Basket weaving glossary: terminology
Basket weaving, like any craft, has its own terminology and expressions. Learning these terms and words will help to understand the weaving process more fully, and understand how to decipher weaving information as you grow your skills.
Once you have your hands on the materials it becomes more natural to use these terms as you work and take in information.
Print our printable glossary for quick and easy access when learning basket weaving and reading your basket weaving patterns.
Basket material terms
A climbing vine that is used to create reed for basket making. Often found in Indonesia.
Using rattan (see above), the inner core of the vine is cut into lengths of different shapes to create reed. This can be cut into round, flat, flat-oval, half round, or oval shapes. This is then used for basket making and furniture.
Reed that has been cut so that both sides are flat.
Reed that has been cut so that one side is flat and the other side has an a rounded surface.
Reed cut in a cylinder, or cut round.
Reed that looks like a half-moon when seen from the end. One side is flat and the other side is rounded, more dramatically than the flat-oval reed.
Cane is made from the outer layer of the rattan vine. This is another material that can be used in basket weaving.
This is a cane that has been cut wider than usual.
Part of a basket, used to conveniently carry the basket.
A handle that has a flat bottom and curves around to create a ‘d’ shape.
A piece of wood or reed that has been formed into a ring. These can be used in ribbed baskets.
A twisted rope of grass.
Strips from an ash tree that are cut and thinned to be used as stakes and weavers. Used in split-ash basketry.
Strips from an oak tree that are cut and thinned to be used as stakes and weavers.
Basket weaving tool terms
Straight tipped packer
A flat headed awl that is used in rattan basket making to pack the weavers together, assist in lashing the rim, and other techniques.
Spoke weight or stake weight
A heavy metal bar used to hold stakes in place when setting up a basket base.
Consisting of a handle and a rod of metal that comes to a point at the end. Used to open spaces and create holes in reed.
Reed cutters or reed scissors
Sharp, short bladed scissors for cutting reed.
Metal and plastic clamps
Metal clamps: small spring loaded clamps made of metal with rubber coating.
Plastic clamps: plastic spring loaded clamps.
These are used at different stages in the basket weaving process to hold things in place and act as a third hand.
Basket weaving terms
Small fibers that stick up on rattan reed.
Stakes or spokes
The pieces of reed that form the foundation of the basket. They are like the bones of the basket- creating the base and the shape.
The terms stakes is typically used for baskets made of flat reed. Spokes generally refers to baskets that have ribs made of thick round reed.
A piece of reed that you are currently using to weave with. Or the pieces of reed that are woven into the walls of the basket.
Placing pieces of reed in a tub of water. The soaking process makes the reed pliable and easier to handle as you weave, so that it doesn’t crack or break.
The bottom of the basket.
A basket base that has been woven in a grid, leaving open spaces between the stakes.
A basket base that has been woven with added weavers between each stake to close the spaces between the stakes.
A technique used to hold the base in shape after all the stakes have been placed and squared up. Its a process of weaving with a length of round reed that’s been folded in half. The loop it placed over a stake and then the two ends are crossed over in between each stake so that they create a loop around the stake, and a cross between the stakes.
After the base has been woven and twining done to hold the stakes in place you fold the stakes upright to create a crease at the base of the stake. This begins to form the walls of the basket.
The process of sliding all layers of weavers towards the base to ensure they are tightly spaced.
Cut and tuck
This term refers to the process of folding over stakes, and cutting stakes around the top of a basket in preparation for the rim. The stakes that sit in front of the top weaver get folded over the weaver creating a “lock” holding everything in place as it gets folded into the interior of the basket, trimmed down and then tucked behind weavers in the inner wall of the basket.
Stakes that sit behind the top weaver get trimmed off flush with the upper edge of the top weaver.
The result is an alternating cut and tuck series around the top of the basket.
The upper edge of the basket.
A joint where the ends of two pieces of reed are cut so that they meet or overlap firmly.
Trimming down the ends of a rim reed so that the overlap of the layers of reed have less bulk.
The reed used to do lashing.
A process of “whip stitching” around the rim to hold it in place.
Lashing that is done around the rim of the basket going around the rim in one direction and then repeated going back over the previous work in the other direction creating cross-stitch or ‘x’ shapes around the rim.
Crow’s feet also called chicken feet
Used in closed base baskets to fold the filler stakes into the basket and under stakes in the base creating ‘v’ shapes in the inside of the basket.
To trim a square edge down to a sloping edge.
Extra spokes added after the original set of spokes.
A braid that is woven around the handle of a basket.
To bring any two ends of material flush against each other.
A technique where a basket is woven with two bases. One base is woven and then a second base is woven on top.
A point on a basket where the rim and handle intersect- lashing or weaving done around this point to hold it securely.
A support around which a basket is woven. For shaped baskets.
Losing a lasher
Term used to refer to hiding the the end of the reed in the rim or in the weaving.
A indentation in a push-in handle that holds the handle in the wall of the basket and prevents it from coming out.
Another term for woven.
An over-under weave done with a single weaver over an odd number of stakes.
Round or oval pieces that form the skeleton of a basket from one side of the basket to the other.
A piece of material placed between the inner and outer rim to fill the gap above the basket walls.
Term used in twill weaving. Describing the process of starting a new row one stake to the right or left of the beginning point on the row previous.
The movement of the weaver. Each time it goes behind or in front of a stake that is a stroke.
A basket that has an inner wall and an outer wall. Essentially two baskets woven into one.
Basket overlay / decoration terms
Dyeing is a process of adding color to the reed by soaking it in a pot of boiling dye.
Also known as simple weave.
Plain weave is done by following an over one, under one pattern of weaving.
The over one, under one pattern alternates from row to row so that the stakes are also going over one, under one vertically.
This is a technique used to create a diagonal weave in the walls of a basket. Great for using up shorter pieces of reed. Weave the base of a basket as normal and then weave the walls up at a forty-five degree angle.
Using two pieces of round reed criss crossing the strands around each stake in a basket. Creating a cross between each stake.
This is a technique used to create a diagonal stairstep affect in the walls of a basket. Weaving with an even number of stakes. There are two main types of twill a 1-2 twill and a 2-2 twill.
This twill is called a one-to-two-twill. This is when the weaver goes under one and over two around the basket and then alternates as you proceed with the rows.
This twill called a two-to-two-twill is where the weaver is going over two stakes and then under two stakes. The next row alternates that pattern so that a stair step pattern forms.
Adding a weaver into the sides of a basket that crosses over the working weavers creating an ‘x’ shape, called a wave on the outside of the basket.
Weave brake terms
A weave brake referrers to the point when you end one row, or weaver and begin a new row or weaver.
This is one row at a time weaving. Weave around the basket, all the way around, and then overlap the ends so that they are tucked away out of sight.
Continuous weave is a technique often used in round basket where the weaver is woven around and around until you reach the end and then you add in a new weaver.
Chase weave involves two weavers being woven at the same time. The ends of the weavers are trimmed down and woven into the basket, on the same side, so as the walls form, they are even. When you get to the end of one or both of the weavers you add in a new length of reed just like you would for a continuous weave.
Basket finishing terms
The process of a basket curing after it’s been created. The reed darkens.
Finish the basket with a sealer to protect it from the elements and dirt.
A mixture of products used to seal the reed of a finished basket.
A mixture of products used to change the color of the basket reed to a desired hue.
Using a stain to finish a basket and change the color of the reed to appear a different shade.