This ribbed basket lends itself to delicate weaving with reed and cane in diminutive sizes or the rustic nature of gathered vines and twigs, as I have used here. Feel free to substitute vines and twigs that you have available and create your own special basket in any size. Allowing the vines and leaves to dry slightly will make for a tighter weave.
- garden shears and scissors
- heavy leather gloves
- large basin
Rim and handle
- 2 12- to 16-inch wreaths (I used black raspberry canes, stripped of thorns and wound into oval wreaths with ends wrapped and tucked into the center of the wreath and let them dry for two weeks.)
- 1 yard waxed linen thread
- 8 forsythia twigs, 20 to 22 inches long, dried for two weeks
- 8 to 10 yucca leaves, wilted for twoweeks
- 90 to 100 yards of bittersweet vines, dried for three months and soaked for three days in cool water before weaving (Length needed varies depending on thickness of the vines. Cut more than you think you’ll need.)
||Step 1: Position the two wreaths perpendicular to one another with one wreath pushed through the center of the other, tying with waxed linen thread to hold them in place. Choose which quadrant will be the handle, and mark it with a brightly colored ribbon.
||Step 2: Following the diagram at left, wrap the cordage in the shape of a god’s eye to join the rim to the lower center rib:
- Wrap the cordage diagonally across the northeast and southwest quadrants. Bring the long end of the cord from the SW quadrant over the cross to the NE quadrant.
- Wrap around the back of B, over the cross to the NW quadrant. Wrap around the back of A and over the cross to the SW quadrant. Wrap around the back of D and over the cross to the SE quadrant. Wrap around the back to C and over the cross to the NE quadrant.
- Repeat until you wrap 2 to 3 inches, laying each strand to the outside of the previous. Tie off and tuck the end into the last round.
||Step 3: Trim the ribs to a point on each end. Insert four ribs into the god’s eye on each side of the center rib, adjusting and trimming the ribs to create the shape of the basket you desire. Test the shape by sitting the basket on a flat surface to make sure it will sit evenly.
Step 4: Fill in the base of the basket. First, weave the yucca leaves: Wind the end of a leaf around the rim and secure it by weaving the longer end of the leaf in and out of the ribs, following the path of the god’s eye. Splice additional leaves when you get about 2 inches from the end of the leaf, and weave the two as one. Continue to weave rows until you have 2 to 3 inches complete. Tuck the ends into the last row of weaving.
Next, wrap one of the ends of a bittersweet vine around the rim where the yucca leaves end, and weave the vine over and under the ribs. When you reach the end of a weaver, take another vine and overlap, tucking it under the last rib. The rustic nature of this basket is very forgiving in the joins. With thinner vines, use two or three at a time to even out the weave. Weave 4 to 5 inches on one side and then move to the other side to hold the basket’s shape. Continue weaving to fill in the basket. Tuck or trim any ends that are sticking out.
Add a grapevine embellishment to the handle, tucking the end into the god's eye and wrapping the vine around the handle. Weave the end into the raspberry canes, covering the cut ends that were visible on the handle.
About the Author: Patricia Lehnhardt is a merchant, cook, artisan and writer in Galena, Ill., who focuses on all things natural.
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Hobby Farm Home.