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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Very Easy Basket Tutorial

Today is officially "Make a Basket Day". I decided to put you all to work since I am still trying to put my house back together. This is a very simple way to make a fancy basket that I came up with for a class a few years back.

You need three materials. First you will need some scraps of needlepoint canvas. I use Penelope because there is more of a resemblance to a woven basket than with mono canvas. A lot of the needlepoint stores sell it by the inch. I find a lot of it in thrift store craft bins. Much cheaper that way.

Second you will need some "Woodsies" from the craft store. They are wooden shapes that come in a bag. They are very inexpensive and can be used for all kinds of projects. Each bag has several different shapes and those in turn are in assorted sizes. All are suitable for some kind of basket and they can be used for a lot of other things in mini besides the basket bottoms. I buy the ones with circles, ovals and rectangles. I imagine any other flat round object the right size would work as long as it is glueable. Or, if you are desperate, you can cut your own.

The third material that you will need is some embroidery floss. Use whatever colors will look good in your house or for a more natural basket just use shades of beige.

Tools that you will need are white glue, scissors and a 24 or 26 tapestry needle. Those are the ones with the blunt end.They can also be found at craft stores and the needlework shop.

1. Choose a Woodsie shape that you like. For your first one I would suggest one of the round ones.

2. Decide how tall you want the sides of your basket. You will notice that the threads running in one direction of the Penelope canvas are tightly packed(horizontal). The ones going the other way(vertical) are looser. You want the tight threads to run around the basket and the loose ones to go up and down. Carefully cut a strip of the canvas that is long enough to fit around your woodsie with one or two courses of the double thread overlapping. I try for just two threads(one course). For your first basket you may feel more secure with a larger overlap. Now run a thin line of glue around the edge threads and smooth it a bit with your finger. Let dry a bit.

3. Run a line of white glue along one line of the threads at the bottom edge of the strip and up one edge and wrap this around the woodsie. The bottom of the canvas should be even with the bottom of the woodsie. Now glue the end of the canvas strip over the start of the strip. You will find that if you hold it for a minute the wood and canvas will stick together nicely. Sometimes I use an old fashioned hair clip to keep the seam closed if I am impatient. Let the glue dry completely before starting to sew.

Side bar here....I glue the canvas to the woodsie before I start to embroider. If I embroider it before, I have to cut the threads at the end of each row. With the canvas glued on I can just continue from one row to the next. It makes for a neater finished basket.

4. Thread a needle with two strands of the six that the floss comes in. Put a dot of glue on the inside of the basket where you want to start sewing and lay the very end on the glue. Let it dry for a couple seconds and then pull the thread to the front through one of the holes.

Now just for practice do a running stitch around the basket over two single threads and under two. It should look like the body of the orange basket at the front of the photo.On that basket you can see clearly the transition from one row to the next without stopping. You can experiment with any kind of embroidery stitch. The top and bottom rows of that basket are done in stem stitch.

The taller waste basket is done with the threads closely packed doing a simple over under weave.

The handle on the little basket on the right front was simply two lines of the tightly packed threads cut in a strip. I glued the edges and then weaved in the open spaces in the middle.

You can line the basket if you desire by cutting a piece of index card and covering it with fabric to fit the sides and bottom of the basket. I usually just fill the basket with something. That way I don't have to bother. I have made these baskets with #22 harganger or aida cloth a couple of times. I don't like those nearly as well. They don't look like real baskets and they are more flimsy.

There are endless variations for these baskets once you get the hang of it.

I usually start a bunch all at one time so that I can work on one while the others are drying. They are kind of like potato chips. Bet you can't make just one!


Jorie said...

I love your blog! Your work is incredible. Wonderful Baskets, too!


Deni said...

These look really snazzy!
I have made a few of these types but never used the floss in them! I like them!

Unknown said...

I love your stuff!
I have just put your baskets on my business page on FACEBOOK and also the link to your amazing blog. Hope this is ok I just know my ladies will love it :)
poppets dolly bits

Lanie said...

Hi I wonder how you can thread around the bottom row since its glued to the wood?