Friday, May 2, 2008

Colonial Basketweaving

When I was in college, if there was a simple class to take, we used to joke around that it was Basketweaving 101.  I have since been  educated as to the error of that thinking and have changed my mind!

It all began a few years ago when we went to Colonial Williamsburg.  One of the crafts we saw was basketweaving.  My son must have been 8 at the time and was fascinated by the process.  He asked tons of questions.  At the gift shop, I purchased a kit thinking we could all enjoy the project together.  However we never got around to it.  Then last Christmas, a family member gave dd a colonial basket kit from the same company that we got our first kit.  I decided to save these for our colonial studies. 

When we started our studies on the Colonial Era, the first craft we pulled out was the basket kits.  We laid everything out.

We laid out ds's kit and figured out what all the various pieces were.  Good.  I figured ds could get started on his and then tell us how to do ours (because I would help dd).  DS always figures things out and always tells us what we are doing wrong.  ;)  He always knows.  He is very good at this type of thing.  =)  I was very happy to defer to his skills, because I had a lot on my "to do" list.  However, I just knew my ds would save the day!  The next step was to soak  the reeds.  They must remain wet in order to be flexible enough for all of the bending.

While those were soaking, dd and I got her kit set up but we were confused.  Some of the pieces were  different and they weren't as easy to identify as ds' were.  We called ds over to help....and he was  equally confused.  Hmmmm.  Well we soaked hers in the other sink.  Meanwhile ds got started on his...and got stuck.  He was clueless.  He needed my help.  What????  I was depending on him!  Well, I took a look at the two sheets, looked up the web site, which didn't seem to be much help to me or him.

 I was ready to make a momentous decision.  I was ready to throw everything away!  We needed a life!  Who needs basketweaving anyway?  Basketweaving is for the more intelligent genre of people, not for us lowly types who can't read directions.  Of all the crafts I have tackled in my entire life, of all the self taught things I have ever done, I was ready to admit defeat!  I was not ashamed to concede that basketweaving is a highly intelligent skill.  I was prepared to repent of my sins of Basketweaving 101 put-downs in college.  But the look in my children's eyes reduced me to give it the good old college try.  I always tell them to do their best, to not give up...what did we have to lose?  We could just go for it and make something to share at our unit celebration, no matter how pathetically it turned out.  

So we did the next thing; we took one step at a time, not worrying about too many steps ahead.  This is the foundation part of ds' basket.  We used a ruler to measure and set the pace for an even grid.  Who knew math would be involved?????

Getting the foundational grid even on dd's basket...

Does it look like a basket yet?  Hmmm....

DS' basket, turning up the ends...

Meticulously working our way through the weaving.  Believe me, this is not as easy at it looks.  I had to pull out dd's weaving quite often and help her a lot, because it would get confusing.  I even had to pull out my own work more than once.

DD's basket in the home stretch...

DS's basket at this point...

He got a little further than this when we had to put things away to sing at the nursing home.  The next afternoon after church I crashed onto the bed and slept all afternoon.  DH finished the basket with ds.

Ta da....




  1. Wow - that looks so complicated! I'm so impressed with your perseverance - the baskets are beautiful!


  2. WOW! They baskets are so impressive. I am very interested in learning how to basket weave someday. Your blog shows me so many cool things to do with my children when they get older.



  3. I love the baskets! Good for you for not giving upI!

    I am doing TOG Y2, U1. When it was time to cut out the pieces for the Rose window this week, I was quite a grump. I finally decided to ditch the round shape so it would be easier.

    Then, I couldn't get my scissors in the holes very well. I was so frustrated, that DH is going to help cut the pieces with an exacto knife this weekend so we can complete the project.

    We did get a mosiac heart, an Arabian marketplace, and crayon-smashing stained glassed windows done, so that's really impressive for me.

    I love reading your blog. It inspires me to try harder to give my kids the whole experience. Thank you!

    Dawn in N.B.

  4. Glad you were able to stick to it. The kids did an awesome job. My sons both did the basket weaving badge in Boy Scouts, but they were a different type and honestly didn't come out half as nice as yours. You should be proud, not only with the finished project but with the patience and perserverance of the kids.

  5. How beautiful, dear friend! Your children did a wonderful job, as did you in persevering. Who knew there would be such character training in Basketweaving 101 ~ for the rest of us!

    Love, Marsha

  6. Wow...they look great! Glad you got it figured out!