Learn Wicker Weaving Patterns for Beautiful Basketry

wicker weaving patter

Whether you are an aspiring basket weaver just starting or a seasoned basket maker looking to improve your skills, understanding various wicker weaving patterns is essential. While the basic basket weave is a great place to begin, many other techniques allow for creating unique textures, designs, and basket shapes.

By learning new patterns, you expand your creative options and open yourselves up to tackling more intricate basket styles. Different materials like reed, wicker, rattan, and even natural vines each suit certain patterns. We’ll cover basics like plain weave and twill, as well as less common but interesting patterns such as coiling, rya knots, and checkerboards.

Experimenting with different patterns grows your skills so you can take on more challenging projects. Whether creating planters, storage baskets, or decorative pieces, having a mix of techniques in your arsenal allows for endless woven possibilities. Let’s start with discussing some fundamental wicker weaving patterns to build your knowledge.

Expanding Your Weaving Techniques

While this article focuses on essential wicker weaving patterns, utilizing additional techniques can further diversify your basketry skills. Consider exploring the following methods as well:

Twining

Twining involves weaving flexible fiber like twine or string around stakes or rods in a wrapping motion. It produces a subtle ridged texture and is known for styles like yin-yang baskets. Try combining it with plain weave sections on projects.

Plaiting

Three or more fibers are interlaced over and under for a braided appearance when plaiting. Experiment with multiple thinner fibers like round reeds to make woven straps, trims, or even entire plaited baskets.

Unique Basket Styles

Challenge yourselves beyond traditional round or square containers by attempting saddle-style baskets or framed open-weave bouquets. Having a mix of patterns under your belt allows customize each wicker basket’s composition.

Best Materials

While reed dominates, exploring plant-based fibers like seagrass, bark, or palm fronds offers textural variety. Consider harvesting wild materials on nature outings for rustic woven baskets.

Plain/Basic Basket Weave 

The basic basket weave is one of the simplest patterns for you all to learn but remains extremely versatile. It involves alternating the weaving direction of flexible materials like reed or wicker to create a strong, pliable base for many basket styles. 

How the Basic Weave Works

The plain weave gets its name because the pattern is very straightforward. You all simply take your reed, wicker, or other chosen material and alternate its movement over and under the lengthwise spokes or stakes of the basket. Always weaving one strip over one spoke and under the next creates a simple crossover pattern that results in a durable yet flexible structure. 

Best for Beginners 

Because it is easy for you to see how the weave patterns should lie and easy to fix mistakes, the plain basket weave is highly recommended as one of the first techniques new basket weavers should learn. Its simplicity makes it a low-pressure way for you all to get comfortable with basic movements like wrapping, weaving, and shaping the sides of the basket. 

Common Materials Used 

Many different materials can be used for the basic basketweave pattern

Popular options for you all to consider include: 

  • Reed – One of the most common materials, reed is thin, pliable, and comes in various widths. It lends itself well to basic basket shapes.
  • Wicker – Similar to reed but thicker, wicker gives baskets a sturdier feel and allows for embellishments like thinner reed accents.
  • Rattan – A very hard-wearing material that maintains flexibility. Rattan is excellent for baskets that will receive heavy use.
  • Vines – Natural vines from raspberries, willow, or other plants can make beautiful rustic baskets when split or rolled.

So in summary, you have a variety of economical materials to choose from for your first plain basket weaving attempts. Experiment to see which “speaks to you.” 

Twill Weave 

Twill weave adds interest to baskets with its diagonal lines. It’s a bit more challenging than a basic weave but still straightforward to master with some practice.

Diagonal Lines 

When using twill, your goal is to alternate the upper and lower position of each material strip to create a diagonal ribbing effect across the basket sides. To do this, insert each new strip by going over one spoke and under the next at a slant. Continue this pattern of alternating over-under movements down the entire basket. As your skills improve, you can experiment with different twill variations like “left-leaning” or “right-leaning” designs. 

Attractive Texture 

The diagonal ribbing created by Twill gives your baskets an attractive raised texture that will stand out. It lends visual depth and makes even simple baskets look more detailed and artful. Many basket weavers enjoy alternating between plain and twill weaves within the same basket to showcase different effects. 

Additional Twill Tips 

When first practicing twill, you may find it helpful to mark the diagonal line with a pencil or highlighter on your practice material so you can easily track the over-under pattern. Don’t worry about perfection – just focus on getting the overall slanted look down. With repeated attempts, the twill motions will become second nature for you. 

Diagonal Weave 

Another way to add interest through lines is to weave materials over and under spokes in an alternating diagonal configuration across whole rows.

Direction Changes 

Whereas twill leans to one side continually, diagonal weaving switches the over-under direction periodically as you progress down the basket. This results in a zig-zag or stepped appearance.

Angled Patterns 

Dynamic diagonal patterns can transform simple rounds into hexagons, octagons, and more. You’ll find many basket shapes and styles open up by playing with different diagonal weave variations. 

Coil Weaving 

Coiling refers to weaving with coiled or spiraled materials instead of flat strips or stakes. It yields very different finished looks and is often used for round baskets. 

Uses Coiled Poles 

Making coils begins by tightly wrapping material like reed, wicker, or vine strips around a pencil or narrow rod to form stiff cylindrical poles. These can then be positioned around the basket rim to weave in and out as you progress inward. 

Popular for Round Baskets 

Since the coiled poles naturally bend around curves, coil weaving is especially well-suited for rounding off rims on bottles, hats, or baskets meant to sit upright. Coils allow you to sew a perfectly symmetrical circular shape with ease. 

Tools for Coiling 

A few essentials can aid your coiling efforts – clamps to secure coil rods in place initially, needle-nose pliers for gripping small coils, and wire cutters to cleanly cut poles from the rod when finished. With practice, coiling can become second nature too. 

Over-Two Under-Two Weave 

Building on plain weave basics, the over-two under-two pattern lifts baskets to a new level through its rhythmic texture. Let’s examine some key aspects of this technique. 

Pulling Material Over and Under 

As the name implies, you simply pull each new weaving strip over two spokes, then under the next two, creating a bolder overlay appearance compared to a basic weave. It works well for more substantial baskets. 

Builds on Plain Weave

Over-two under-two is easy to pick up if you’ve mastered plain weave first. The motions are very similar, alternating over and under, just in doubled sets rather than individually. Knowing plain weave foundations makes the pattern variation feel natural and intuitive. 

Benefits of the Pattern 

The deeper ridged look that results is extremely appealing and lends visual interest. At the same time, this weave still keeps the basket pliable and durable like plain weave. It allows you to expand technically without straying too far outside your comfort zone. 

Rya Knot or Rib Weave

Creating a horizontal ribbed appearance is another classic texture. You can produce this effect using a traditional rya knot method. 

Knot Creates Ribs 

To rya knot, simply pass sprigs of material over, under, and back through consecutive rungs in a repeating bunched formation. Pull each knot snug for definition. Go back and forth like this down the entire basket length. 

Frequently Used 

Due to its attractive woven fibers coinciding with sturdy construction, rib weave translates beautifully into three-dimensional forms like stools, tables, and boxes. Unfurling the knots also yields lovely knitted-like fabrics.

Checkerboard Pattern 

Creating a checkerboard appearance is another visual feat you can master. This pattern results in a very polished, symmetrical design. 

Square Pattern 

To weave a checkerboard, lay out your spokes or ribs in sets of two lines vertically and horizontally to delineate squares. Then simply alternate weaving material over one square and under the next in a repeated fashion down and across the whole basket face or surface. 

Step-by-Step Instructions 

If you need a refresher on the specific motions, I’d be happy to provide simplified step-by-step visual guides showing how to catch the materials in and out of each square space to reliably achieve the checkerboard effect. The design is suited well to boxes, trays, and other items that showcase the front.