Basketry is one of the oldest and most valuable of the crafts. As far back as the time of the Israelites we read of its usefulness in offering sacrifices. Of necessity it was born, and in its infancy was made into simple forms, but very soon its importance to man was so duly felt and appreciated that new forms took shape, and its uses were so extended that the early basket makers vied with one another in producing pleasing work and in discovering new and various kinds of materials to put into it. That this book may be of help to the basket maker and that it may bring much success and happiness to the reader is the wish of the author who has spent many happy hours in preparing it.
THE FIRST LESSON
Reed is a brittle material, therefore it must be soaked in water before using. The time required depends on the number of the reed used. No. 00 merely dipped in water can be used successfully. Nos. 1 and 2 can be used after soaking in water ten minutes; Nos. 4 and 5 after fifteen or twenty minutes. Either cold or hot water may be used, the hot water consuming less time to soak the reed than the cold.
No. 4 and No. 2 reeds are commonly used together in ordinary sized baskets. No. 4 for the spokes, which form the foundation upon and around which No. 2, as the weaver, is woven.
The weaving of a round mat or basket is begun in the center and woven out toward the end. It is absolutely necessary that beginners master the fundamental steps, for no basket can be well made that has a