Project 11: Making a basket

March 16, 2011

Basket supplies

I signed up for this particular basket making class not because I was especially enamored with the hen basket, but because it happened to fall on a day and time that I was free. In fact, I didn’t even look up anything about hen baskets before I went. I figured that we would make a basic basket and I’d be on my way. Well, it turns out that the hen basket is a ribbed basket, and that these are kind of tricky. I dove right in.

The first thing we did was join the three rings (above) with zip ties in the configuration they would be in the final basket. We then inserted a small coat hanger to prop the outer circles at a fixed distance and secured it with clamps. Then it was time to weave.

First ribs

Here you can see part of the handle and the first ribs. The ribs add to the structure of the basket and are continually added as you go along. As the basket takes shape the ribs are adjusted up or down to provide the final shape of the basket.

More basket

In this photo you can see my basket in progress with a few more ribs. You have to weave both sides similarly to have a symmetrical basket. It also helps hold the ribs in. Notice the pink coat hanger still doing its job.

Fun fact about hen baskets: before the bottom is shaped they tend to roll off the table when left unattended.

Mostly done

My basket after almost 5 hours of work next to the example basket brought in by the instructor. It is at this point that you start to fill in the bottom of the basket and work up to meet the sides. It was also that this point that I noticed my basket was seriously lopsided. The instructor promised me that I just need to wrangle it into place, and I look forward to doing that when I finish weaving.

I didn’t get too much further than the photo above when I left the class. I’ll finish it at home later this week. Many thanks to the instructor and other students for a fun first basketweaving class!

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