Simple basket weaving tutorial with Deb Cole

Posted under Easter, Nature and Animal Crafts

30Mar

Follow this simple step-by-step basket weaving tutorial.

basket weaving

Isn’t it just perfect for Easter treats?

Have you ever tried your hand at basket weaving? I hadn’t until a few weeks ago.  Oh my!  I am hooked. This is such fun! This is what greeted us at the workshop.  A floor full of flax, raffia and basket examples to show us just what is possible with natural fibres.
This is Deb Cole. Deb was our teacher for the day, and Deb has kindly let me share her instructions on how to make our own small woven basket. These baskets are perfect for your very own Easter Egg hunt and they don’t take that long at all.  A few hours at most and once you’ve made a few, you’ll make them much quicker than that.

 

 

To make a basket, all you need are some simple supplies. You’ll need raffia (available from all good craft stores and floristry suppliers too).  Deb brought in some commercially prepared coloured raffia too.  (Deb also teaches how to dye your own.) You’ll need a weaving needle.  This one is a child’s wool embroidery needle found in all haberdasheries and good craft shops.  Deb suggest you can also use a large beading needle if you can’t find one of these.

 

You’ll also need some kind of natural fibre. Deb brought us flax from her garden.

 

To prepare the flax fibres for weaving, you simply cut off some leaves and pop them in a pot of boiling water for five minutes.  When you take them out, they are ready to use.  Find a large sewing needle and use this to make a small cut at the top of the flax about 2mm in from one edge.  Pull the needle downwards to separate out the fibre from the leaf.  Continue doing this over and over again until you finish and have a pile of flax ‘threads’ for your weaving.  If by chance you don’t want to work straight away, and the fibres become stiff, simply soak them in a large tub of water for 20 minutes until they soften up again.

 

 

These are some of the baskets you can weave.
I like the ‘boat’ style basket in yellow. Isn’t it lovely? For this tutorial though, we’ll be making a little one (in red).

 

When you know how to weave, you can make a basket of just about any size. Are you ready to begin?

 

Firstly, you need two things.
You need a few strands of flax (3 or 4).  Package these up together and hold them in your hand. You’ll also need a single piece of raffia.  Place it opposite to the direction of the flax fibres like so.

 

Use the body of the raffia to wrap the strands of flax about 5 or 6 times.

 

Then bend the tip of the flax over to form a circle. TOP TIP: Make this circle as small as you can.  This is the base of the basket and you don’t want a big hole in it. When you’ve joined the circle back at the base of the flax, wrap the raffia around to secure the circle in place.

 

Thread your needle onto the loose end of the raffia.

 

Take your needle through the little hole and then back through the hole you create with the raffia. This is the beginning of blanket stitch if you look carefully.

 

Or you can do it this way. Poke the needle through the little hole, then wrap the needle with the body of the raffia piece. This is your first (or second) blanket stitch.

 

Work your way around the entire inner circle doing this blanket stitch step until it looks like this: A blanket stitched circle. The flax will stand straight out.

 

Now, bend the flax so it mirrors the circle shape and curves around.

 

Now, continue blanket stitching,  making sure to catch this excess flax (your ‘packing’ threads) as you go.  The needle tip goes INTO the blanket stitch of the last row.

 

This is what it will look like. See there is a gap in each blanket stitch into which you can push your needle.

 

 

 

When you run short of packing, whether it is one strand or all three, simply add another one into its place. Keep doing this as you go around.
Soon, you’ll reach your desired size and will want to start making the walls of your basket.

 

Now, to make the walls, instead of keeping the packing flat and working outwards, place the flax packing on top of the bit on the edge and blanket stitch the sides into place.

 

 

You can add colour variations for a bit of spice if you like. When you get to the end of your raffia thread, tuck the end into the packing. Thread your needle with your new colour of raffia thread and begin to blanket stitch the side walls in place.

 

For a funky look, you can go around once then swap back to natural raffia.

 

Continue on until your walls reach the height you desire.

 

Add another fancy layer of colour on the rim. When you are done, pull off the needle and use the leftover thread to make a handle.

 

Add strands of raffia to make three pieces. Plait the pieces till the plait is done.

 

Tie on the loose end of the plait back onto the basket.

 

Cut all hanging threads.

 

There you have it, a pretty basket for Easter time! Isn’t basket making fun? I love it.  Thank you Deb for sharing your wonderful knowledge with us all.

 

But back to the basket.  The chocolates were for display only but can you imagine how long they lasted?

Do you want to guess?

9 Responses to “Simple basket weaving tutorial with Deb Cole”

  1. Laura

    This is an amazing tutorial and I am so excited to try this! Quick question though: Is there a different kind of natural fiber/plant you could use other than flax? Or is flax the perfect kind for this project? Thank you!

  2. Amber Greene

    HI Laura
    I think you can use any kind of fibre. Banana leaf frond would be another one I’d give a go because I’ve used it in other projects and you can pull the long strands from it easily too. Flax is super sturdy and easy to find. I think that’s why Deb uses it. But do let me know how you go! Love to see your efforts!!

  3. terri

    You can use cattails for this as well, they are very common and long. you need to pick them just before a frost at the end of the summer though.

  4. Amber Greene

    Oh thank you Terri. someone was asking the other day… thanks for your help! I don’t know cattails but I’ll keep a look out now.

  5. Linda

    This is also how pine needle baskets are made. You also have to soak the to soften. Works Great.

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