Straight from the Gutter

I picked up a book last month that made my eyebrows shoot up and my mind start to whirl with possibilities. The book was Pine Needle Basketry: From Forest Floor to Finished Project. I’ve been vaguely looking into make baskets but materials like willow wands or other grasses require lengths of time where they’re drying and, therefore, a considerable amount of forethought. Something I don’t particularly enjoy doing. Pine needles, on the other hand, blanket forests and are already dry and ready to go. All you have to do is bend over, pick some up, take them home and soak them in hot water for 15 minutes and you’re ready to basket! I’ve been using some 3 inch pine needles, some from the tree in front of Simpson and some from where they were innocently clogging a gutter in Franconia. They’re ok, just a wee bit short for my purposes. What I dream about… even aspire to are Florida Long Leaf Pine needles. They’re ten inches long and perfect for big-ish baskets. In the mean time, I made three wee baskets out of the 3 inch needles…

This one is made from the pine needles in front of Simpson. I used hemp to bind the needles together in this one. It’s a bit too thick, but it did stay where I wanted it to. I bought some waxed linen that I haven’t tried… that’s next.

This was my second basket. I used needles from the Franconia gutter and some synthetic sports thread my aunt is lending me. The needles are a wee bit too thin and the thread is really slippery so these baskets aren’t as sturdy as the firs one and took much longer to make.

You can see how the basket is started…

This is a teeny tiny basket. I’m not sure what I would ever put in any of these but they were great practice for bigger, interesting things. Plus they took long enough so that I can gauge how well I’ll be able to stick with this sort of craftiness if I ever did a larger project.

9 thoughts on “Straight from the Gutter

  1. Ben

    OH! Great post! I definitely want to try that too. The short prep time is the clincher! I am imagining a room littered with the little buggers.

    also,*hug* because I haven’t seen you in a long time and I hope you are well.


  2. hammy Post author

    Oh I’m so glad you popped your head in! It’s been a very, very long time. I forgot to say that I was lounging around on the bed while I made them and I think I’m still finding pine needles in the sheets. If it’s not pine needles then it’s wool, or felt scraps or thread turning up in odd places.

  3. donna

    Looks a lot better than my first try! i agree with pamela.. join the pine needle group and theres some resources on there including a DVD that you can buy that will open up a whole other coiling world for you!

  4. sue c

    Hi Hammy: I, too, urge you to check out the pine needle group on yahoo. A wonderful group of coilers, who are full of info and ready to share it. Years ago I made a basket out of three inch needles from my dentist’s yard. They were what he considered “long” needles, and was so proud when he handed me a baggie full of them. I made him a basket and vowed NEVER AGAIN! Come visit us on line. sue c

  5. debrarae

    Your baskets are great! Keep blogging too. I love it. If you google pine needle basketry or coiling …. you’ll find even more hints.

    Also Pamela, Sue and Donna are right. Join the basketry group on yahoo. I think you’ll have a black

  6. Lori Tourish

    Hey, I too am relatively new to pine needle basketry. I can say please do visit us online at the pineneedle group. I just finished my 4 th basket with participation in the latest exchange. It is a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.

    Great job so far, keep needling along!


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