Be A Basket Case
If you’ve ever wanted to make your own basket but it’s been too long since you made one in school so you don’t know where to begin, then here are some helpful reminders for setting about creating your own masterpiece.
What you’ll need
Some basket cane or reed
What you need to do
Soak the reeds or cane for about an hour in some warm water and then when they are soft, cut them into similar length strips. You’ll always need an odd number of canes but how many is up to you and the size of the basket you desire. How long you cut them will also dictate how tall you want your basket to be. You can try 7×7 or 9×9, it’s up to you. Making different sizes means that they should fit neatly inside each other for stacking too.
Take a look at these beautiful Bolga Baskets made using traditional methods and materials at http://www.injabulo.com/
Taking half of the canes, lay them down on a flat, hard surface and secure them with something heavy like a book. This is when you need to start weaving the rest of the canes into the secured canes. Always work with the natural curve of the cane with the ends curling towards you.
Taking the cane over the first and under the second, continue to alternate the weave in this fashion to make a traditional basket appearance. Repeat this method with all of the remaining canes until you can see a square in the middle of where each of your canes meet. Make sure all the canes are bending towards you otherwise they could snap if you force them the wrong way.
Take a ruler and bend over all the canes top, bottom, right and left into the centre. Now it’s time to weave in the sides.
Starting on one side, take a much longer piece of cane, long enough to go right round the edge of the basket. Keep the same pattern going and make sure the cane bends towards you. Repeat this method with another 3 long lengths bending them all together at the last cane where they meet. Then weave the canes through the second side, bend round and continue doing the third and fourth sides too until you’re back where you began.
Cut the cane that’s hanging over as excess but leave them just long enough to weave into each other. You should now have something that looks like a basket!
Weave in further canes until you have reached a height that you are happy with, leaving about 3 inches on the top for bending down when you’re finished. Fold over these leftover bits at the top and tuck them neatly under the last row of canes.
Run one last cane around the idle of the entire basket and poke remaining canes that are sticking up under the second row down. Tuck anything in to create a tidy finish. You’ll also find plenty of helpful tutorials online with videos showing step-by-step instructions.