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7. The Border

I’ve chosen to teach this particular border because of its similarity to the 3-rod wale, which we have learned and applied throughout the making of this basket. Though some other basket finishing techniques are easier to understand, I think this border is a better place to start from for beginners. It is a type of rod border, and rod borders are the most commonly used type of borders in willow basketry. In reed basket making, trac borders are a lot more common, and rod borders are not as important to know.

Just as this entire course is an introduction to willow basket weaving, this border can be viewed as an introduction to rod borders. A comprehensive and in-depth tutorial about rod borders is available in my Free online Basket Borders course. Be sure to watch that once you have made a couple of baskets.

Tips and alternative weaving options

  • If you are working with buff willow, remember to keep your stakes wet throughout the weaving of the basket. I like to get them wet whenever I finish weaving a waling band or a French randing section, unless it progresses quickly. I find it most efficient to use the watering hose in my front yard, but you can also use a water sprayer bottle, a wet towel, or even the shower hose in your tub.

  • Weaving the border on a table can sometimes make it easier, especially when the basket is too broad to hold comfortably between your knees. It feels great to change your body position after a long period of sitting down. And also, it allows you to use your body weight to apply more force. Put a weight inside the basket to create some resistance and keep it from sliding around.

  • If your stakes are too thick, or if the spaces are too small, making the initial kinking of the stakes behind two can make things easier. Though, I only recommend it to people with some prior experience in making borders.

  • Watch out for ugly kinks. Try to prevent the willow from kinking, and if you can’t - make sure that it kinks upon a stake and not in a more visible point.

  • When threading the last weavers, remember: The weavers always exit after the previous weaver and underneath everything. That is - right above the top waling band.

  • If threading the last few weavers is complex for you, or if the willow refuses to do it, you can cut the weavers short and tuck them into the basket. The weavers enter on the left side of the stake they’re supposed to go behind. Kink them manually at that exact point, and then cut them leaving only the amount of length you wish to tuck into the basket. Insert them straight down into the siding of the basket, alongside the relevant stake. Sadly, I didn’t demonstrate this method in any of my tutorials, so I hope this explanation is clear. It’s a fantastic method that can ease up the finishing part a lot.

If you're struggling with this part of the basket or if something isn't clear to you, by all means, feel free to contact me and ask me questions. I promise I will do my best to help out.

Asaf Salim

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