Basket making has proved to be therapeutic and therapy for
stress relief. Baskets are useful and decorative. People
love to have baskets at home because they are handy to store
things like fruit and magazines, they make beautiful gift
hampers, and they add beauty to the decor. Besides, you can
let your creativity take wings and create baskets of
different shapes and sizes.
A variety of material can be used to make baskets as long as
the materials are flexible. Most craft stores offer a supply
of machine made reeds and splints. You can make baskets with
cattail leaves or stalks, corn husks, honeysuckle vines,
pine needles, and daffodil leaves. You can gather them and
hang them to dry. Before using any of these materials, you
will need to soak them in lukewarm water for five minutes.
Then, wrap them in a damp towel as you are working so they
don’t dry out or over soak.
To make a basket from a vine, for instance, you will need
about ten 3′ long pieces and around fifteen 4′ long pieces
of vine. You should choose the thickest pieces to make the
frame. The first step of basket making is to form a square
by laying three 3′ spokes on top of 3 bottom spokes. Then,
take a piece of the long thin vine, called a weaver, and
fold it in such a manner that one end is shorter than the
other, so that you can loop it over top spokes and then
weave it over and under bottom spokes.
Weaving is the next step. The involves weaving it over
three spokes, under the next three, over the next three, and
so on. You have to do this at least three times before you
can begin weaving it through the spokes individually.
Gradually, you will go on adding more spokes by inserting
each one along the side of a spoke in between a previous
weave. Interestingly, as you add and weave, you will start
having more space between the spokes. At this point you can
cut new spokes and insert them to fill these spaces and
start weaving them into a pattern.
Once you’ve made the bottom 6″ wide, it’s important to
dampen the spokes until they are flexible enough to be
turned upward, and continue weaving as you make your sides.
The final step involves finishing off the top edge of the
basket. For this you need to bend the spokes over and weave
them amongst themselves one at a time. For example, take one
spoke, bend it to the right and weave it over the one next
to it, then under the next one, then over the next, and
continue in the same manner. When that spoke has woven
itself as far as it can, do this with the next one, and then
continue until they have all been secured down. If you spot
any untidy ends sticking out, snip them off neatly.
Making baskets is an art. The basic technique of basket
making has been around for generations. It reveals a
marvelous process of hard work, beauty, and culture.