I bury the needle downwards through the coils. I make sure I leave the tail on the outside. I then bring a new piece (artificial sinew) up through several coils and out near the spot the last one departed but on the inside of the basket. When I take my first stitch it goes over the rim and into the next space. I don't pull too tightly. Once I take another stitch or two I go back and give the tail of the new binder a tug. I leave the tail on for several level of coils and then snip them off once I'm almost finished. I've never had anything pop out or weaken.
Note: When I go through the coils it is usually on a diagonal.
I find this quick and easy.
Happy coiling,
Deborah Groom