Thanks to everyone who commented on this series so far. Particular thanks to Donna for sharing her diagram.
So, how does needle angle enter into this? In order to pin your logs into the correct position, pay attention to the angle of your sewing needle. The needle needs to be perpendicular to the angle of the wall. Pretend you stack your log, one on top of the other, and then drive a pin through the top one and into the bottom one. If you are going to hold the log in place with only one pin, it has to enter the “top” of the log (which may be off at an angle) and go through the lower log. The needle angle needs to make a “T” cross with that pin’s angle. In fact, if you want to drive a “T” pin into your basket coil, and try to reflect the angle of the cross on the top of the “t,” you will have angled your needle perfectly. (if you don't understand the "T" reference, go back to Donna's diagrams, yesterday!)
Control of your needle angle can help you make the perfect shape – or the perfectly different one!
Some different things to try for shapes you want…these are all things I have tried in the past with varying degrees of success, but have left them by the wayside and shape just with needle angle now…
1. cut the shape of your basket (in profile) from a piece of cardboard. As you coil, stop and set the whole basket into the cardboard cutout to see where the next coil should go. Push the coil into place, hold it, and then stitch with the other hand.
2. Get a coil of clay going, and shape it the way you want your basket to shape. This gives you a visual idea of where to put the next coil.
3. Use a bowl the shape and side you want your basket bottom to be to help shape it. As you coil, stop and press the basket into the bowl, and use the side of the bowl to guide where to place the next coil.
Any other ideas for aids to shaping baskets? Please post in comments. The next post will be about making different shaped baskets, like the star by Flor Bosch, at right. Isn't she clever?
To find all the posts in this series, please click on the label "shaping," below.