6. You need an even number of holes along the gourd opening for a braided rim if you are using either one color of raffia or one color of basket reed. This allows you to thread on reed or raffia strand from the outside through one hole, then bring the reed from the inside out in the next hole.
If you are using several colors of reed or raffia you will need two holes for each color times the number of colors. So for each repeat along the edge of my gourd, using four colors I need a number of placement marks that can be divided by eight.
With the compass still set at 1/2″, make a mark on the pencil line on the center front of the gourd to note your first drill hole placement . Place the point arm of the compass on the first pencil mark and make a second mark which will be 1/2″ from the first. Work the 1/2″ placement marks to 1″ – 2″ from the center back. Returning to the center front first placement mark, work the 1/2″ placement marks on the other side of the gourd to 1″ – 2″ from the center back. This leaves 2″ – 4″ at the center back unmarked. Adjust your compass opening as needed to insure that you have the right number of hole placement marks.
7. Using a 1/8″ drill cut a hole at each placement mark. Sand the inside of the gourd using 220-grit sandpaper along the inside rim to free – completely open – each hole. Use a damp sponge or artist eraser to remove the pencil marks along the outer rim.
Did you know – To mark a perfectly level line along your gourd for as a cutting guide you can place your gourd in a bathroom partially full of water. Lower the gourd into the water slowly, in an upright position as you want it to sit. The water will dampen the gourd, making the gourd appear darker where the water touches it. Since water always remains level you can mark a pencil line along the wet line as your guide.
8. Dampen your round reed or raffia for about one minute in warm water. Thread three to four strands of raffia through a large leather needle for easy handling. Insert the needle into one of the holes, working from the outside towards the inside. Pull the raffia strand to one-half its length. Thread the needle from the inside to the outside in the fourth hole from the first for a four-color braid. Pull the strand up gently to remove any slack on the inside of the gourd.
If you are working a one color braid thread the reed or raffia from the inside to the outside in the next hole.
I worked one color of raffia at a time, threading all of the yellow raffia first, then the orange raffia strands, and so on until all of my colors had been worked.
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more great pattern ideas to use in your gourd art.