Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pine Needle Basket

I've completed my first pine needle basket...well, pencil holder.  There is definitely room for improvement, but I like my little, wonky basket.  :-)  Here is how it's done:

All you need to start are some pine needles, fake sinew or waxed string and a needle.  Soak your pine needles in water  overnight to soften them.

Create a bundle of needles the size/thickness you want your coils.  I used 5 needle bunches (there are two needles per nib on the ones I'm using)

Place the end of your sinew along your needle bunch and grasp at the top (near the nibs)

Wrap the sinew around the needle bunch from the nibs to the end. 

Pull the needle back thru to secure the wrap

This is how is should look at this point

Begin wrapping the coil and a tight spiral sewing as you go...this is the part that will drive you insane

Continue to add needle bunches by placing the nibs at the end of the last coil, wrap the sinew around the nib end a couple times and sew in place

Continue adding coils until you have a base the size you want...this is the point where you decide you will make your bases out of wood or pottery in the future.  :-)

To start the walls of the basket, simple begin sewing the coils on top of each other, adding more coils as you go

Here I have a basket that is 4 or 5 coils high

Side view of the basket at an early stage...look how clean my work area appears...

This is the final basket with some small pinecone and moss embellishments on the side.  Look at my work area now...it can get messy.  :-)
I just received the book, Pine Needle Basketry: From Forest Floor to Finished Project" by Judy Mallow.  It has some great ideas in it, so we'll see what I come up with next!!

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