How to make a simple basket. I’m using European sedge grass, an invasive weed that grows along the California coast. It has long flexible strands. Dried then soaked a day or two.
I also used weeping willow from the neighbors tree with success for a base and some grape vines with difficulty.
Start with two sets of three crossing. Take a long strand and fold it in the middle, around three, twist, around the next three, twist the same way (the outer one to the inside, then the inside becomes out), around three, twist, into a square.
Keep doing that for a few times, then grab each individual strand with the twisting pair to separate the spokes.
Next we need to add another spoke for an odd number. I use my Swiss pen as a bodkin, but anything solid the size of the strands will do. weave it into a gap, tuck in the new strand and knot it center to keep it in place, knot to be trimmed out when the basket is done.
Keep twisting, as you run out of fiber, add another one a few weaves before that, tucked in and start following the individual weave, over, under, over each spoke as a weft pair securing the short end with the new strand. You will use this method to add strands throughout the basket, trimming the loose ends tight later. Now we are weaving not twisting.
Keep going, as the spokes get thin, add in a couple to each side using the bodkin for three each.
As the basket gets to the size of your base, tie all the spokes together with a spare strand above. I used my bead can to hold the base in place, then kept going up. You could twist split the three individual strands for a larger basket or hat, I just went up.
When I reached a nice height, I started finishing the basket by folding the spoke under the next and out again, leaving room on the first one for the last.
Next I tucked each one up to resemble a braid.
Then trim the ends on the inside to complete.
You can clip all the loose ends in to clean it all up. Here is the finished basket.
Wow, I just got back from the river with a big bundle of willow wicker. Several different varieties, all the same plant but some older stiffer brown, young wispy red stuff, the best patch some really long reddish green stock. All stripped of leaves and drying on the back bench.
I’m going to let it dry to prevent shrinking, then soak it for a week, maybe in the river as I don’t have a container that long, even the bathtub is too short. Hmm, maybe if I build a wooden trough and line it in plastic. The big end is large on most of it, maybe split it for bases or use for furniture, that could be a challenge. I think it could be really good stuff to weave on the finer end for solid strong baskets. And it grows in my back yard on the river. It’s not as wispy as the weeping willow, but it grows longer straight pieces without the multiple shoots the weeping willow does. Potential good stuff. We’ll see, and I’ll let you know how it goes here.