Lashing the rim is a vital step in basket weaving. This guide will walk you through lashing a basket rim for a refined look and sturdy finish.
(Visit the main Basket Weaving Page for a complete guide to all Textile Indie’s basket weaving posts and videos.)
How do you finish a basket rim?
Rattan baskets are finished with a rim and lashing technique. The most common types of lashing are the basic and cross-stitch, or X-lashing.
For a complete list of basket terminology:
What is lashing?
Lashing is a process of “whip stitching” around the rim to hold it in place. To do this, the basket weaver uses a long length of reed, approximately a third of the width of the rim reed. Usually, a rim lashing is a flat reed or a flat oval reed.
For small baskets, weavers sometimes use a round reed.
The long length of the reed is soaked in water to make it pliable. The reeds threaded around the rim layers and upper row to secure the rim to the basket. Whip stitches are continued around the rim, holding everything snuggly in place and securing all aspects of the basket neatly together.
Lashing a rim aims to pull the lashing as tight as possible without breaking the lashing reed. Pulling each stitch tight will avoid having significant gaps in the rim once the basket is completely dry.
There are two methods used to lash a rim:
Basic lashing is what I cover in this post. It can also be called a whip stitch or single lashing. As seen in the basket below, the lashing reed spirals around the rim.
Cross-stitch lashing or X-lashing
A cross-stitch lashing or x-lashing is created by running a basic lash around the rim in one direction and then going back over the first round of lashing in the opposite direction, creating a criss-cross in the lashing reed, or ‘x’ shapes.
If you prefer cross-stitch lashing, I have a tutorial for you!
See How to Do Cross-Stitch or X-Lashing on a Basket Rim for a complete guide on how to do the x-lashing technique.
Have you set up the rim?
Of course, you must set up the basket’s rim before you can get to the lashing.
Read How to Set Up a Rim on Your Basket to do this.
Follow the steps to prepare your basket for the lashing.
Step-by-step guide to basic lashing
To see basket lashing in motion, check out this video – the process is the same for round and rectangular baskets:
Gather materials and tools for lashing:
- Basket with the rim set up (see post, How to Set Up the Rim on Your Handwoven Basket, for instructions on how to prepare the rim)
- Workspace (see video, Setting up a Basket Weaving Workspace)
- Reed shears
- Lashing reed (the size and width depend on the basket you are working on. See more below)
- Straight tipped packer
- Spray bottle
- Water tub
Measuring out lashing reed
Measure out enough lashing reed to wrap around the top of the basket three times.
Soak lashing reed
It’s a rough life for the lashing reed as you pull it through the spaces in the basket and slide it through your hands. In order to avoid cracking the reed, soak it in a tub of warm water for five minutes before beginning to lash your rim.
When you are in the process of lashing your rim, make sure to stop every few stitches to spray the lashing reed and the rim with the spray bottle of water to keep the reed damp.
Start the lashing
Create the starting knot
With the rim securely held with plastic clamps and a wet piece of soaked lashing reed, begin by tucking the lashing between the inner rim and the top row of weaving of the basket. Do this right over a stake. (see the image below.)
The lashing reed should be positioned over a stake.
Bring the end you tucked down between the layers back up and around into the same space again. Create a loop around the inner rim.
Grab the length of reed looped around the rim, pull down to tighten the loop, and cinch the ‘knot.’ Remember, tight, but not too tight; you don’t want to snap the reed.
Then tuck the end behind the rows of weaving that go over top of the stake its secure against.
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How to do basic lashing
The whipstitch happens between each stake in the basket. You will be catching the top row of weaving and the rim in each stitch so that they sandwich together, holding everything firmly to the basket.
Please do this by grasping the lashing reed with your non-dominant hand and sliding it gently through your fingers to the end.
The point of doing this is to keep the reed oriented in the same direction along the whole length. You don’t want it to twist when you create your stitch.
Using the straight tipped packer slide the tip into the space between the first and second rows of the basket to create room for the lashing reed to slide between.
Orient the reed (as described above by sliding it through your hand), slide the lashing reed into the space, and through. Once you’ve pulled all the excess through, tighten your whipstitch by pulling on the working reed.
Pull tight on the lashing reed as you work. The reed begins to shrink as it dries. If it’s not tight when the reed is damp, the lashing and rim become loose and more vulnerable to breakage.
Continue doing this process around the rim, putting one stitch into each space between the stakes of the basket.
Lashing over the overlapped ends of the rim
When you go over the joints in the rim, hold the rim in place and maintain its position so that the rim sits right against the basket. Try to catch the rim joint with a stitch to keep it tight.
Lashing over a handle
If your basket has a handle, there are two ways to lash around it. You can continue doing the lashing, creating a whipstitch over the handle, essentially treating the handle as if it were another stake.
Or you can create a whip stitch over the handle and then turn and go back over in the opposite direction creating an ‘x’ over the handle. Doing the ‘x’ stitch is slightly more durable than one loop.
I’ll go into a little more detail on that x-lash handle detail:
To do the ‘x’ over the handle, create your basic stitch like usual. Looping around the rim and sliding through the space on the other side of the handle.
Then, bring it up and cross it over in the opposite direction. This will create the ‘x’ shape. Slide the lashing reed back through the space on the first side of the handle. There will now be two stitches in that space.
To continue lashing from here, you will bring the lashing reed back around the handle on the inside of the basket and go into the next space between stakes.
From here, lash normally until you reach the other side of the handle and repeat the process.
Ending the lashing – tying off
Keep your lashing reed and all the rim wet as you work. Pull tight on the lashing as you go. Again, a reminder that the reed shrinks as it dries. A loose rim is easily broken and looks sloppy.
To tie off the lashing and finish the rim, loop it around the inner rim and pull it down into the basket wall to secure it – as you did for the starting knot. Tuck the end into the weavers in the basket wall.
If you run out of lashing reed – or it breaks
If you accidentally run out of lashing reed before you’ve made it around the rim of your basket, or if the lashing reed breaks while pulling it tight, you add a new piece of reed.
Undo a few lashed stitches so that you have a tail.
Tuck the tail inside the basket between the top and second row of weavers.
Loop it around the inner rim and pull it down into the wall of the basket to secure it – this is the same technique you used for the starting knot.
Begin with a new length of lashing reed.
Create a knot the same way you did when you began lashing the basket.
Then continue lashing the rim as you have been.
Allowing the basket to dry
When the rim is complete, do any final shaping or molding of the basket while it is still wet. Allow the basket to dry overnight.
Signing the basket
Sign and date your basket with a waterproof pen. Documenting your work is a great way to see your progress as you continue to weave baskets.
You can put your mark on your custom baskets in many other creative ways. Check out the post, Signing Your Handwoven Baskets: Leaving a Legacy.
Staining or sealing the basket
Once your basket is completely dry, you have the option to stain or seal the basket.
I highly suggest at least sealing your basket with a clear finish to preserve the basket and avoid mildew and mold.
You can also choose to stain your basket with a wood stain that will change the color of your basket. Consider staining if you want something darker, a wash of color, or a slightly different wood tone.
For a complete guide to all Textile Indie’s basket weaving posts and videos, visit the main Basket Weaving Page.
More basket weaving techniques:
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