“Twining” is a verb meaning to wind or spiral around something.  It is a term to describe an old method used in creating baskets & bags.  In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought it would be fun to share a historic handcraft that was used by the Native Americans & probably the Pilgrims as well.

made by the Nez Perce

Many artifacts have been found all over the world showing us beautiful examples of how this technique has been used in many different cultures.  It is a simple technique that both children & adults will enjoy using.  It can be used in making very basic items or elaborate artful pieces.

I was introduced to the skill of twining this fall at a historical reenactment. A woman was making a bag & was kind enough to show me how she was making it.

To start with, she had looped a piece of twine the size she wanted the bag to be & secured it. This was to be the base of the bag.

Then she cut pieces of twine to a length that was twice the size she wanted the finished bag to be.  She draped these pieces over the initial loop to create her warp.
She cut enough pieces to go all the way around the loop laying the pieces side by side.

To make the warp stay in place, she simply started to twine the weft around each pair of warp strands, twisting the weft after each pair.

She continued to work the weft in this way until she had gone around the bag several times.  Then, she would create a gap & start again an inch or so farther down. I really like the look of these bags that she was making & think they would be great market bags. They look to be very strong & durable.

I had hoped to make a twined bag myself & post a tutorial for you.  However, with this being my first twining project, it is looking a bit rough. A tutorial will come later.