Yucca leaves, with their pliable and strong nature, are the material of choice for this garlic basket, but wheat or oat straw or any long grass soaked in warm water and kept damp in a towel while weaving will be suitable. The twining method for this garlic basket is one of the earliest forms of weaving. These materials work quickly into a twined basket with a braided topknot.
The garlic basket pictured measures 4 inches in diameter and 8 inches tall.
- 15 to 16 yucca leaves, approximately 28 inches long, wilted for 2 weeks
|Step 1: Trim points and tough ends of the yucca leaves. Take eight leaves of equal length, and create a plain weave (over one, under one) in the middle of the leaves to create a square base with four spokes on each side.|
Step 2: Fold another leaf about 10 inches from one end to create two weavers. (The ends are unequal so you will not need to splice, or layer, them in the same place.) Slip the folded end over one of the corner spokes. With the first spoke encased in the fold, twist the weavers, and then place one on top and the other on the bottom of the next spoke. Twist again and engage the next spoke in the same manner. Twist the weavers in the same direction throughout the basket.
When you get to the last 2 inches of a weaver, layer another leaf on top and weave the two as one, continuing to twist and weave the spokes. (A clothespin will hold the leaves in place while you splice or if you need to stop mid-weave.) Make rounds on the base until it’s the size you want. I did two rounds of twining, making the base 4 inches square.
|Step 3: Upset the basket to make the sides. Bend the spokes up, and increase the tension on the weavers, tightening the weave to make the turn.|
|Step 4: Continue weaving through the spokes, always with the same direction on the twist. Add new leaves as needed. Weave it as high as you like. (Mine is 2 inches.) Trim and tuck the weaver ends into the last round.|
Step 5: Gather the four spokes on each side, and braid each set into a four-strand braid about 4 inches long: Divide one set of spokes with two strands in each hand. Bring the outside-right strand over the inside-right strand, transferring it to your left hand on the inside of the left-hand group (three strands in your left hand and one in your right). Bring the outside left strand under the middle left strand and over the inside left strand before transferring to your right hand on the inside of the right group (two strands in each hand). Repeat until you reach the desired length.
As you complete each braid, secure the ends with a clothespin while working on the other sets.
|Step 6: Hold the four braids together and tie with a length of yucca leaf. Trim the top of the braids and any of the weaver ends that stick out of the basket.|
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.