This is a post that, embarrassingly, started back in April (you can tell by Eliza's long hair!). I had called my friend M to ask if she'd be able to have my girls for a couple of hours while I went to a doctor's appointment. Not only did she say yes, but she also offered to make baskets with them, sort of along the lines of, "I've been meaning to do this for a while, and should we just go for it?"
Of course I said Yes! This woman is incredibly generous with her talents and with her time, and over the next few months we finished and started several baskets, with me working in some childcare for her in trade for her materials and time. I love when that works out for everyone.
What we learned was called continuous weave, meaning that the ends overlap and are hidden, creating the illusion of being woven out of one long reed. Ani started her basket, spiraling around the bottom spokes, but then the allure of playing with her friend, M's son, and the legos, the hose, the water balloons...well, her basket sort of became my project, which was fine with me.
Eliza, not surprisingly, had no problem learning the various skills involved, and aside from the occasional need for stronger, adult fingers to hold and pull, she accomplished her basket on her own.
We finished our baskets mid-summer (that's "mine" in the foreground above - it's now a wastepaper basket next to Ani's bed; Eliza's holds her fabric scraps), and M, Eliza and I started new ones that haven't gotten too far yet. I think the one I'm working on is called Appalachian flat weave. Actually, Ani and I were over at their house yesterday (Eliza is still in Maine), with the idea that we'd further our progress, but then there was dinner and there was a bottle of wine, and so much to talk about, and having experienced this a couple of times - I mean, Mamas need to unwind and let off steam too, right? - I'm starting to think that "making baskets" might become a euphemism for a mad session of talking, brainstorming, laughing...I'd like to think that we are merely following in a solid part of the basket-making tradition.