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Any Pine Needle Basket Makers?

  1. #1
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    Any Pine Needle Basket Makers?

    I always wanted to learn to make pine needle baskets, then discovered last fall that a woman I've become friends with recently knew how. She taught me and another friend how to make them, and I'm totally hooked! It's such a relaxing pursuit. First, gathering the needles, then cleaning out leaves and debris, washing them in warm soapy water, drying them on screens, dying them various colors, tying them into bundles...every step in preparing the needles is so down-to-earth. Then, creating the baskets themselves...feeling what the needles are telling me they want to become and actually making it happen with my own two hands! I LOVE this craft! Below is a photo of one of my baskets...anybody else here do basketry? (Oh my...didn't realize the photo would be so BIG!)


    m.JPG

  2. #2
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    how do you get the needles into strands to weave?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly View Post
    how do you get the needles into strands to weave?
    You cut a piece of a drinking straw about an inch long, fill it with pine needles and start coiling. As you work, you slide the straw down the bundle to keep it out of your working area. As you work down the bundle, you add new needles into the straw to keep an even-sized bundle of needles to work with. It isn't really weaving...it's coiling. You coil the strands around and around sewing them together as you go. There are a lot of Youtube videos that show the process.

  4. #4
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    I was taught pine needle basketry by an elderly neighbor who was one of the most famous basket makers in Florida. I've never seen the method with the drinking straw....it sounds like it would be a lot easier than the way I learned. It's been many many years since I made my last one but now I'm inspired to take it up again.
    If we're ever in a situation where I am "the voice of reason", then we are in a very, very bad situation.

  5. #5
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    Sarah, your basket is beautiful, you're very talented. I have plenty of pine needles in my yard but not very good at arts and crafts. Only thing I did many, many years ago was make a few macrame planters out of jute.

  6. #6
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    I did a bit of macrame back in the day, SeaBreeze, and it was fun. I haven't done any in quite a while. I started hand quilting, and the macrame really tore up my fingers making it painful to quilt. Now I don't quilt much any more either because I'm so obsessed with pine needles! Long-needle pine trees don't grow naturally here in Washington state, but I did find a group of them planted near our mall, so I collected lots there last Fall. Only a few people gave me weird looks...a granny raking pine needles in the mall parking lot!

  7. #7
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    That's a beautiful basket, NanaSarah! I'm fascinated that you can use pine needles. Who'd a thought?!

  8. #8
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    Oh nice! Another basket maker! You should definitely take it up again! Check out Youtube as there are a whole lot of pine needle basket making videos that show all sorts of "tricks" to make things easier.

  9. #9
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    I did a lot of macrame back in the day, too. Haven't thought about that in years.

  10. #10
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    NanaSara, your basket is, indeed lovely. How long does it take you to make something like that?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly View Post
    NanaSara, your basket is, indeed lovely. How long does it take you to make something like that?
    I work pretty fast...I think I did that basket working on and off over 2 days.

  12. #12
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    I love it. I would love to try and make something like that. We have pine trees but they have rather short needles. Does the length of them matter?

  13. #13
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    Oh my goodness, my condo community is surrounded by tall pines with long needles, but I could never have the patience or hands control to do this! That basket is just lovely, NanaSarah.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruth n Jersey View Post
    I love it. I would love to try and make something like that. We have pine trees but they have rather short needles. Does the length of them matter?
    Yes, it matters a lot how long the needles are. I was fortunate to find some trees that have 12 to 15 inch long needles and they're a joy to make into baskets. There are a lot of trees with 6 inch needles, but with them you have to do a lot of sewing to keep them together, and they end up looking pretty rough. The 1 inch ones that are common around here are absolutely impossible to work with.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by RadishRose View Post
    Oh my goodness, my condo community is surrounded by tall pines with long needles, but I could never have the patience or hands control to do this! That basket is just lovely, NanaSarah.
    Where do you live RadishRose? I spent a lot of my adult life in Georgia and Alabama where long-needle pines are everywhere, but I didn't know how to make baskets back then. The good thing about Western Washington is that, when you DO find trees with long needles, you don't have to worry about poisonous bugs or snakes hiding among the needles, so gathering them is safe! I enjoy dying the needles so I can make colorful baskets.

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