3. The Upsett

The upsett is the part of weaving the lower band using waling. This is a crucial part in the making of the basket, in which we must pay close attention to the shaping process. Both the angle of the basket and the alignment of the stakes are permanently determined in this stage. 


For complete beginners, the weaving of the upsett might be very difficult! If you have access to round reed, it might be a good idea to first learn waling on a simple reed basket with a wooden base. I mentioned it before in regards to pairing, but here it's even more important to mention, because the weaving of the upsett is very difficult even if you already feel comfortable with weaving a 3-rod wale. See my Introduction to Waling tutorial to learn waling separately.


Another way to make the learning of the 3-rod wale easier is to weave your upsett from a single set of weavers. This might make your upsett uneven in height, but will definitely make things easier for you if you're just now weaving your first basket. When doing so, you'll need to make not only butt-end joins, but also tip joins, and to make sure you finish the band with tip ends. I demonstrate tip joins in both my Basic Waling Bands tutorial, and my Introduction to Waling tutorial. Though you can actually just make the tip joins in the back, just like we did on the base. Once you've reached a point where you are comfortable with the waling itself, you can begin to weave the upsett with two sets of weavers.



Preparing willow for weaving the upsett


The upsett, which is essentially a classic starting-from-tip waling band, requires 12 weavers to make (two sets of three weavers, plus two more sets that join the first two). These weavers should be thinner than the uprights.  To better understand this process, watch my video about how to choose willow for a basket. The length of the weavers is not very important at this point. I talk about it in a much more advanced tutorial called Calculated Waling Bands.



The importance of shaping during the upsett


The shaping of the basket is always important, but, as I mentioned already, during the weaving of the upsett it is extra important. So, I feel the need to put extra emphasis on this point. Make sure you get the right angle for your basket, and that the uprights are all aligned perfectly, because after the weaving of the upsett it becomes a lot more difficult to fix these things.



Trimming the butt-end joins


The trimming can be done during the weaving of the upsett, especially the trimming on the outside of the basket in case the leftover butt ends are too long and disturb you while you work. It can also be done after finishing the upsett, or, as far as the joins on the inside are considered, after finishing the entire basket (as long as the shape of the basket is not closing-in towards the center). The tip joins at the top of the upsett can be trimmed on the inside or on the outside, but they can also be threaded into the weave at the end and then trimmed on the outside. You'll see me doing it in many of my waling teaching tutorials.



Rapping down the work


Rapping can be done after finishing the upsett, but usually I prefer to do some rapping in the middle as well, especially if the band has more rounds of weave. Many times, I will rap down my waling band after joining the second sett, and before trimming the butt ends on the outside. As you rap down your work, try to notice the height of the band all around the basket, and, if one area is a bit higher than the rest, rap it down a bit more strongly. Don't be afraid to be a little aggressive with your rapping iron. Only when I'm rapping above the very flimsy tip ends am I being a bit more gentle, so as to not squash them too much or break them.


Asaf Salim