Jane Patrick, "Time To Weave"

Jane Patrick, "Time To Weave"

For reasons unknown, I have been smitten with the idea of weaving stuff.  I live in a wooded/rural area, so there's plenty of raw material lying around.  The vine maples alone send up enough canes to make a thousand chairs a year, and that's just the ones that insist on sprouting out of my lawn.  Not to mention the willow tree in the front yard.  The less said about which the better.  ("Unkempt" is probably too kind a word.)

Baskets.  Room dividers.  Plant supports and trellises.  I don't know… neat stuff.  What else do you do with basketry?  I'm not really sure, but I'm itching to try it.

The last time I went to the library, I checked out two books on basket weaving.  This is the more project-oriented of the two.  Subtitled "Simply elegant projects to make in almost no time," it gets right to the meat of the issue and focuses on patterns and instructions.

There are a lot of things to like about this book.  First of all, the projects are all super contemporary.  There isn't a single project here that wouldn't look out of place in an Ikea, and I mean that as the highest form of praise.  Lots of cutting edge materials, and a graphic aesthetic that's both clean and attractive.  

When you think "basket weaving" you may (as I did) think of fussy little baskets that weird old ladies line with lace doilies and fill with teddy bears, for decorative purposes.  (My friend's mother has several of those.  Another is filled with fake harvest fruit, year round.  She also has a small ladder the sole purpose of which is to serve as a decorative place to display teddy bears.  But I digress.)

The stuff in this book is the opposite of that.  The antidote, really.  Just check out the woven cork trivet, so Danish Contemporary!  Or the white paper cards with woven cut-out heart on the front, so clean and crisp!  Or the "Tile Wrap" project, where raffia string is woven across a worn quartzite tile, and displayed on the wall - very zen, very Feng Shui.

The instructions are clear and friendly, and walk you through the steps without getting intimidating.  As with so many books from Interweave Press, the text is lightened up by the inclusion of pull-quotes, pictures, and the occasional friendly aside.  

A wide variety of projects are included, from knotted cord placemats and ponytail holders to weaving a basic tote bag on a frame loom.  "Weave" is obviously a vague word, and in this case includes everything from tying decorative knots to, yes, making woven baskets.

Part of what attracted me to this book is the variety of materials it uses, and the potential for recycling.  For example, the aforementioned woven baskets are created from plaited paper.  The author suggests using paper grocery bags, which creates an origami-like tubular basket with flashes of color from the store logos.  Alternative materials include newspaper, and discarded iris leaves from the author's garden.