Starting a rib basket for Mungo

So to answer Mungo’s question in my previous post…..

Take the basket rim


and the central rib (if you wish to make a basket with a handle this would be another Willow hoop) and using a cross lashing secure the two together


Now take another wand and weave in a figure of eight over the rim from front to back


across the front of the rib


and then behind the rim


and over the top and this time go behind the rib


and over the rim from the front


and then across the front of the rib


After you have done this a few times two holes (top and bottom of the figure of eight)  will have been created looking like this from the side view


and into each of these you push the end of another rib


At this stage you should then have five ribs.  Now continue weaving between them all a few times and with the resulting holes created between each rib you push in another six ribs, giving you eleven in total and this is what you will have


Hope that answers your question :>)

Willow basket

I wanted a basket for carrying kindling from my woodshed for my woodburning stove, so I went for a walk and collected some willow wands.


Firstly I twisted two thicker wands into a circle to make a rim for the basket.


I weaved in the basket ribs


I continued weaving between between the rib, filling in the basket


As I filled in the middle of the basket I did not weave to the basket rim.  This creates two opposing handles for carrying the basket when it’s full.


This handle is very different to those on other baskets I have made


My weaving skills are still rather slow but after three hours the basket was completed



And the finished basket is certainly fit for purpose



A fenman and a fish trap 2

Using a circular chopping board with 28 holes drilled in it as a gauge, we started making a trap.  Inserting a willow wand into each of the 28 holes (the warps).


We used thin flexible wands to weave around the top of the trap (end nearest the board) until we had weaved around the diameter of the trap twice, adding in new wands as the previous became too thin or short.


A single weave was added about 15cm above this


and another 15cm above that.  This time the weave had to be a little tighter which caused the trap to start curving into a cone shape.


Three more wefts were added, each tighter than the previous (as you can see above) and then the ends were all lashed together.


This part of the trap was then removed from the gauge and using the same 28 holes we made the funnel or “chair”.


Once completed, the funnel was inserted into the trap so that the 28 warps  of the funnel laid between the 28 warps of the trap.


Both were then woven together.


Here is the completed trap.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The trap has to dry for two weeks now and then I will soak it and test it out.

Basket making at The House of Lords

I spent last Sunday at The House of Lords….that’s John and Val Lords of course!.  In return for their daughter Steff having taught me how to make felt, I agreed to teach them how to make simple baskets like these.


Fortunately Steff has Osier Willow growing in her garden so she cut some and brought them with her.


There had been a frost the previous night and it was still close to freezing when we started making the baskets.  Unfortunately, I suspect due to the frost, the the willow wands kept snapping when we tried to work with it and after some considerable time with only basic frames made, we decided to give up and await warmer weather.

I did smoke some salmon for lunch



which proved to be rather more successful, like this one that I smoked last Christmas


Making a coracle part 1.

Firstly, to Treewright, Mungo and Suburban Bushwacker…… thanks for you comments re my recent laptop problems.

Last weekend I was at Assington Mill again to learn to make a coracle with instructor Olivia Elton Barratt. I should point out that there are many different designs and ways of making them and this is just one;

The seat was cut from sawn timber, a hole drilled in each corner and placed on flat ground. Pairs of willow wands were then selected for construction of the framework.

Four large wands were inserted into each of the seat holes and then the shape was measured and marked out with the rest of the wands, starting with two pairs either side of the centre of the coracle

Once all the wands were in place, weaving between the wands could start to form the rim and help strengthen the frame. The weave starts under both ends of the seat and after one complete diameter of the coracle the second row is woven below the seat.

The wands are woven in pairs, criss-crossing between the upright wands.

As one wand runs out, you add in a new one to replace it and continue weaving until three rows have been completed.

The vertical wands (or ribs) are then lashed together in opposing pairs to begin forming the shape of the coracle.

until the basic shape is completed.

At this stage slight adjustments to the shape can be made and once the shape looks good, a square lashing is used to secure each point where the pairs of wands cross.