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quack grass baskets  RSS feed

 
Kelda Miller
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Funny, I was just checking to see if anyone had responded to this and it looks like it just never got posted properly....

I was reading in 'Tending the Wild' about how California indigenous basketmakers harvested/harvest lots of sedge roots for basketmaking. The roots are especially nice if the sedge patch has been tended to, weeded, and the roots are long and straight.

Hm. I just weeded out a huge patch of quack grass this week. Oh man, those are some long straight roots. I bet if quack grass was around when more people were making baskets it may have even been a highly sought-after item.

So, basket-makers: what's a good guess as to how to process this. In Tending the Wild, the ladies would harvest the roots, then dry to use later. What do you think is the ideal season to harvest quack grass? How long should it be dried?
 
Steve Nicolini
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I have never harvested quack grass, but I know a lot of grasses used for basket making are harvested in summer and early fall.  If you are going to use the roots, then I would say fall would be a good time, maybe even early in winter.

About how long to dry it... I am not sure.  I have used sweetgrass in baskets that had been dried for near two months.  I didn't use the roots though. 

My experience with roots is that they are more pliable when freshly harvested.  I have tried to re-wet cedar roots and had them snap on me numerous times.

I wonder if roots shrink as much as wood when they dry out?
 
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