Tips and Tricks

From Karen L. Fink:  I purchased a very tall storage bin on rollers with deep drawers.  I labeled all my drawers and store all my coils in the bin drawers.  As I use them, I simply get out what I need and the remaining coils automatcally roll back up and I store back in the drawers.  If you cannot find a very tall one then you can buy 2 shorter ones (I did this too) and stack them.  Simply remove the rollers on the top one and place on top of the other.  Fasten the 2 bins together with a screw.  Put the rollers on the bottom one. I have 3 of them and this is all I need.  I roll them in and out of the closet as i need them.  There is virtually no clean up if you stay organized and only get out what you need and put the rest back. (2/04/03)

Lillian offers this storage tip:
After cutting the strings from your roll of reed I use the long craft type pipe cleaners to secure the roll. They are easy to undo and do hold the roll securely. I usually use 3 on each roll of reed. Inexpensive too. (7/26/00)

 From Faye M. Bushey, Sisters' Crafts in Milbridge ME: I am a basket weaver, teacher, and own a retail craft supply store. I purchased an IV pole at a yard sale a couple years ago and it works perfectly for holding "in use" reed. The round loops at the top are open enough to insert a new coil, or a coil may be bound with a twist tie, add a loop on the end of the twist tie and hook loop over the open end of the IV hook. As the pole is adjustable, the center can be unscrewed, pole let down to working level (especially great for us short people), insert reed then push pole to its full extension, center clamp tightened and the reed is allowed to hang down for easy accessibility. Great purchase for only $5.00!! (3/25/99)

 From Annette Barnard: I have a tiny little spare room. I have a lot of reed! So my son put ferring strips horizontally in the room. Drilled holes at an angle to fit dowels in (also at an angle) and hang my reed according to size on these dowels. It displays everything and size and is so very handy. (3/1/99)

 From Kati in Carolina: I have a basket room about the size of a small walk-in closet. Besides the shelving, I store my handles on wall brackets used to hang up plants. I use 's' hooks to hang small baskets with different supplies such a clothespins, tapes, etc., from the wires in the shelving overhead. For my reed, I use crates that came with a organizer shelf -type kit from WalMart. I use large baskets on the floor for my colored reed and scraps. (1/8/99)

 From Purdue: I am installing peg board and using bicycle hooks to hold my coils of reed. I've also coiled same color and sizes of reed so that it is all together when I am making a basket. It also lets me know when I am getting low on a color and need to dye some more. (3/9/98)

 From Sue Little: There are metal uprights for adjustable shelves that hold shelf brackets with 2 pins on them. Attach uprights to the wall about 16 " apart and use the shelf brackets to hold reed and handles rather than just shelves. They can be easily adjusted and are pretty cheap. The 12" brackets can hold 5-7 items so a 48" upright can be used to store 30-40 lbs of reed. And, thanks to the weaver that thought to use pony tail holders on opened reed I can now store more of it on the brackets. (10/17/97)

 From Trish Morris: I used to teach Adult Ed Basketmaking, transported reed in boxes, plastic bags, etc. none of which was very satisfactory. Finally hit on making some huge tote bags out of denim and an old rib cord remnant (remember rib cord bedspreads). Made them about 45 inches wide, 30 inches high. squared off the bottom corners, to box them, made 2 fairly long matching fabric handles, and put velcro strips in the top to close them partially. They could be carried over my shoulder, drug along behind, or whatever. They don't weigh much. I tried to keep them divided by flat in one bag and round in the other, half round, handles, seagrass and other odds and ends went in the third one. I've since quit doing baskets (for a while) and have passed on my bags, my current basket buddy loves them! Hope this helps!
I used to store my reed on hooks I made out of old coat hangers, bent up into a V shape, hang these from a coated wire closet shelf in my basement. Could still put things atop the shelf. (10/12/97)

 Storage tip from Brenda Johnson: I have a small craft room and don't want to waste any space. The method to my "madness" is to take drawstring kitchen garbage bags (in white), one for each size of reed. (I have every size, now that I teach classes in the winter.) On each bag I take a black marker and write the size. I hang these bags from pegs hanging at the top of the wall. My husband made me a hook on a stick to hang up the bags and to retrieve them. I can't reach the pegs because I have my work table right under it. If I need #2 round, I grab my hook-on-a-stick and retrieve it without even getting up. I hang more than one size to a peg(several, in fact)and they sort of file themselves along the wall. If a bag gets too ragged from wear, just pitch it as you've gotten a lot of good out of it! Hope this can help out your jungle of basket reed as it has mine. (9/9/97)

 From Melanie Dilts:I live in a mobile home so storage is at a premium, especially with a 7 year old and all of her toys). So far the method that I have found to work the best is to use 2 gallon freezer zip lock bags. I put 1 size of reed in each ( it has a write on label on the bag) and write the correct size on it. Then I put all the bags in a large rubbermaid container (I think the ones I have are designed for blankets). Handles etc go in a shallower container. With the lids on they are easily stackable in a closet.

 From Kim Girard: We all probably have a zillion little pieces of reed that we hate to throw away but don't know what to do with. There are several baskets that I make that require short pieces of reed. I cut the tops off several 2-litre bottles and labeled them (1/2" @ 5", etc.). When I have a short piece left over, I measure and trim it to the desired length, then drop it into the appropriate bottle. When I'm ready to make those baskets, I just have to count out the number of pieces I need; they're already measured.

 From Sue Ann Allen: I had a narrow closet in which I placed several "tension" shower rods. Some rods were for unopened coils of reed (you just slip them over the end of the rod) and some were for "open and using" reed (just loop 12-18 inches over the rod and let the rest hang loose). This worked out great, was inexpensive, and I can now move the "system" to my new house!

Debra VanBriesen writes: I live in military quarters and have definite storage problems for anything let alone reed and baskets. But here is what I have done and seems to work for me: My work table is in between the dining room and living room and I have taken 2x4 added legs and put short pieces of dowel through it to hold the reed I am currently working with. I keep it coiled and there it is withing reach. I imagine some sort of coat rack or tree would also work. I buy reed and handles in large quantities so my laundry room is now lined with pegboard with shelves above the washer and dryer and above the door. The shelves hold overstock coils that don't fit on the pegboard and if you stack them flat with the tags out you can see what you have. Then I have long pegboard hooks, one for each size/type and put an adhesive label marking it. Each hook will hold 3-5 coils. Colored reed is another story. Here I began to run out of wall space. Generally I sort colored reed by color rather than by size, so I coil and tie it with a piece of twine then hang each color from an opened metal shower curtain hook in the slats of the byfold doors which close off my furnace and water heater. I seldom open those doors anyway and can see everything at a glance. Handles are the same - Long pegboard hooks, sometimes I tie them together with twine first so more will fit on a hook.

For tangled reed, Cheri Branca suggests: With number 1 or 2 round reed, I take the large coil, unroll it a bit, and slowly work out a piece. I then drop that piece on the floor where it coils back up on its own, correctly. Then I take the ends and twist them around the coil a few times (not backwards), to lock the "mini" coil or "ring" tighter. The same technique -- only tighter -- is used to make rings for lids, etc. I do this with all the pieces and it seems to take care of the problem. I do the same with leftover pieces.

 From Gail L. Johnson: I use Rubbermaid Storage boxes, different sizes, depending on the size of the reed and how much room it will take. I have one storage container for each different size, and store them all on a metal rack in my basement where I work. Everything is right at eye's glance, you just get the container you need, which is labeled, use it, and return it to the shelf. Sure saves on the mess you can create when the reed is not stored in some manageable fashion.

 From Connie Vinci: For ease of toting the materials and keeping them, I made a large basket in which to store my basketry supplies. It lives in my sewing room in the basement, lifted off the floor by a couple of 2x4's. Reed is wound up tidily and put in it, a plastic basin (ew! that's not a natural materials!) is stored there too. A smaller basket I made holds my clamps, tape measure, awl, etc. and sits on top of the heat. My basket books are on the shelf overhead.

 Katherine Richardson says: I have found that an easy way to store reed is to use shelving brackets. We have the metal strips for the brackets on one wall of the garage and then use the shelving brackets as large hooks for reed. The are also good drying hooks for dying reed. Another easy tip for keeping the ends of a bunch of reed together is to use the plastic garbage bag ties. These can be tightened as needed to keep the reed together. We also use these ties when dying reed to hold the reed in a circle. They don't pick up the dye and can be used over and over again. I've just discovered this site and look forward to interesting learning.

 From Nancy Marshall: I have lined the wall of the guest room closet with hooks. Each hook is designated to hold a different size reed. I don't separate the dyed, smoked, flat oval or flat reed, but rather group them by size only because I can see to differentiate between these easily. I try to keep the reeds in coils and tie them with twine. One of the ties is tied as a loop so that the reed will hang up on the hook. The most helpful part of this system in grouping the reeds by sizes is that I can see at a glance if I have enough of a particular size reed for a project without having to sort through piles of bags or boxes, or measuring the make sure of the width.

 From Linda Braun: I stumbled onto a handy system to hang coils of smaller size reed when working with them. I have a cafe curtain rod (the size that sticks out about an inch from the wall) down about five inches from the ceiling in the workshop. When I open a coil of narrow reed, I put the tied end of the whole bundle down behind the rod about 18 inches and let the rest hang down. It straigtens out after it hangs a while and one piece can easily be pulled from the bunch as needed. When not in use the bottom part of the coil can be tied back up out of the way -- so I can get to the laundry room. Does anybody understand this? Maybe we need a picture here!

 From Brenda Urda: Store reed, even if wet, in cotton pillow cases. The cotton allows the reed to "air out" so it won't get moldy.

From Pat Lugert: I purchased an over-the-door shoe rack. I bent forward some of the individual shoe holders and put the rolls of reed on them. Be careful bending the shoe holders because they can break. The door doesn't open completely but at least it keeps the reed out of the way. I've even put some of the rolls over the bed posts in the spare bedroom. I'm not completely satified with the system, but it's working until another solution is found.

From Cheri Branca: I use a laundry sorter for storing my "opened and using" reed. The sorter is the style with casters and three fabric sections. I have a pound or less of each kind and size reed in its own large kitchen style clear plastic bag with a drawstring. I write in permanent marker the size and type of each clearly on both sides of the bag. I put all my flat reed in one section, trying to keep them in order of size. I put all my flat oval in the next, and put my round, dyed, cane and ash in the last. It makes it so easy to find what I'm looking for, keeps it off the floor and I can wheel it out of sight when I need to. The rest of my reed I store in 18 gallon plastic storage containers (Rubbermaid Rough Totes are really nice). I bought different colors for the different types of reed and some of my handles. I also made some handle holders that hang on my wall. They are made with 1" wide twill tape that have added-on pieces, spaced about 9" apart, that have velcro on them that loop back on themselves so that you can hold several handles on each loop. My main suggestion other than the above is to be sure not to store anything in the plastic bags until it is completely dry--don't need to mildew your reed.

 From an anonymous caner at Klink.Net: I mainly do chair caning, so this may not apply to everyone. To store spline, or any other long items, I use 1 gallon cans. I remove the bottoms, screw the cans to a post, the wall, the storage ovrhand in my shop, etc; then fill. I also found some antique pie carriers that hold unopened cane and reed nicely. To transport cane to class, I made "body bags" out of muslin. they have a drawstraing at the top.

Would love to hear other people's suggestions.

If you have storage suggestions for basket supplies or finished baskets, e-mail them to Linda at Baskets, Etc.

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