Saturday, November 7, 2009

12. Three Considerations for Faster, Easier Coiling Post 12

Thanks very much to everyone who commented on the last post in this series. We are having more people comment on posts further back, i am sorry i cannot mention you all! Thanks for persisting. I DO need to say hey, Earl, thanks for taking time out from your trek to comment! Also, Tony, i will try to remember to address adding binder again, and detail my method- i am sure more people will want to talk about that again.

As for pine needle length, which J.R. brought up: pine needles do not need to be very long to coil with. It can be done with needles as short as 2 inches...proven by pine needler extra-ordinaire Kaye Burlason, (left, with one of MANY ribbons she has won over her lifetime) of Altoona, FL. Kaye makes little itty bitty minis and wearables with 2 inch pine needles (table of minis shown at right, with LOOOONG pine needles for scale.) But she is VERY experienced (as well as being possibly the most crafty person i have ever had the pleasure to "meet" in my life!)

I would not recommend, for beginners, that you use anything under about 6-8 inches long. I started with needles that short, and was able to handle it. The reason you want to use longer needles is because adding becomes one less thing to do...the more frequently you have to add, the more there is to think about. Most beginners need to focus on the learning the process, stitching, how to hold their hands, etc. But far be it for me to discourage you. Use what you have, and see how it goes. Try to go small-scale. Be PATIENT WITH YOURSELF. Let us know what happens!

On to the next post in our series...

Do you remove the fascicles? If you have never tried coiling with the fascicles (sheath ends) on, you will be amazed at how much faster it is.

Removing fascicles is one of the biggest complaints I hear from new coilers. How do you get that thing off? There are so many ways! Some people just cut them off, I know one lady told me that was her job when she was a kid. They had a big machete and she chopped them off huge bundles of pine needles, all at once, for efficiency, so other members of the family could coil with the pine needles. In one class i attended, the teacher gave each student his own special pair of scissors with teeth to pull off pine needles caps. Judy Mallow sells a wooden tool she developed herself to do the job. If you have read Ginger Jolley’s book, How To Weave a Pine Needle Basket, you will possibly remember that Ginger used her teeth to pull fascicles from pine needles. If you are going to do it Ginger’s way, you probably want to wash them. Ginger’s book is a wonderful example of not following everyone else. She wrote with refreshing individualism. Unfortunately, her book is out of print, and since Ginger herself is gone, it probably will not be reprinted.

I don’t take off the fascicles unless I have to. Of course, starting a basket from a button, you will want to take some off, and probably for the bottom of the basket, but once you get to the sidewalls, fascicles add texture and interest to a pine needle basket. They are laid in right under the stitch on the outside of the basket (usually)….but only when coiling without a gauge is this possible!

I would love to hear about your opinion on fascicles, please leave a positive comment here for everyone to read! Thanks

Next post will be on using different stitches, please hold those thoughts for the next post…


The Flamingess said...

I find that the fascicles twist off quite easily and usually leave the individual needles intact. Occasionally the needles will break off along with the sheathe if they are very dry. Using just my thumb and forefinger, I twist the fascicle as if I am unscrewing a tiny cap. I can feel it break loose and then it slides right off.

Jeanne Williams said...

This is Jeanne Williams in Ennis, MT. I usually just cut them off. But I do unscrew them the fascicles when I put them on a rim of a basket. I have 2 jars that I have awaiting for me by my side table. 1 with cut pineneedles and 1 with fascicles left on. Right now though all my pineneedles are waiting for me because I had right hand finger surgery on Thursday and I can not even lift a pineneedle basket to work on let alone type this on the computer. Hopefully soon this will heal because it is driving me crazy not to work on my baskets. So Coil on Pineneedle weavers!!!!!!

abigailrose said...

I use the tines of a fork when the needles are still damp.

Trek Across America said...

I prefer to remove the fascicles as it makes a nice smooth coil, especially when I do small coils, which I usually do. When the needles have been soaked for awhile I use a wire stripper. Works great and works very fast. That said, I do get lazy and just cut them off.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jac138 said...

The Basket Babes use what we call "The Decapitator". It is a tube open at one end with a slot to slide the pine needle through. It pops off the fasciles and keeps the caps in the tube. I hope this is understandable. It is pretty quick and easy and not very messy.

Like Pamela has said, and I often repeat "everyone has their own methods".
Judy Cellars - Basket Babes

Deb Groom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deb Groom said...

Hi Pamela,
I love the look of the caps but if I need to take them off then I just wait until the needles are brittle and they break off with no effort. I only do a small pile at a time as I might want to do something different with the next basket. I love what you are doing with the blog.
Deborah Groom
(I just deleted this comment for typos and re-submitted it with better editing!)