Learning to weave with willow is becoming more and more popular every year.
This natural material lets you create elegant timeless pieces that look beautiful in your home and you can enjoy using every day. In this article we’re going to do a rundown of the types of baskets you can learn to weave from home using an adult craft kit.
- Simple Beginner Projects.
If you’ve never done any craft before, it’s not a bad idea to warm up by tackling something simple like a willow star or a tension tray. These projects will help you understand how weaving with willow rods works. Willow is a natural material and you need to understand how to prepare it and how to make it bend around corners without breaking. The willow tension tray is a real favourite as it’s a simple project you can use for serving snacks or as a stand for hot pans.
- The Fruit Basket -
Once you have got a simple project under your belt you should be ready to weave your first willow basket. We suggest starting with a round-based basket as this is the foundation or basketmaking and a core willow weaving skill you need to conquer. The fruit basket is a great first project. It doesn’t take long to do but along the way you will learn all the absolute core skills, such as how to weave a round base, how to but a simple pairing weave up the sides and how to lay a decorative border (rim) around the top, you can use the same skills to weave other simple baskets in different sizes.
- The Shopping Basket.
A shopping basket is ideal for beginners who want to do a more in-depth project and progress a bit faster. It takes a bit longer to do (4-5 hours) but you can split it up into three manageable 1.5 hour sessions if you’re short of time. You’ll learn to weave the round base but this time you’ll learn a variety of weaves on the sides. ‘Waling’ goes on the bottom of the basket and provides strength and durability. Then you’ll put ‘French Randing’ which is very pretty and a great skill that you can apply to other projects. Finally you’ll learn to lay the border and weave a fantastic willow handle - complete with a beautiful handle wrap using this herringbone pattern. This will make your handle extremely strong.
- The Bicycle Basket
Another type of basket you might want to try as a beginner is a one with a d-shaped base, like this bike basket. You’ll also learn how to put a multifaceted ‘slewing’ pattern on the sides. D-shaped baskets are great to learn because you can use the same skills on a larger scale to make a willow backpack. You can mount the basket on your handlebars using a couple of leather straps.
- The Oval Market Basket
If you want to go for something altogether more elegant and sophisticated, a oval-shaped basket is a great choice. Oval shaped basket bases are a bit more complicated, but they are still doable for beginners who are feeling confident or have some experience with other crafts. Our oval basketry kits come with enough willow for you to have two attempts at weaving the base in case the first one isn’t perfect!
Oval baskets are great for taking to the market of for taking on picnics and you can choose to make them in two sizes, 16 inches long and 20 inches long. They have a lovely cable pattern French rand on the sides and they come with a special leather kit to make the leather handles.
- The Log Basket
According to our customers this is the willow weaving project they most want to learn to do and you can see why. No home is complete without a willow log basket sitting next to the fire, and nothing is more satisfying than making one yourself! Daunting as they may look, these baskets are very doable, but we suggest you make at least one other basket before you dive in.
In our log basket course and kit you will learn how to weave a square base and the best way to approach this at home, how to put uprights on a square base using a special technique called scalloming and how to weave an English rand on the sides, which gives them a lovely spiral pattern. You will also learn how to lay a square border, which is a totally new technique, and how fit traditional a pair of twisted willow handles.
By the end of this project you will be well on the way to being able to handle any willow weaving project you like.
If you’d like to get started with willow weaving but aren’t sure which project is right for you, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help. Our kits make great presents and they’re also lovely and convenient to do as a group because there is no need to schedule an in-person class that works for everyone. Plus buy more than one and you’ll get 20% off!
If you'd like to read more about crafts, check out our blog on how to weave a willow basket, how to get started with wood whittling or why learning to make things together is by far the best way to spend time with family and friends.