Sunday, December 2, 2012

My First Pine Needle Basket--TADA!

I learned a lot of course...First, the lady that taught me how to do this, gave me this thick, cotton thread--Coats Red Cotton. I didn't like it, it twisted and knotted upon itself constantly. I don't like how it dominates the basket, but it was part of the lesson/materials in a little kit she gave me, so I used it. It overpowers the shells, I think. 

I'm going to make another one right away, same design, but with a more delicate thread. I found some great nylon thread at Hobby Lobby, in really pretty colors. You can use upholstery thread as well, and I bought some of that in a few different colors.  Artificial sinew is something else you can use and find at Hobby Lobby in the leathermaking section, but it looks a little thicker, and right now, I'm looking for a more blended, thinner look. I think it will be the difference between night and day on the next basket.  There are some cool stitches that can be used in sewing the needles together, so I might try that, too! 

I had trouble with joining threads and not having the knots show, but if you follow the directions in Judy Mallow's book, Pine Needle Basketry-From Forest Floor to Finished Product, which I didn't do at first, then your knots will blend in better. The further I got along, the better I got at joining threads.

The other problem I had was keeping the coils straight up as I started the shells row. The finished basket has the shell sides bending in a bit. It's tricky adding the shells, stitching and coiling at the same time. Next time I will try to be more aware of how the sides are shaping up. All in all, I think it turned out nicely. 

The finished basket was coated with two coats of Modge Podge Matte finish--thinned with a little water-- that helped seal the ends. I'm not real crazy about Modge Podge on this basket, but that's what the instructor uses. You can see the some little spots of Modge Podge that look like dried glue that. I don't know if that's the way I brushed it on and didn't blend it in enough, or it was too thick to blend in and dried that way. I might use brushed on varnish on the next one. Judy Mallow, the author of the basket book, uses shellac flakes...That sounds like it might be a finicky process and more expensive. I'll have to do some research on that... In the meantime, now I need to find some two inch cedar log branches. They make cool bottom starter pieces sawed into chunks! Doesn't have to be cedar, but I liked the look of these. 

Basket making appears to be a new interest and hobby for me...It's enjoyable, it makes me sit for long periods of time, and it's not that complicated....Anything that gets me sitting for awhile and slowing down is a good thing! :-) But first, off to the woods I go!

1 comment:

  1. Jeannie,
    Please send me your email or let me know how to order the sweater ornaments ..... Thanks, Sally