One of the first baskets I made using twining (tw-I-ning) came out very different than I expected. The basket developed a twist instead of having straight sides. Twining is a technique using two lengths of yarn that circle around the basket, crossing each other in between each upright spoke. Cord, wire, or strong natural materials can also be used for twining.
In this basket, for the upright spokes I used six medium-size cotton cords alternated with three large-size pieces of sisal rope giving me a total of thirty-six spokes. This arrangement creates the interesting effect of two different size columns going up the basket.
One piece of yarn is behind spoke number one and the other yarn is in front of spoke number one. I bring the behind yarn forward between spoke one and two. Then I place the front yarn over the one I brought forward in the space between spokes one and two. What started as the front yarn is now the back yarn going around spoke two. I bring this yarn forward in the space between spokes two and three which starts the movement over. So, the two pieces of yarn are crossing each other between each spoke. This is repeated around the basket until it is the desired size.
Once the basket maker becomes familiar with this movement, the work can go quickly, depending on the fibers used.
The twist in the basket is often not easily noticeable until you are some distance up the sides of the basket. I’m not exactly sure why the twist occurs. I think it is partly due to the grouping of different size spokes.
The way I hold the basket as I’m working also contributes to the twist. I hold the basket upside down with the spokes coming toward my body. I’m going around the basket in a counter-clockwise direction, because it is upside down. I hold three or four spokes in my left hand, while I manipulate the two weavers with my right hand.
I have gotten some version of this twist effect on a number of baskets. They all look different depending on the type of materials.
But this first one is still my favorite.