A couple of Sundays ago, I went out to my wife's uncle Eric's house to cut some cattail from his pond. He lives in Fair Grove, about 15 minutes north of Springfield. I cut a bunch of reeds from the pond and helped him clean up a maple tree that fell in the previous night's storm. I kept a few sticks off of it, as well. With everything piled into the car, I headed home to prep materials to make a basket quiver for my longbow arrows.
I was wanting to make something out of natural materials, harvested locally, for the most part. I already had a ball of hemp from another failed project and searched around online for ideas on how to approach the making of a quiver. I could have gone with leather, but decided a basket type was more me. With a leather shop five minutes from my house, if the basket came out like crap, I could always fall back on it.
I started with the maple sticks as the longitudinal pieces, but none were straight enough for my liking and I quickly dropped that idea for the straight cattail pollen shoots.
Weaving the cattail was interesting. I haven't woven anything since elementary school. I started by letting the blades dry out a while, then rewetting them to cut down on shrinking in the final basket. Since the hemp was stronger than the cattail, I started with a hemp clove hitch around each piece, forming a ring in the one end and then setting it on a piece of pipe I had in the garage for a form. Then I just went at it, learning as I went. I made sure to put hemp in the middle and top for areas I thought might take more stress and wear. I also added a spiral basket insert to the bottom to stop the arrows from falling through and a ring of river cane bamboo at the mouth, that I cut down in Arkansas on a hiking trip last year. I had a small amount leftover from a cane pole I made my daughter a couple of months ago.
Since taking these pics, I've varnished the whole thing to toughen it up. I had about a pint leftover from the kayak projects. Now I need to weave a strap for it. The cordage pic is there just because I wanted to see how easy it was to make cattail cordage. Pretty easy, but not really the strongest of fibers. Eric also gave me some deer antlers and box turtle shells I might use for something else down the line. Particularly if I make the fixed-blade or flint-knap camp knife I want to make.