Hours and hours of work go into the creation of Native Fibre Baskets. And that's before you begin to weave. What? Before you weave. Yes Before! And then you do begin to weave and many more happy hours are spent in the weaving process.
What you do before you begin to weave in relation to the organisation of your weaving materials can massively impact how safe your fibres are from mould.
Mould is an organism that in moist climates can begin to grow on your baskets. With these tips you can keep your baskets mould free.
Tip #1 - Before You Weave
Plan your fibre foraging outings with plenty of time to collect and then process your fibres well.
If you are not going to dye your fibres then you will need to boil them for 10 mins to remove all mould spores. Dying will perform the same function. There are a few exceptions to this rule that we can discuss at a Weaving Circle.
The fibres need to be dried in small bundles by hanging them up in a sunny or shady position where they can spend hours drying. Different fibres do have different needs and you will learn this as you go along.
Fibres may spend time in the sun and then be brought inside at night or you may have a veranda or a sunny room where you can create a line for them to hang on. Keep a close watch that the fibres are drying well, turning them often.
This can take anywhere from a day to a week and you need to always be checking for little black mould spots appearing.
The fibres once completely dry need to be stored in a dry place, wrapped in a clean clothe.
Tip #2 - While you weave
You will need to rewet your fibres when you begin to weave. As you complete a weaving session, leave your sweet basket in a dry position where it may get a breeze and gentle sunshine inside the house. Full sun may fade the colours. If you have big gaps between weaving sessions, store your basket away in the same dry place as your fibres.
Tip #3 - After Weaving
Your native fibre basket is suitable for storing dry items such as keys, wallets, essential oils or sewing items. They are not suitable for storing fruit, nuts or anything moist as this may introduce mould. Place your baskets in areas of the house where it is dry and light rather than moist and dark. If you gift them to someone make sure you share this info also!
Tip #4 -Tea Tree and Clove Oil
If you live in a more humid environment like I do, always be checking your darlings for mould esp in very wet seasons. Look for little blacks spots or fuzzy light grey fluff. If you find either then get your tea tree or clove oil and dab them on the mould using a cotton bud. Place them in the full sun for as long as you can.
Tip#5 - Dehumidifiers
I have found a dehumidifier to be my fibres' best friend when it comes to getting them dry quickly. The quicker you remove the moisture, the quicker you eliminate mould. I also dehumidify the room I have fibres stored in during wet seasons. In addition, I routinely gather up baskets and give them an overnight sleepover in the room while the dehumidifier is on if I am drying fibres or washing.
These are some of my best tips for keeping your baskets happy and mould free. I have sadly had to burn a few baskets that went mouldy and this is extremely crushing so I hope that sharing these tips can prevent that from happening to you!