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Basic Maille Basketry
Article © MAIL User: sakredchao

Image: copbask.jpg

In order to make a basket, first you must decide what weave you are going to use.  There are various styles, some of which I will cover here.  Any sheet, that can be made densely, can be used for a basket.  There are 2 main parts to my baskets, the bottom and the walls.

The bottoms
Traditionally I have used Japanese 6-1 for the bottoms, but occasionally I use a different weave.  Any weave that you can get to form in a circle would work for this.

The walls
I have mostly used European 8-1 in all of my baskets, but I am beginning to get into the Persian family and experimentation with Dragonscale, as well Cluster.  The vital thing in making the walls is using a dense weave.  To get an idea of a good dense weave, make some 5/16" 17ga Euro 8-1, or 3/8" 16ga Euro 8-1.  (If you would
like more examples listed here, I can probably put up to about 20+ combinations that work well for me).  If you are going to add trim, then be sure to be aware of how many rings around you make the wall.

Image: pancake.jpg

Here you can see how I attached the strip of 8 in 1 to the sheet of doubled Japanese 6-1.

Some wall options
Image: bow1.jpg Image: bow2.jpg

In this example, I used a piece of 5/16" 16ga Euro 6-1 for the base of the wall.  I folded it in half and connected it at the bottom, as seen in the second picture.  At the top of the fold I built a sheet of dense Euro 6-1 to form the rest of the wall and added trim. When I was finished, I removed the rings at the bottom holding the fabric together.

Image: bask5.jpg

This basket was made by making a 5/16" 17ga King's maille coif top.  There is a lot of expansion all at once (every ring I believe), and then it is straight.  Roll the lip down and sew it into the side.

Image: 812bask.jpg Image: 81bask.jpg

This was an experiment in Japanese 8-1.  I put it here to show that the Japanese weaves have basketry potential that, as of yet, has remained untapped.

The lip (optional)
Image: basket5.jpg

Some of the less dense baskets need a little coaxing to stay nice.  A lip is a good way of accomplishing this.  Most of the lips I use are a half-Persian variation on one side and Euro 6-1 on the other side.  This image is a pretty good example of a lip. Each ring from the first row of the lip goes through 2 rings in the wall in this example.

The trim (optional)

Image: bask.jpg Image: bask2.jpg Image: bask3.jpg

Once you have the basic basket assembled, you may opt to put on some trim.  When you put on the trim (as with trimming any maille) the first thing you do is count the rings. I believe that these baskets are 78 rings around.  Next I factor this number out:
78=2x3x13.  What this tells you is your options on how frequently the trim will repeat.  The first two baskets have 13 repetitions of 6. Don't be limited by this factorial, it is only a beginning point. There are other options as well, the third basket has two 9 section dags:  9x2=18 and  78-18=60,  and I used 5x12 for the small dags on the last example.

Image: basket6.jpg

Another option for trim is to add a row of smaller rings at a 90 degree angle to the wall.  In this example I added 3/16" rings, each going through one of the rings in the wall.  From that I added a lip.

Image: precpot.jpg

You can also make vases with this technique.  Experiment with loose or dense weaves, as well as expansion and contraction to get the various curves and valleys that are shown in this example.

This is in no way a definitive basketry article.  I think that we have a lot of realms here that have yet to be explored.  I encourage others to write up their basketry techniques and experiences.  If you have any suggestions on how I can improve this article, don't hesitate to let me know and I'll do what I can.

I look forward to seeing your baskets in the gallery!

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