Yes, yes, I know I promised sea glass projects, but I had to share my first ever experience basket weaving.
Weaving is something I’ve always loved doing. Sure, we’ve all woven potholders as kids – or at least tried – or at the very least know someone who did. Maybe some of you even graduated to fabric scrap placemats or even really cool throw rugs.
From the beginning of time weaving has been a source of durable, household goods – often times made from repurposed or reused materials. This makes weaving a double thumbs-up pastime for Reduction Rebels!
A Weaving Make-ation
Two months ago my husband book a boys camping trip that I refused to attend. It left me wondering if I’d be in solitary confinement for three days since he’d be taking our only car. Sending some vibes out, one of my dear friends suggested we visit a B&B in the Adirondacks.
She called to check their availability, then called me back to say there was something mentioned on the website about a basket weaving class.
My response – I’ll make anything!!
I love crafts so much that I’d be delighted to learn how to do anything – from jewelry to felt gnomes…but basket weaving turned out to be way more exciting than I imagined.
First of all it was me and 6 other women gathered around a huge wood table at a quaint bed and breakfast. Everyone at the table happened to be a crafter of some kind. My dear friend is an award-winning quilter. A few of the other women are serious knitters. Another is a “wet felter,” which sounded extremely interesting despite having never seen or heard of it before. Another woman was defending her thesis that evening and took the workshop to take her mind off it. That just shows how therapeutic basket weaving, or crafting in general can be.
Basket Weaving Kits
In order for this to run smooth and consistent, the instructor had pre-cut the rattan so we’d all be making a 9″ x 9″ basket (or about that size).
She also pre-dyed the colored pieces you see in my basket. There were at least a dozen colors to choose from.
The instructor began by handing everyone enough rattan to create the bottom of our baskets. Our first step was to soak the rattan for a minute or so. Then it would be flexible for weaving.
We then had to feel the grain and determine which side was rough and which was smooth. Smooth goes on the outside and rough on the inside. We then marked the center of the rough side with pencil.
Just like weaving a top pie crust, the rattan was flexible enough that it could easily bend back and forth to weave in additional strips.
When the bottom was complete, we use clothespins to hold up the vertical pieces and weave in the the first couple rows of the basket sides.
We began weaving with the horizontal piece on the outside of the vertical slat so that when we came around for the overlap it would be covered.
The next row was started on the side adjacent and counter-clockwise to where the previous row ended.
To add interest to the basket we added a couple rows of sea grass twine which was woven like a figure eight around the vertical slats. To do this the twine was folded in half, making a loop at one end that slips over a slat then figure eight around the rest until you reach the first loop and tuck in the ends.
The dyed pieces were woven at an upward angle over and under 6 slats.
At the top of the basket is a thicker band that fits on the inside and outside of the woven basket. The thicker band overlaps about 4″ and therefore needed to be shaved so that it tapered in thickness so that the overlapping thickness is equal to the signal thickness.
This was so fun I wanted to whittle wood all day.
One thing you need to do throughout the process is push down the horizontal slats so that the weave is really tight. You also want to spray the rattan so it remains pliable while weaving.
Vacationing brings a sense of relaxation and variety. It’s our chance to do something that we don’t normally get to do, and be in a setting where you feel comfortable, yet invigorating. Being on vacation to learn a new skill and make something that I’m really proud of.
When I was sitting at the table with all these wonderful creative women, I saw the future of my vacationing. I want to make more great American crafts as I visit this beautiful country.