Friday, May 3, 2019

MD Sheep and Wool Festival 2019

This weekend my baskets will be for sale at the MD Sheep and Wool Festival at the Howard County Fairgrounds.  The festival is open from 8:30 to 6:00 on Saturday and from 8:30 to 5:00 on Sunday.

I will share a booth in the main exhibition hall with friend and tinsel painter Carolyn Seabolt, owner of Cat Tracks Studio.   We have combined our wares in the past and look forward to a weekend of seeing old friends and making new acquaintances as we exhibit about our craft.

Stop by and see some of my newest basket styles - including lots of baskets to carry the specialty yarns and wools for sale at the festival.

Monday, April 29, 2019

CPBWG Spring Fever Retreat

The Central Pennsylvania Basket Weavers Guild Spring Fever Retreat was held this past weekend at the Gitt Memorial Library in Hanover, PA.  The Gitt Library was built in the late 1920's as a family summer getaway.  The two story house with wrap around patios and an enclosed porch  is set on beautiful landscaped grounds.  The flowering trees and spring flowers were in full bloom.   You couldn't  ask for a better location to spend a weekend weaving with friends.

 Basket maker Sue Dirsa from Alburtis PA was the featured guest instructor for the weekend.  She lead classes Friday night, Saturday and Sunday.  Sue can be contacted at

Below are tow of the items I wove during the weekend.

Starting on a wooden 15" by 15" frame I wrapped brown flat reed  around the front and back to fill the open space.  Using blue reed and following a twill pattern the front was woven in a  Cherokee star design.  The back side followed a standard 3-3 twill.

Front side

Back side 3-3 twill

7" high and 9" round

This round basket was woven with flat reed, flat oval, round reed and seagrass.   It is woven in a three rod wale pattern using three different weavers to create the row upon row spiral pattern up the sides of the basket.  A band of round reed tops the basket.  A leather strap is  added before the rim is attached.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Palm Sunday Weaving

Palm fronds are widely available for Palm Sunday.

I used some leftover palms to try to weave some classic palm designs.  The palms are green when newly cut.  As they dry out they become lighter in color.

The cross design is the most simple shape to weave.

Weaving the palm fronds into flowers allows for creative designs and bouquets of various shapes and sizes. 


Monday, April 8, 2019

Spring Baskets

Market basket with wooden cutout flowers.

   Spring is here!  

These baskets capture the spirit of growth and renewal that comes with the season.

Pastel colors are used in this market basket

 Purple twill low tray

These and other baskets I have made can be purchased at Off Track Art in Westminster. 


Monday, February 25, 2019

Plastic bags Upcycled into Mats

I enjoy weaving.  In addition to basketry, I have spent some of my time for the past year or so weaving plastic bags into sleep mats as part of a volunteer community service project.

I join a group of retirees once a week to prepare donated plastic shopping bags for weaving.  We first fold the bags, cut them into strips, join them and roll the lengths into balls.   It takes approximately 700 standard shopping bags to make one mat. 

Once the supplies are prepared we make the mats on our own time.  I weave on  a portable, handmade wooden peg loom  that sits on my dining room table.  As the strips are woven to form the mat, it fills up more and more of the table top.  Stripes of color form different patterns.  I enjoy working with different color patterns as I weave the mats.

I typically weave and watch a movie or TV.  It usually takes me about 2 movies to complete a mat. This year I have woven 7 mats in January and February.

 The finished mats are 4 ' x 6".   They are given to police, fire departments and community service organizations to distribute to individuals  known to have a need and often sleep outdoors.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Tobacco Basket


Tobacco baskets have become popular decorative accents for many interiors.  I made a 14" square basket using 1" flat reed following the traditional tobacco basket design.  The shape of the basket was influenced by its early use in the harvesting and sales of tobacco .

Colonial Maryland history and tobacco production are linked.  The demand for tobacco and the Chesapeake waterways allowed the product to be sent across the ocean to London and beyond. Southern Maryland farms grew tobacco, harvested the green leaves, cured them by hanging the leaves in open air tobacco barns.  The leaves were tied into "hands" and laid into tobacco baskets made from split oak. The baskets kept the tobacco off the dirty floors.  Stacks of the tobacco baskets were taken to auction market warehouse for sale.  The open spaces of the basket weave allowed a hook to be attached to pull the baskets to the scales and to load the baskets onto trucks after the sale. Often the company name would be stenciled onto the edge of the basket.  Today baskets are seldom used in warehouses.  They have been replaced by burlap sheets.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Tidewater Guilders Weave 2019

The Tidewater Basketry Guild hosted the 2019 Tidewater Guilders Weave this weekend at the Newport News Marriott.   Along with eight members from CPBWG, I enjoyed the classes, marketplace, hospitality, raffle, and banquet that filled the 4 day schedule.

After checking in on Thursday, I learned a braid to hold together reed to form a mat from Anne Bowers. It was a little difficult to start, but came together nicely.


Friday I wove a low bowl with a 3/3 twill pattern.  We used teal, natural and smoked reed.  The star pattern formed the base.  Jenny Elzy lead the class.  The final bowl was 9" in diameter by 4" high.

Saturday I followed a graph to weave this Cherokee design using 1/4" flat reed in natural and dark green.  The sides were turned up and using 11/64" flat oval wove the sides with a twill pattern.  Judy Wobbleton lead the workshop. The tray measures 15" long by 10" wide by 3" high.

On Sunday I worked with white pine bark for the first time. The pine bark felt like leather when it was wet, but dry hard.   Jennifer Lee lead us in making a mokok, a indigenous container of stitched bark, a round top and squared bottom.  Spruce root was used to sew the bark and to attach the rim of red willow.   A separate lid was cut from bark and rimed with red willow.   Jennifer wild harvested all of the materials for students to use.  It was a fun experience.   If you have the opportunity to take a class like this you should give it a try!