When you hear, "oh, yeah, spirals... it's just triple twine", yeah.... no. Creating spirals in basketry is all about the Math.

It starts with the amount of stakes you have and the design that you want to make. Check out the above platter. There are three patterns of spiral included in it, can you pick them out? The first two in the center are easy but where is that third one. It's actually that natural stripe about in the middle of the basket but it doesn't look like it does it. It's a reverse spiral or a spiral to the left when weaving to the right.

So let's break it down. First off, yes, a spiral does happen when using three weavers in a triple twine (or 3 rod rand, same thing - different name) but it's dependent on the number of stakes your weaving on.

In this first example we are going to say that we have 37 stakes and 3 weavers.

37 stakes divided by 3 weavers = 12.333

12 is inconsequential, the number to look at is the decimal, in this case .33. It's less that .5 anything less than .5 will spiral to the left whether your weaving to the right or not.

Second example we increased the STAKES by one for a total of 38.

38 stakes divided by 3 weavers = 12.666

Once again, the whole number 12 is inconsequential, the decimal .666 is MORE than .5 and so the design will spiral to the right.

Third example we increase he STAKES by one for a total of 39.

39 stakes divided by 3 weavers = 13

In this computation we end up with a WHOLE number so the design will STACK and NOT spiral even though it has 3 weavers.

You'll never wonder which way it will spiral or if it spiral at all if you use this simple trick.

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Thank you SO much for this information. Awesome! I think I will be able to tame my spirals now.

Kool instructive blog. Is this a universal indigenous pattern or regional?

Hi Sue: Thanks for the question. Let me preface your question by saying I’m right handed and so weave in a clockwise direction. If you look at the center of the basket on the blog you’ll see that the first center spiral goes to the right. It actually has 32 stakes at this point. 32/3 = 10.666 (larger than .5 so it spirals to the RIGHT). The next section spirals to the left or counter clockwise with 32 stakes as well but it’s because it’s woven COUNTER CLOCKWISE (or left handed). 32/3 = 10.666 (but remember I’m weaving COUNTER clockwise).

If you want a spiral to happen when you are weaving in a CLOCK WISE manner your calculation needs to be LESS THAN .5. Further on in the basket you’ll see it. There are 64 stakes at this point 64/3 = 21.333 (LESS THAN .5) so even though I’m weaving CLOCKWISE the spiral will go to the left. Now this looks different than the second mentioned spiral. It’s not as a distinct pattern but still very pleasing to the eye.

Hope this helps.

Hi Thomas: Nope, I’m not talking about 4 weavers I’m talking about a triple twine with 3 weavers.

37 stakes:

3 weavers will spiral to the left, Math: 37/3 = 12.333

38 stakes:

3 weavers will spiral to the right, Math: 38/3 = 12.666

39 stakes:

3 weavers will stack, Math: 39/3 = 13

So basically if your calculation comes out to a whole number the design will stack

If the calculation comes out to a decimal that is LESS THAN .5 it will spiral to the left even though you are weaving the right.

If the calculation comes out to a decimal that is MORE THAN .5 it will spiral to the right when you are weaving to the right.

Thanks for pointing out the error to me. – JMC

Thanks so much for explaining this. So good to know! Much appreciated.

I’m confused. In your example you say divide by three (i.e., for 3-rod wale) but you appear to be dividing by 4! (4 × 9.25 = 37; 4 × 9.5 = 38; 4 × 9.75 = 39) Did you mean 4-rod wale (i.e., 4weavers)?

How do you make the direction of the spiral reverse?

## Jill Choate

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