The Tohono O'odham (Papago) Indians use a plaited start for most of their baskets.
After searching for some time to find instructions for the plaited start, Debbie
Norton of Feather River Baskets put
instructions online for 2 plaited starts.
Debbie's start are easy to do, and quite attractive. But they are
different from the Tohono O'odham start in that it is not the same on both sides (#1) and
use folded leaves (#2).
I developed the start depicted on this page to approximate the Tohono O'odham
start - but it is still not the same. The Tohono O'odham start the basket with the binder,
and this start is shown using the core.
You will want to use something flexible for this start, it is demonstrated with
dried iris leaves, which have been spritzed with water & mellowed in a towel
for several hours. I have never been successful using pine needles for this
start, they always crack.
Fold two pieces, one inside the other, to make a right angle. You might
want to make the fold offset (not in the center) so the free ends are not
the same length. We will call the piece with the folded end
at the top of the picture "top", and the one with the folded end on the left
Fold a third piece , and insert it from left to right through top, so it
becomes the right folded piece.
Feed one free end of a fourth piece through the fold formed on the
it underneath both free ends of the left fold.
Fold the fourth piece, to make it the bottom, and feed the end you
are folding with back through the right fold.