Willow Fruit Basket

This quick and simple project uses brown willow to make a frame basket. The basket is woven around the cardboard former which holds the basket in shape while you concentrate on the weaving. once you’ve mastered the basic weave you can enjoy watching the piece takes shape. This basket makes a great basket or looks good as a sculptural piece hung on a wall.

Material you will need

– willow stakes: 8 stick rods of 5 ft long

– weavers: 60 rods of 3 ft brown willow

– towel, side cutters; cardboard former

– compass; string; scissors; ruler; bodkin

basket

How to make it

1 Willow is brittle when dry, so must be soaked by totally submerging it in cold water to make it pliable. After soaking, mellow the willow by wrapping it in a damp towel and leaving it overnight in a cool place to rest. Create template with punched holes like in a picture below (top). Push the stake through the first hole of the former, butt end first, until one-third of the stake is through. Push the butt end of the next stake through the next hole from the other side of the cardboard until two-thirds of it is through. Continue pushing the stakes in alternately until all eight are in place and the frame is completed. Tie the stakes together at one end with string.

basket 1 i 2

2 Begin weaving the untied side: place the butt of a weaver between the second and third stakes. Weave it in front of one stake, then behind the next. Wrap the weaver tightly around the last stake twice, then continue weaving in the opposite direction (picture above, bottom).

3 Repeat until the weaver has travelled back and forth three times across the stakes, finishing on the opposite side where it started. The tip of the weaver should sit on the outside of the seventh stake (picture below, left).

4 Place the butt of the next weaver between the seventh and sixth stakes and weave it across in the same way (picture below, middle).

basket 3,4,5

5 Continue weaving. Join in a new weaver at the opposite side of the basket to the last one. After weaving in six weavers, tie the ends of the stakes together with string to form a tapered end (picture above, right).

6 Continue weaving until there is about 15 cm of weaving. Untie the ends of the stakes when they are too close to weave between (picture below, left).

7 Remove the cardboard former and tie string across the centre of the basket to hold the shape. Weave the second half of the basket in the same way as the first (picture below, middle).

basket 6,7,8

8 Bind the ends of the stakes by wrapping the weaver until there are five rows of binding, each sitting alongside the next. Holding the binding securely in place, use the bodkin to make a small space under the binding. Remove the bodkin and feed the tip of the weaver underneath the rows of binding and back out in the direction it was originally pointing. pull tightly to secure. Trim any ends using the side cutters. Remove the string (picture above, right).

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