Once a traditional and necessary task, crafters are taking renewed interest in basic basket weaving techniques in order to make decorative and useful baskets. There are many ways to make a basket, the four most common being coiled, woven, plaited, and twined.
A coiled basket is made by using a pliable core that can be wrapped in a circular pattern and shaped as you go. Each successive coil is stitched to the previous one. Traditional coiling materials include pine needles, straw, and other grasses. Raffia, horsehair, and skeined willow are examples of stitching materials. Modern crafters make coiled baskets out of thick paper cord or heavy cotton cord, sometimes covered with fabric, stitched with heavy thread.
Woven baskets are what most people think of when they think of basket making. A woven basket has a framework of spokes or stakes, usually made of a fairly sturdy but pliable wood, interwoven with reed or cane. Other traditional materials include willow, woodsplint, and heavy paper. Contemporary woven baskets can be made of traditional materials but are also made out of combinations of wood, paper, fabric, ribbon, old cassette tape, and other fibers.
Plaited baskets are the result of weaving two same materials together. This is much like weaving paper placemats in kindergarten. Common materials include wood weavers made from the splitting and pounding of oak, maple, and ash. Other materials include yucca, birch bark, flat reed, and heavy paper. Again, any pliable contemporary material can be used as well.
Like woven baskets, twined baskets start with a base of spokes made out of flexible natural materials. Instead of weaving another fiber through the spokes, two or more flexible fibers are woven simultaneously with a twist between each spoke. If two fibers are used, the technique is called pairing. With three fibers, it becomes waling. Various natural fibers can be used, including day lilies, cedar or elm bark, or reed. Waxed linen, raffia, plastic, ribbon, and other contemporary fibers can also be used.