Hearth Basket

IMG_0520IMG_0519                                      This is a little fancy for a hearth basket.  Probably should have left off the topknot.  The handle has one of my unusual wraps.  In some ways it reminds me of a spider web.  Use to find them inside the fireplace. ( If you didn’t use it to often!)

I’m not sure if people would have trouble filling if with logs or fat wood.  It could be used for a floral display or to keep some nice comfy throws to sit by the fire with.  Or even a place for a small dog to take a nap in.  It’s 2′ x 1′ x 14″ H.  Large enough for quite a few things.  What do you think?

Shaker Cheese Basket

IMG_0521IMG_0522The Shakers used this to age rounds of cheese.  The base is a hexagon with hexagon openings and  as the sides are woven it becomes  round.  Very architectural looking  but extremely confusing to make.  These baskets can be made in many shapes like a triangle or long  oval as in a bread basket.

It isn’t a very strong basket so it’s limited in it’s uses but I think my cat would love laying in it and poking his paws through the openings.  It’s used most often as a decorative object hanging on a wall.

First Checkerboard. Not!

Red, Gray & Natural

Red, Gray & Natural

This basket was the first checkerboard design I did. I got all the stakes in (the vertical strips), natural, gray, natural, gray, etc. When I went to get the gray weavers (the horizontal strips) I stopped in shock because I had no gray left. I mean, really? I didn’t dye enough strips? So, okay no problem, I’ll use red.

When I finished the second row of weavers (the horizontal strips) now I knew I had a problem. I’m still wondering where my brain went that day because I sat there and stared at the thing for 5 minutes. 5 minutes! When my brain came back from hiding I realized I used the weavers for the stakes. 2 colors in a checkerboard Lynn, 2 colors! All stakes one color and all weavers another. So simple.

The basket came out great but it’s sure NOT a checkboard!

Primitive Arts



I like the look of old, old baskets especially from the southern Appalachian mountain areas. Although my baskets don’t have an old look they give a hint of flavor of the old South. I guess they are considered to be primitive because they are so simply made and are over 100 years old. I should do some research are them.

The large square is a repro of the tobacco leaf drying basket. You can still find some in flea markets in the southern states. They were usually quite large; mine is only 14″ x 14″. It is the only basket that is stapled together as far as I know. I used 1″ flat reed and stained it a driftwood color. They are great to hang on a wall. Very graphic looking.

The other is simple centerpiece or mantle basket. It has a high handle (not sure why) and again I kept it very plain with as gray stain although a lot were painted. I’ll try that next.

Checkerboard Series

3 In A Series
I have been experimenting with larger sized reeds lately. The baskets above use both stakes & weavers of 3/4″ width. It has pros & cons. Larger is not easier to use as, say 1/2″ or 3/8″ but the basket weaves faster. Because the reed is wider it is necessarily thicker which can cause unevenness in rows. I’ve made these baskets with a “simple-weave”, over/under, over/under, etc. and I like the simplicity of using just the natural and a single color which creates a checkerboard pattern.

I am also using legs or ‘feet’. This creates other possibilities for use. These baskets have a less traditional look as opposed to a wool gathering floor basket with feet, which has a country feel to them.

I hand-dyed all the reed used in these baskets and really like how they turned out. Will have to make more!

Combining Styles

Japanese/Penland Style Basket

Japanese/Penland Style Basket

I haven’t posted anything in so long. I was invited to put my baskets in a consignment store in Bristol, TN. so I was very busy with preparing for that. I’m very excited about it and hope to sell some. I am also preparing for a craft fair in June and have been feverishly making more baskets for that!

This particular basket, shown above, is a combination of an old Japanese basket pinned on Pinterest and a basket made by Billy Ruth Sudduth. (I’ll be taking a class with her in July!) The Japanese style uses all ’round’ reed. I have used ‘rattan’ flat reed for the curls as does Sudduth but I added a handle and the basket is tall like the Japanese one.

It was not particularly hard to make but needed a lot of measuring and adjusting of the round reed spaces. There are 100 individual curls and each curl is inserted into each space. When the basic form of the basket was finished I gave it a dark Rosewood stain and the rim is a very light Rosewood.

The handle is made from reed strips and wrapped with a topknot to finish it off. I’m very pleased with it and hope you are too.

Japanese Style Weave

Yotsume (Square Plaiting) Purse

Yotsume (Square Plaiting) Purse

This was an experimental piece. I was trying to copy a bamboo purse that I saw on Pinterest. Again, as with “The Third Lid”, without a pattern this weave was very difficult.

I think the Japanese name is ‘yotsume’ which just means square plaiting. All in all I think it came out nicely. The handle is a 10″ square closed notch make of oak. I probably spent more time on it than the actual basket. There was a whole lot of sanding and retooling of the notch to get it to fit without a gap at the rim and I drilled two holes on each side to secure it tightly.

Not having large size bamboo, I used reed. Each ‘stake’ is comprised of two 1/4″ flat pieces. I call them stakes because there are no seperate weavers added. The double strips are laid out at crossed 45 degree angles in a simple over/under pattern. This created a basic mat in the center which formed the base and part of 2 sides.

I then folded up the 2 ‘sides’ and clipped them together. This left all the unwoven ends which I took and wove together to finish the four sides. I know this makes no sense but I really can’t explain it better. I should have taken pictures from the beginning!

I have no idea if this is the correct way to weave this pattern but it worked for me. The weave is not perfect but not bad for working in the dark. I plan on lining it with the material you see in the pictures. Of course it looks nothing like the purse I was copying!

Oh well, try, try again.

Handle Tying

Handle Tying

The Third Lid

Lg. Cat Head w/Lid

Lg. Cat Head w/Lid

Cat Head Basket w/Lid


IMG_0386I have finally finished the lid for this basket!  It was touch and go there for a while.  After throwing out the 1st lid, and giving up on the 2nd lid I was determined to make a lid and make it right.  Since I was making it without a pattern or anything else to study I found it to be ‘extreeemly’ difficult.

What I ended up with is an enclosed pyramid. With a flat top.  Or an upside down top!  Ha!  And, hey, I really like it.  But I won’t be doing another one anytime soon!

Just trying to explain this thing is difficult.  Like, does saying I put a base on the bottom and ended with a base on the top make any sense?  Let me know because that’s what I did.  After I found the finial for the top online, Ha!, I knew what I wanted the finished product to look like.  And so, this lid will forever be called “The Third  Lid”.  At least in my mind’s eye!

Let me know what you think.


Knitting Basket

Knitting Basket

Knitting Basket

Knitting Basket #3

Knitting Basket

Just finished this basket. It’s a pattern from a ‘Lyn Syler’ book by ‘Diane Kennedy’. It’s taken from an Abenaki style knitting basket. The Abenaki Indian people are from the New England/Quebec area.

I really liked making this basket. It stands 11″ tall, sans handle. I drilled the hole in a 2″ slotted wood base for the “donut ring” in the lid through which the yarn is pulled. Nifty! I also made a different handle out of 5/8″ braided seagrass instead of the yarn the pattern called for.

The lid is a new technique for me. It is called “Chase Weave”, which here uses #2 round reed, spaced-dyed. (Spaced-dyed is multiple colors blending the edges together.) The chase weave gives a lovely smooth look as compared to “twining”. It’s also easier and faster to do!

So, now back to my lid for the cat head basket! (But see, I can make a lid if I have someone else’s pattern!)