When you think of Jill Choate Basketry it usually conjures up some kind of antler basketry. Even though I've broaden my horizons into different areas in the field of basketry my claim to fame pretty much started with antlers.
Most of my designs will end with an antler hoop to crown the top of the basket. It's the almost final part of the design and sometimes can be daunting to get on so here's a quick primer (with video) to help you through the process of lashing your antler hoop to your basket.
Even though the basket is not woven to the top of the basket the hoop really needs to be put on when your basket is about 3/4 of the way completed. Does it make it more difficult to weave? That is an affirmative YES, but what it also does is define the shape of the basket so that it tapers to the top and is defined by the antler hoop.
Some things to consider when using the 5 point lashing:
If you have ever woven a potato basket then you have used a 5 point lashing. The difference between a potato basket lashing and our 5-point never ending lashing is that we continue around the entire hoop until we meet the beginning.
You need a LONG, WET, WEAVER and a TIGHT weave. You don't want to get this hoop lashed with the 5 point technnique and then have it too loose so that the hoop can be lifted off the stakes, A wet weaver and a tight weave will avoid this.
Find the number of stakes you have in your basket and divide by 4. This is the number of stakes that you want lashed in each quarter of your hoop. For instance, in the case of the Indian Blanket there are 32 stakes. Divided by 4 that means there should be 8 stakes lashed into each quarter of the hoop. It's just a reminder that you don't want a bunch of stakes lashed too close together (or vice versa) and have too much or too little space at the end of the hoop to lash.
Like most lashings this one is comprised of X's and SPACERS
Stakes are INSIDE the hoop.
Adjust where you want to the hoop to set on the basket. Hold it there with masking tape OR tie wraps. I've started using tie wraps versus tape because it doesn't take the black off the antler.
The 5 Point Lashing:
X's: The beginning of the lash starts with the end of the weaver diagonally ACROSS THE BACK of the stake with a 1/2" tail in the LOWER LEFT corner.
First part of the X - ALWAYS starts from the top RIGHT UPPER corner, comes diagonally across to the LOWER LEFT corner. At this point it goes behind the tail that you left when beginning. Pull tight. This keeps the lashing from loosening up.
Second part of the X - ALWAYS starts from the LEFT upper corner, goes diagonally across and ends at the BOTTOM right corner.
ENTER THE spacer. Grab the next stake to be lashed. Find it from the bottom and work your way up. IT'S REALLY EASY to get them crossed so make sure to do this.
The spacer comes diagonally ACROSS the back of the stake and begins the X at top RIGHT UPPER corner. This ensures that the new stake is held snug up against the hoop BEFORE you start the next X. You are now at number 2 above, repeat all the way around the antler.
What holds the antler to the hoop (besides tape or zip ties)?
Remember that whatever you choose to hold the hoop to the stakes it's only temporary. My motto is: "When it's in your way - it goes away."
Something needs to replace the tie wrap that is holding the antler to the hoop. That something is a DOUBLE SPACER.
Remember that you are lashing the stakes to the hoop NOT the antler to the hoop (with the exception of the double spacers). What I'm referring here to is the X part of the lashing. The X's are done in between the antler and the hoop. The only part of the lashing that should be outside the antler is the DOUBLE SPACER. It's decorative and fulfills a purpose.
If you neglect to hold down the antler in at least 3 different places with a DOUBLE SPACER they antler will prong out from the basket. It also may have a tendency to snap off the hoop since it's not supported after the basket is complete.
What about those stake ends sticking up once it's lashed?
You can trim the excess stake ends down but leave enough room for the lashing to hold in place.
Use them as a place to embellish with pony beads of tin cones.
Leave them a bit longer and weave on top to hold the hoop in place.