So Raven had a workshop today and I’m on my own. I took a shower and ran out to the farmers market, there just before it closed. Cucumbers for pickles from Moreen, a big sweet onion, small eggplant (baba ganoush?), small crooknecks and a small melon. Off to Bucky’s for some coffee, a little shopping and up the road.
I stopped near the Montessori school where the willows grow, with my snips in hand, picked a large bundle of withes. First the red ones, not too many, the greenish yellow ones were plentiful. On the way back I noticed the weeping willows here have a good long single strand, not the branching ones I’ve usually seen. I picked as many as I could reach. More buds on these but good long branches.
Off to Garret’s for more pint pickle jars and a stop at Salvation Army. They had a wooden TV stand for $3.50, a metal colander, a copper and brass spaghetti stirrer round with holes, cheap. score. It’s getting hot and thirsty, I head for home. The peach tree at the corner has lost a limb to the weight of them, I stop and pick a few into the colander to lighten it, still green but will ripen soon. Home.
Note, the following is details to weave a basket, feel free to jump ahead.
Unload, pet the cat. I sort out the willow withes, nice ones. Find six good base spokes cut to length a little long. I split three in the middle with my bodkin and string the six together in an X. Pick two nice long branches, little ends in the cut, twist, wrap three, twist wrap three, again and around twice, each time twisting the outer one in. Now pick up the individual spokes, keep going. Tie in another odd half spoke to make the weave work. By now my weavers are running large, I tuck them in with the bodkin and get another branch tucked in large to large, weaving now not twisting, running out the little ends are easy to tuck and another little to little around over under weaving. I keep at this to a good large base, tucked in. Gather twenty six withes, the shortest I have and tuck them in, one on each side of each spoke. These will be the upright rods for the basket, two per rod. I’m cutting the hard stuff off each stick, just the bendy parts used. If I get a full split break I pull it and trim it back. If the bark pulls off, pull it and trim it back. I want this one a good basket. These added 26 withes will be supple at the narrow end to tie off sweet.
Beginning the sides I bend the two up and weave leaving the base spokes below to trim off later. This keeps my base flat and a good transition up. A bit of a challenge here to keep things tight as I add more sticks tucked shortly down and around. I’m choosing the longest branches I have to get this transition up, mostly green long weeping strands. I’m upright. Keep going, I don’t think I’ll use a three rod wale on this basket, just a straight weave. I’ve been saving the red willow, time to use it, good long withes, up and up. More green, at this point anything is good, a mix. I’m running low on branches but this is becoming a very large basket. Enough, time to finish, bend the side rods inside then out all the way around, tucking the last inside the first. Skip two and tuck them back in, each one around. These are double strands kept in line. OK, cut each set on the inside long enough not to pop out, beyond the uprights carefully. Push pull make it round, we have a basket. Clip the loose ends trim.
Wow, a nice basket! My best yet for a willow, but each one is a lesson, what and how to do. Sticks are much more difficult to work with different thicknesses but I’m getting it. This is a really big basket, with the new TV tray for a size comparison.