I wanted to touch on the subject of basket weaving by both showing off some of the baskets I have made and also highlighting one of my favorite books.
This book has wonderful information and diagrams about almost everything you could want to do as a homesteader. It doesn't go into too much detail about any particular subject, but provides excellent information about home skills - and the craft section is awesome!
This book has a few different basket patterns and the one I base most of my willow baskets on is a carry-all that can be made out of honeysuckle vines.
*Second and third editions of this book have been published, and the cover is now different. I recommend the original, but the later editions still have lots of valuable information!*
In addition to weaving with willow I have also used grape vines, New Zealand flax leaves, wild blackberry runners, and grasses.
This basket was made with willow and a decorative plant called New Zealand Flax.
With most materials there is a softening process required to make the vines pliable and easy to work with. This can be soaking or even cooking the vines in hot water. A basket is worked with wet, pliable material and then dries up sturdy.
My sister took this photo of me as I was taking a bundle of willow out of the shallow end of my pond. I had a bundle of dry willow whips and I soaked it for about 6 days before removing it and beginning my basket. I also split the flax leaves into long fibers and soaked them for a few days in a bucket of water.
This little basket was made with wild blackberry runners. I stripped them of their little thorns with a pair of leather gloves, and then I let them simmer in a big pot on my woodstove for a couple hours. They were like big freaky noodles and the water was a beautiful purple.
In addition to basket making, knitting, and assembling my quilt (as if I don't have enough on my plate) tomorrow I am picking up ten baby chicks! I am so excited to get them but I have never raised birds before.
On the quilting front, my batik quilt top is so close to being finished, I just have the last leg of sewing to do. Here is a sneak peak at my pattern and fabric.
This is a free pattern and I will share it when I show off my finished quilt.
This year I hope to interview and get some tips from our local pro basket weaver, David. He pays close attention to detail and makes all sorts of baskets out of willow. He also has a stripping device that removes the bark from willow to make it white and smooth.
Here he is at our local market enjoying a doughnut with some of his exquisite baskets.
You want to see a picture of those homemade doughnuts, too, I know it.
Wishing you a scrumptious day!