One of our customers shared this tip with us recently:
To keep the dyed reed from running, use ALUM in the rinse
water after dying the reed The dyed reed will not run.
Alum can be purchased at the pharmacy, or look in the
spice area of the grocery store. I personally have not
tried this yet, but I will very soon, so I'll let you
know how it works. If anyone else has tried it, please
let us know.
Caring for your baskets: You have spent much time and
effort on your baskets, so don't let the care end when
the rim is lashed. Your baskets should have a shower once
a year at least. The best time to do this is during the
summer months. Hold the basket under the shower to rinse
off the dust, dirt, etc. that has collected , then hang
the basket outside to dry. A little sun won't hurt it,
but just a little, especially if it has dyed reed in it.
Move it to the shade to let it air out. The sun will fade
any dyed reed. If your basket seems very dry, dip it into
a mixture of 1 tablespoon of glycerin to a bucket of warm
water, then hang to dry. This will help to keep the basket
You must air dry damp / wet reed before storing in any
kind of a container, including paper bags. If you put
away wet reed, it will mold and grow "hair"
If you have moldy or mildewed reed, it can be salvaged.
Let it dry out thoroughly. If it is real bad, try soaking
in bleach water, but keep in mind this will dry out the
natural oils in the reed. If it's not too bad, try spot
cleaning it with a Q-tip dipped in a watered down bleach
solution. OR dye the bad reed using a dark color. I have
dyed moldy reed before, sometimes the mold spots show
through the dye, but will look "aged". This
can work for some baskets. Use your own judgment on whether
or not to try to save the damaged reed or to just toss
When rewetting dyed reed before weaving into your basket,
add a handful of salt, or a cup of vinegar to the the
COLD water. Then pull the dyed reed through a dry paper
towel to absorb excess water. This will help keep the
colors from running.
"Children are the anchors that hold a mother to
Take time to make this a wonderful sharing year. You will
learn so much from your children, when you take the time
to share your knowledge with them. So, teach them to weave
a basket, paint a bird, bake a cake, smell a rose...
You know those little round plastic 35mm film containers?
I use them in my tool box for small items like needles,
tiny doll clothespins, end of the spool wax linen thread,
or whatever little things I need to carry and dont
want to loose. A ball point pen will write on the top
to label each container.
When you open a new bundle of reed, replace the manufacturer's
tie at the gathered end with a rubber band. This will
hold all the ends securely in place, but will easily release
the pieces as you need them. Tighten rubber band as needed.
Always store reed in dry place.
To get that "old look" on wood bases for baskets,
or any piece of wood, stain the wood first, then paint
with an acrylic, doing one or two coats as you desire.
When completely dry, sand back the "wear" areas,
such as corners, setting area, or areas that would naturally
show wear. The stain under the paint makes the wood look