Friday, November 22, 2013

A Grass Basket

Basket making is a fun activity. I have enjoyed turning young tender willow (or other types of brush)  into baskets, and I also made a pine needle basket several years ago. Another sort of baskets that I have made is one from paper bags, and several with denim scraps. Grass however was a new medium for me to work with.
 The reason I was prompted to make the basket is because for a wedding in October I unthinkingly ordered to much bear grass and had a couple of bunches leftover. I hate the idea of wasting things so I decided to try making a basket out of it.

  I will try to give some basic instructions in case you would like to try your hand at making one. I just kind of figured it out as I went and I am sure you can too!

To make the basket I used Bear grass, raffia, needle and some beads.
The first step was to make a middle of the bottom. I took a small bunch of grass and started wrapping it tightly with raffia (that was on a needle). As I wrapped I started coiling the grass and hooking it together with the raffia. (The picture above it not with the bear grass but some local grass that Megan was using to try her hand at basket making.

After the center was hooked nicely together I started spacing out the raffia a little more and letting some of the bear grass be shown. You can look at the picture above to get the idea of how I made the bottom.

  Then I started pulling the grass up as I wrapped it around so that I could make sides on my basket.

 After I had the sides high enough I decided to stitch some beads in as I went around just for fun.
 Next step was the handle. I stitched some bunches of grass on as shown so that I could take the loose portions and braid them together and then meat them in the middle of the top to serve as a handle.
 At the top of the handle I did a lot of stitching together with raffia.
 I added beads to the handle too. We have decided this will be a perfect blueberry picking basket for Megan -not to big as that is to overwhelming to try to fill.

This was a pretty fun project. I started it while we were on a trip (with Ken driving - I love being able to ride on trips!), and then finished during various times that I could just sit and have my hands busy while my brain did other things such as while we said our memory verses or while listening to the kids read aloud.

  Last week I had something funny that happened to me as a result of making this basket. The other day we had gone to the library and had just gotten inside and I felt something in my pant leg. It felt like a little insect of something that was giving my little bites on my leg. It kept going higher up my pant leg and it was driving me nuts not knowing what I had in my pants. I told Mara to watch the others while I headed to the restroom to figure out the problem. When I went in there I couldn't see anything at first but after I had pulled my pant leg inside out and then put it back on I finally looked down on the floor and there was one of those sharp pieces of bear grass.  A few pieces had slipped away while I worked on it in the van and somehow one had slipped up my pant leg and as I walked it had continued to climb all the while poking me with its sharp edges. I felt rather silly after that. :-)

      Have you ever made a basket? I would love to hear about what you have made.

   I am thinking I could possibly use this principle of basket making (this is very similar to the pine needle basket style too) and use it to make a larger basket out of cattails reeds. Mara and I are eager to try that this summer. Do you think that would work?

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