Distractions….

Well alot can happen in a few weeks …. I hope everyone is in good health and stays well, I know it’s a tough time for lots of people in lots of ways right now x

Making things can be a helpful way to switch off from the news and divert the worries, for a short while anyway.

About two years ago I took a one-day class on willow basketmaking. It was the best fun, my friend came with me and by the end of the day we had aching hands and two lovely baskets to show off. I took photos with the intention of one day trying to make another basket. This one was made over two days, and even though my hands are a bit raggedy and a thorn had to be taken out of my thumb, I really enjoyed it!

Willow is not that easy to just pick up in a bundle in the shops, surprisingly ๐Ÿ™‚ (and I haven’t yet figured out how to grow my own!).

Anyway… I like a challenge and I love making something from almost nothing. So the other day when we were clearing the back of the garden and the long briars (bramble) were getting tangled together, I started gathering a bunch of the nicer ones. I.e. the ones that were flexible but strong and not brittle.

It’s just like untangling yarn!

Then I trawled through my old photos and found the ones I needed. I just had a prickly problem to deal with first… the willow was lovely and smooth unlike the briars with the thorns that kept snagging my jeans!

So thanks to a little help from YouTube, I learned to pierce a tin can and used it to scrape the thorns off each piece.

My daughter came along and asked what I was at…..

Me: “I’m taking the thorns off this briar”

Her: “What do you need all the thorns for?”!!!…..

I think she was worried they’d be thrown in the slow cooker and served up for dinner!!

The first stage is to make the base using 6 short thick pieces, with three pieces getting threaded through the centre of the other 3 to form a cross shape. Then 2 flexible lengths are woven around while gradually easing the short sticks apart to form evenly spaced spokes. Hmmmm… are you lost yet?….. maybe try YouTube if you ever want to give it a proper go!

Making the base and adding the uprights (long spokes). Multiple cups of tea were needed!

Lengths are then pushed into the spaces either side of the original spokes and these are gently curved to form the uprights and held together, by a scrunchie in my case.

A heavy stone stops it from toppling

Then it’s the fun part of weaving, two strands are used and they are woven to form what looks like a twisted ‘X’ between each upright…

The fun part

And then I needed YouTube again because when it came time for us to finish our willow baskets, it was all a bit rushed and I had no photos and a hazy memory๐Ÿ˜†.

Making the top border. Slowly. After pausing the YouTube video. Alot.
Should fit alot of Easter eggs in here!

I was so happy that it actually worked out. Ignoring the fact that I’ve no idea what I need another basket for and I’m not even sure if the briars/bramble will just crack and crumble to pieces once it dries fully, or maybe it’ll go mouldy and I’ll have to return it to the garden?!! Not a clue …and honestly it’s grand, maybe it’s only purpose was to keep my hands moving and making!

Ps… Two of the things I made most recently have been worn together and match nicely too-

Heart earrings and Sunday Cardigan

9 thoughts on “Distractions….

  1. That’s an excellent basket – and the best use for brambles I have seen!
    Your Sunday cardigan looks lovely. It’s a pattern which I haven’t used despite having it and I’m sure I must have something suitable in my stash to make it. Thank you for reminding me how good it looks ๐Ÿ˜Š

  2. What an artist! You are amazing. Just looking at the basket in progress and the beautiful place you live made me feel uplifted. You look gorgeous in the cardigan earrings combo, too. Brava!!!

    • Just noticed this reply didn’t save! Thank you! I love where we live, itโ€™s very rural but not too far from civilisation! We were so lucky with the weather last week, it was really nice to just sit out in the garden over the bank holiday wknd, working away on the basket. Also the basket is drying out well so could be a keeper ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Thank you! I love where we live, it’s very rural but not too far from civilisation! We were so lucky with the weather last week, it was really nice to just sit out in the garden over the bank holiday wknd, working away on the basket. Also the basket is drying out well so could be a keeper ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Years ago (I think over 50) I learnt basketry at school. It was fun although it caused blisters. I would like to learn again and have been looking for a class I can attend with my husband (who is very fond of a nice basket). I am therefore very inspired by your work and I hope the basket will be sound and not go mouldy or anything. We are collecting plastic bottles for this yearโ€™s batch of elderflower champagne. The animals and plants are taking the world back, and itโ€™s very exciting to watch.

    • Hi Kate – I’m happy to report that after 2 weeks the basket is drying out nicely. It’s not as heavy or sturdy as the willow one, but looks like it will hold up well! Im hoping to do more basketry if i can find another class. I’ve started looking on Instagram for some makers close to me – so you might have some luck with your search for classes there too.
      Elderflower champagne sounds lovely! My foraging has never gone beyond blackberries but I’d love to do more.

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