We have a rich history of art and craft, which is unique and absolutely stunning too. Simple techniques were used to create objects from basic and natural raw material. One such art was developed using pine needles, which were woven into beautiful and useful objects like creative and decorative baskets and other useful items. Even today most of us follow this art and many have also developed a passion for it. Making these baskets is easy, you must know that all these tasks were simple, so it will not be tough for you to practice pine needle weaving. Following instructions and using the right kind of material is important. Plus you need to have the patience, yes this is very important, if you are fussy, the chances are that the correct technique will not help. So get your creative skills gathered along with patience, we are going to learn a simple technique on pine needle basket weaving.
Pine Needle Basket Weaving Instructions
Pine needles are the leaves of the long leaved pine tree. Longer needles like that of 6 inches and above are good for weaving a basket. Now to begin with, we will first have to prepare the needles for weaving. It is simple, you will have to collect the pine needles and immerse them in boiling water or hot soapy water. Bleach can also be added to the water to thoroughly clean them. This procedure will soften the needles and make it easier to weave. You can immerse them for about 10 to 20 minutes. Drain the water and spread the needles on cloth. Remove the sheaths or caps of the pine needles. Now group them and make bunches of these needles.
Next you will need a thread and a needle to help you weave the basket. Raffia can be used to hold the needles together as you weave. You can also use creative options like colored thread or any other strong material. The length of the thread should be long enough, depending on the size of the basket you want to make. Choose a longer needle that is thick and strong to weave through the bunch of pine needles. Thread the needle, even a single thread is enough so you need not keep a double thread in the needle.
Now let us take a look at the procedure:-
- Take the bunch of needles and tie the ends of the pine needles with the loose end of the string. Leave about a quarter inch of space in the end and then start tying the thread.
- Coil the bundle of pine needles with the string to a length of an inch. Now carefully bend this wrapped portion of the needles into a 'U' like shape. Next, wrap or bind the complete section of the created 'U' shape.
- Start coiling the bunch of pine needles around this shape, while you do this, stitch through the bunch of needles, from the center of the coil and around the bunch again.
- Once you finish the first round, coil the second round. For this do not loop the center of the coil. Instead, the thread should go, around the bundle being coiled and added, and then from between and through the first round of coil that we made.
- While using a needle this should be easy. Continue stitching in this pattern, while you coil the pine needles. After the second round, the stitching will be: around the bundle being added and then from between and through the second round of coil we made.
- Make sure the stitches are spaced correctly and that you can see the bundle of pine needles between stitches on each round. You will have to add pine needles as you continue coiling around the base.
- It is simple, when you are nearing the end of one bundle, add few needles slowly with every stitch. Push the new needles in the old bunch at the end and continue stitching firmly. After each stitch add more needles to create a bunch.
- Wrap the point of intersection where you add the new needles in the bundle, so that they are secured. Keep the coils flat as possible and, make sure the stitches are not too close or too far.
- Stop once you get the desired base for the basket. We will have to build the sides. To begin the sides and end the base, add the edge of the new bunch, to the ends of the last coil of the base. Now start sewing from the top of the last round of the coil made. Place the bunch of pine needles on its top and begin sewing, in the same pattern that you followed for the base.
- Continue coiling on the top, once you are close to the desired height, start reducing the number of needles in the coil. With every stitch, reduce the amount of needles you add. So you will have a thinning coil that finishes the basket.
- To seal the last stitch, sew 3-4 times on the end and then insert the needle through the sides of the basket, right to the base or until mid length of the basket. Create a small knot and seal the thread. Cut off any excess thread left.
There you go a perfectly woven pine needle basket all by yourself! It may sound difficult, but as you continue sewing each round, you will get more confident and it will be easy. There are many shapes given to these baskets, you can try the simple round one first, then move on to more creative designs.
There is more - decorate your basket, you can also make a lid to the basket, just like we made the base of the basket. With practice and patience, you can learn a creative and native art, while making useful and unique objects at home.