Weaving – make a basket (for many uses!)

At last Saturday’s Festival of Making event in Totnes, I learned how to weave with Bridget. I took to this straight away, it’s great fun but you have to be patient on your first one while you get the hang of it! I went home and made a basket, which I’m using as a pen pot.

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Materials:

– for this design, 12 strips of ‘tough’ paper or thin card around 50cm long and 2cm wide. I used a calendar from last year (colourful pictures on one side). You can upcycle tetrapaks (1l juice cartons), cut diagonally into long strips then cut to length

– 8 paperclips or clothes pegs

– that’s it!

How to:

I’ve got some step-by-step photos to try and explain this more easily. Please ask if anything is unclear!

1. Lay six strips side by side on the ground or table – note that the side which is face down will become the outside of the basket!

2. Pick up another strip, and weave it over and under the six strips (under, over, under, over, under, over)

3. Take another strip and weave it over and under the six strips, opposite to the first strip (over, under, over, under, over under)

4. Continue until all 12 strips are woven together so you have a 6 by 6 square. Use pegs or paperclips to secure the corners. Note: make sure the strips are tightly woven (i.e. no gaps between them). It should look like this:

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5. Take the centre two strips on one side, and fold them upwards, with the strip that was underneath behind the other one – you’ll get which one is right as it’ll be ‘loose’ if it’s not!

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Repeat on all four sides, and secure with paperclips or pegs. These will be the corners of the base of the finished basket.

6. Take the strip to the left and the right of the ‘new’ corner, and weave them under and over, so you have a 2 by 2 diamond. Secure with a clip or peg, and repeat on each side. Try to keep the weave tight!

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7. Take the next strips to each side (the last strips), and weave them, so you have a 3 x 3 diamond on each side. At this stage you’ll want to remove the 4 clips or pegs from the original square. Keep checking the weave is tight and that you’ve not missed an under or over!

Image8. Next, you start to weave the sides together – work your way around the basket, adding a strip from the right to each diamond, then on to the next one. Continue until you run out of length, or you reach the desired height for your basket – you need an inch or so spare at the top to secure the end.

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9. Finishing the top. You’ve got a couple of options, fold the edge flat, or have a ‘serrated’ top.

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Serrated top

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Straight edge

For a serrated edge, fold each strip back on itself and tuck it into the basket weave.

For a flat edge, take a cross of strips and fold it down to create a straight edge. Tuck the ends of the strips into the basket weave (you can cut off any excess that pokes through).

Ta-da! You can sew a chain stitch or tie a ribbon around the top if you want it to be a little more hard-wearing.

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For different widths of basket (larger diameter), use more strips – e.g. a 12 by 12 square on the base. For a taller basket, use longer strips. There are so many uses for pots/baskets: a pot holder, a fruit bowl, a wine bottle holder…

To learn how to weave, contact Bridget who makes lovely baskets and structures with willow, reed and recycled materials on bcoatalen@yahoo.com or look out for a skillshare through Transition Town Totnes!

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