Finally, another guest post! This tutorial is courtesy of the best grandmother on the planet, Sharon Woods. She splits her time between our homeland of Washington, and California. She made these in Hemet, CA. I apologize for the weird coloration issues in some of the pictures, saving them did something wonky. But you should still be able to get the idea.
What you need:
1. Long pine needles green or brown gathered or purchased, Douglas or Ponderosa pine is good.
2. A ball of thin twine or heavy crochet thread.
4. Masking tape.
5. Darning needle.
6. A piece of plastic soda straw about 1.5” long.
7. A thin piece of wood that is round and about 3” diameter. Craft stores have them.
8. 3/32” drill bit to make holes in the wood round.
Gather pine needles and wash them with a little dish soap and a few drops of bleach and rinse them. Spread out to dry then store in a cool dry place. Soak the pine needles for an hour before beginning a basket.
Drill holes in wood approx. ½ an inch a part. Check to see if your needle with the twine or crochet thread can pass thru the holes before starting your basket. With twine I use a single strand. With the crochet thread I fold it in half and use it doubled. Remove the sheaths that hold the pine needles together. Fill your piece of soda straw with pine needles, this is your gauge. Thread the needle with a piece of twine about a yard long. Tie one end around the bundle of needles you have sticking out the end of the straw. Pass the needle with thread through a hole in the wood and then wrap it around the pine needles and back through. Move soda straw to the left as you sew the needles to the edge of the wood.
Feed needles into the straw from the left side every four or five stiches.
Trim off needles that stick out where you started.
When you need to add more thread, take the needle off when you have about 2 inches left. Leave the tail hanging there. Thread the needle with new thread and pull the new thread through to the inside using the same hole or near it. Tie the two tails together and twist them together. The next row of pine needles will hide them.
On the second row bring needle and thread about half way through the first row toward you. Take an extra stich between each of the stiches on the first row. Aim for about ¼ inch between stitches.
Mark the start of your basket with a piece of tape. It will help when you want to taper down and end the basket.
Hold pine needles out slightly as you stich to make the sides of the basket go outward. Hold them in slightly to make the sides go in. If you stich just to the left of the stich in the previous row it makes a nice design.
Use fewer and fewer needles and taper down when you want to end the basket. Stich back over to secure.
You can make a shelf to hold the lid by making a coil inside the basket. Fill the straw as usual and tie the needles together.
To make the lid you need to be sure and soak the needles first as it’s a tight bend and they will break if to dry. Fill your straw as usual then tie the needles together. Bend them in a circle and stich over and under several times. It is hard to get started. You need to shape it with your hands as you go to get it round. Use fewer needles on the long ends if you can.
Sew or glue a pine cone on the lid for a handle. Other things make nice handles too, a twig or shell, things you find when you are outside enjoying nature. Every basket you make will be different and one of a kind. I love making baskets!!!
Gallery of Finished Baskets