You don't need a class in basket-weaving to get the hang of creating a handmade basket. Coiled baskets can be made by a novice.
Step 1: Form a bundle of grass Dampen a pencil-thick bundle of dried marsh grass.
Step 2: Wrap the end of the bundle with raffia Tie raffia to one end of the bundle and wrap the loose end around the bundle about 10 times as you move up its length. Leave a small gap between each wrap.
TIP: When you reach the end of the raffia, lay the end of the first raffia along the bundle of grass, and then place the end of the new strand next to the ends of the old strand. Wind the new raffia around the old until the old raffia is covered.
Step 3: Coil the bundle Bend the bundle around itself tightly so that it forms a coiled circle with the wrapped end at the center and the loose end free.
TIP: When you need to add more grass to the bundle, insert the stem ends of new grasses, a few at a time.
Step 4: Extend the coil Wrap the raffia three times around the uncovered part of the coil, and then use a threaded needle to connect the raffia to the wrapped part with a figure-eight stitch. Pull the stitch tight. Continue sewing figure-eight stitches until the coil is covered and closed.
Step 5: Repeat the same pattern Extend the loop, wrapping the next section of the bundle with raffia and sewing it to the loop underneath with a figure-eight stitch. Continue binding and wrapping at 1-inch intervals as you enlarge the circle.
TIP: Build the coils up gradually over each other at the desired angle to add height to the basket.
Step 6: Finish the basket Attach the final coil end to the previous one with a figure-eight stitch, and then wrap the raffia around the final two rows and the previous row. Thread the raffia back through the figure-eight stitch and cut it free.
FACT: Coiled baskets are used in the Apache Sunrise Ceremony -- a rite of passage by which a girl passes from adolescence to womanhood.