In the last journal, you read a story about Aminata (ah-me-NAH-tuh) and her family (if you missed the story, find it here). They are part of an unreached Muslim people group in West Africa–the Tukulor (TOO-kah-lohr). Try a traditional Tukulor craft with your family.
In Tukulor villages, basket weaving is a tradition passed down from grandmothers to mothers to daughters. The women collect sweet grass that grows near the riverbank, allow the grass to dry, and bundle it together until it is used. For round baskets, the women use a method called coiling. They begin weaving from the center and expand outward in increasingly larger rings. In recent years, recycled plastic strings have been added to sweet grass, making for stronger baskets. Weave your own basket. You will need:
- 5 or 7-ounce paper cup
- very long pieces of yarn, any color
- Starting at the top rim of the cup, cut a straight line down to the base. Continue around the top of the cup, making 6 more evenly-spaced cuts. You will have 7 cuts in all.
- Gently press down the spokes to form a flower shape with the circle base of the cup in the center.
- Tie one end of your yarn around the base of one spoke, making sure that the knot is on the inside.
- Weave the yarn over and under the spokes, making a complete circle near the base of the cup.
- Now weave a new row right above the first one. After you complete each row, push the yarn down towards the base of the cup to fill in any gaps.
- Continue weaving upwards until you reach the rim of the cup.
- If your yarn piece gets too short, or if you want to change colors, tie a new piece of yarn to the end of the old one, making sure the knot is on the inside of the spoke.
- When you finish weaving, cut off any excess yarn and secure it by gluing around the top of the cup.