How to Pick and Prepare Willow for Weaving

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Willow basket weaving supplies

Basket weaving is a technique that is passed from one generation to the other. The pleasure of homesteading is being able to spend an evening making something with your own hands, using resources you grew yourself. For that willow basket weaving supplies is the best option.

Knowing that your materials are renewable, sustainable, organic, and easily available, when you want to build something, gives you a great sense of satisfaction.

Choose Willow for weaving:

You can buy rods that have already been cut and dried. Both the appearance and the toughness are different. If you are new to weaving or don’t have a lot of hand strength, buff willow is a good place to start because it is much easier to work with.

Green willow is a type of undried willow that, if stuck in the ground, could sprout. While weaving a basket from willow directly off the tree would cause it to shrink as it dries, altering the shape of the basket, therefore we prefer to use a willow that has been dried and then re-soaked.

Watch out for Diseases:

The black marks on willow rods point to the disease that the plant was suffering from when growing. These spots are weak and prone and can easily be broken while weaving. Discard these types of rods, or you can work with them if you are satisfied with their work.

Cutting of the Willow:

Willow basket weaving supplies

If you are cutting the willow yourself, keep in mind that there is a season for cutting, i.e. during winters. The reason for this is that the sap is low of year; in the spring, the sap rises in the tree. While the sap is low, the whips are less rigid. Willow is being prepared for weaving into a basket.

Assuming you have dried willow rods from a supplier or have cut your own and dried them indoors or under a hedge for three weeks, you are now ready to re-soak the willow to prepare for weaving. The re-soaking of the dry willow makes it supple and bendy again, allowing you to weave a basket. You won’t be able to build a basket with dried willow because it will break.

The length and type of willow determine the amount of soaking time. The rule of thumb depends on the length of the rods because the rods’ length determines the thickness at the butt ends that the water must enter. Buff willow is soaked for a much shorter time since there is no bark for the water to permeate.

Mellowing:

This is not the end of the procedure, though, because the willow likes to mellow after it has been rinsed. After you remove it from the pond, wrap it in wet towels for an additional length of time equal to the soaking duration, i.e., soak for an hour then mellow for an hour.

Anatomy of Rod:

The rod is thicker at the bottom end, the end closest to the earth when it was growing, which is known as the butt, and thinner at the uppermost end, which is known as the tip. Rods will have a natural curvature to them, with the belly on the inside and the back on the outside

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