What I Learned While Making My Second Pine Needle Basket
I felt far more confident while working on my second basket. I'd ironed out some of the challenges I'd encountered with my first basket and I felt better equipped to tackle a larger project.
My Second Pine Needle Basket
In my first article in this series, I discussed what I learned making my first pine needle basket and a problem I encountered that spoiled the look of my basket. I also shared tips and tricks for those wanting to get started making their own pine needle baskets.
For my second project, I decided to do a much larger basket with straight sides. Because of my past mistakes, for this basket I sewed into the row underneath for greater stability, and for stitching, I decided to go with a V-pattern on the sides.
Making this second basket was much easier. I'd gained a feel for working with pine needles and had a much better idea of what I was doing. This second basket looked much better and was much more solid.
But I still learned more in working on this basket and I'm happy to share this information with you, my readers, in this third article in this series. I hope these insights will help you to troubleshoot as you work on your baskets.
Size of My Coil
I decided to go with a wider bundle of needles than what I used with my first basket. I discovered that wider bundles, when sewn, looked better and gave more definition to the rounds in a basket, making for more visible rows and a nicer woven look, as can be seen in the video below.
Why a Straw Is a Handy Aid
I also learned that one can use a straw to keep their needles together and also as an aid in maintaining the same size bundle of needles. This is optional and some crafters find they can estimate, but this can be a valuable aid, especially for those just starting out who want uniformity in their rows.
See the Video Below for Using a Straw to Guide Your Needles
A straw can be used to not only maintain the size of your needle bundle but as a guide as you work along.
Weaving or Knotting Thread
I plan to line this basket, so I decided to knot my thread on the inside. Some crafters weave in their thread and this is also fine and an option. I wanted a sturdier basket without the worry of thread unraveling, so chose to knot my thread because of the sheer size this basket will be when completed. There isn't a right or wrong way, but it pays to use forethought before starting on any basket. By planning ahead you won't end with unwanted elements that mar the look of your finished basket.
Knots Fall on the Inside of This Basket
Tricks I Learned While Working on This Basket
There's something to be learned from each basket made. And my second basket was no exception. I incorporated what I'd learned with the first basket, but I discovered other tricks as this basket took shape.
- Thread: I learned that it was better to join new thread on the inside rim. This way the knots do not show on the outside of the basket and are hidden. Instead of just joining the thread when needed, I worked in such a way that all knots were on the inside, pulling back my work, if needed, to facilitate this.
- Knobs: Another neat trick I discovered was that by leaving the knobs on the ends of the pine needles and sewing after I added new needles, the knobs acted as a guard or lock, of sorts, and prevented the needles from sliding around. I found it was so much easier to leave the knobs intact, rather than removing them as I did for my first basket.
- Beads: I also slipped some beads onto my needle part way up the side. I counted the Vs then calculated when to add beads in increments so that the bead work would be even all the way around the basket.
A Close-Up Look at the Side of My Basket
Beads on My Basket
As can be seen, I added beads to this basket, just as I did with the first one. One of the most satisfying and rewarding aspects of making pine needle baskets is adding one's own decorative touches. While one can make just a plain basket, and these are unique enough and pretty enough on their own, once someone gets more familiar with working with needles and coiling them, they may wish to add their own interesting design elements.
Considering Design Elements
For those who plan on adding decorative extras to their baskets, it's a good idea to check out what other crafters have done to spark creativity and gain some idea as to what material might be desired. There are many interesting materials and objects to choose from and these can transform a plain basket into a real work of art.
Check Out the Design Elements in the Baskets in the Video Below
So many designs and decorative elements but all add to the charm of pine needle baskets.
Decorative Elements That Can Be Added to Baskets
carved wood or metal decorative pieces
colored wrapped sectionschrystals
I'm Starting to Feel Like a Real Basket Maker
This second project went so well, my confidence grew by leaps and bounds.
Bottom of My Basket
Lining My Basket
I can't wait to line this basket with some type of fabric to "tidy it up." I've seen fabric-lined pine needle baskets and the colored inner linings help to truly finish them, adding to their charm, as well as protecting one's fingers from getting poked when reaching inside the basket.
If you plan on lining your basket, you'll have to decide on what type of material to use. Some considerations are fabric thickness and pattern. A brightly patterened liner adds to the look of a plain basket, while a pale cotton liner might work best with a smaller basket. A dark felt or velvet lining might be better suited to a fancier or larger basket.
For my beaded basket, I will probably use a plain lining so as not to detract from the basket.
Finishing My Basket
I've got a long way to go to finish this basket but I'm excited about the size. I want to add far more height so that when I'm done, I will have a good-sized, usable container.
I was making such good progress and found this second basket worked up quickly but alas, I ran out of needles, so I'll have to collect more before I can finish this basket. See my second article in this series for more information on which needles to choose.
I will post more pictures when I've completed this project, so readers can see the finished basket.
I still have a long way to go to becoming an accomplished basket maker but am encouraged with the progress I've made thus far and hope that this information has encouraged readers to get started.
© 2017 Athlyn Green