How to Weave a Kete

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Kete are woven baskets made by the Maori tribes of Australia and New Zealand. The baskets come in many different shapes. Some are rectangular with woven handles while others resemble platters. Traditionally, hemp is the primary material of kete. However, bark, leaves and other materials add color and texture to the kete. The Maori people have many superstitions about harvesting and treating hemp before weaving. Many of these traditions, such as placing unused hemp scraps around the plants, add to the hemp crops health and longevity.

Things You'll Need

  • Leaves, flax, hemp or palm fronds
  • Floral wire
  • Scissors
  • 4 clothespins
  • Lay 12 flax leaves or palm fronds next to each other on the work surface.

  • Lay a piece of floral wire over the leaves. Fold the wire and cut a piece of floral wire twice as long and the width of the leaves.

  • Fold the floral wire in half. Slide one leaf to fold in the wire. Twist the wire one time to hold the leaf in place. Place a second leaf next to the first twist. Smooth the leaf so that it lays flat and make a second twist after the leaf. Continue to place leaves between the wires with a twist between each leaf. Lay the line of leaves on the work surface.

  • Thread a loose leaf over and under each leaves twisted together. Press the leaf so that it is tightly against the twisted wire, but still lies flat.

  • Thread a second leaf under and over the growing mat of leaves. Each weaving should be in opposition to the line before. So when the first leaf goes over the leaves in the mat, the second leaf must go under the leaves in the mat.

  • Continue to weave the leaves until the woven portion of the mat is square. Hold the leaves in place with clothespins.

  • Fold the outer edges of the leaves up to hold the woven portion together. Weave the leaves along the side of the basket to form a platter.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some communities do not allow the use of raw hemp leaves in crafts. In those areas, use flax or palm fronds.

References

  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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