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my first basket

In 2003 I drove across the country, bound for my new life in California. As my friends and I traveled through Indian country, all I could talk about were baskets. These baskets are incredible! Have you seen these baskets! Look more baskets! My friends were somehow unmoved by the amazingness of basketry (Hi Oona! Hi Janet! Can you believe you put up with me for two whole weeks?). But I had met a burning passion in myself and I knew with certainty: One day I would weave baskets.

Fast forward nine years. The life in California didn't work out (at least it started this blog!) but I never lost my desire to some day pick up basket weaving. Then I saw this book in the new books section of the library and it all came together in my mind. Now is the acceptable time. Now is the time to make Zion an easter basket.

basket being woven

in process, curious head in the background

Baskets are made out of reed (i mean, usually. That's like saying sweaters are made out of wool, but whatever...) Reed come in various sizes and widths for different purposes. So the stakes of the basket are a different size from the weavers, and then you need something else for the rim and a further size to lash the rim down. Reed is sold in one pound bunches, which give you a lot of baskets worth of material but means you're like $80 in before you can start your first project. That seemed a little daunting to me, so I bought a single-basket kit to hedge against the possibility I wouldn't like the hobby.

basket without rim

before adding handles and rim. Displayed with the other random crap I was working on.

Why would I think I wouldn't like it? Obviously because I'm crazy. Of course I'd love it. Because oh my goodness, it's basketry! It is to knitting what crack is to cocaine.

The directions for this basket say 5 hours, and that's probobly right. I had this on the kitchen table in various stages for about two weeks, though the weaving part went really quickly. It was the wittling for the handle that took longer than fun. I'm not really a big fan of wittling it turns out. So much scraping and not getting anywhere, and it hurts my hand. At one point I said to Dan, "This is stupid. Can't I just BUY a basket handle?"

And he was like, "Leah, you can just buy a basket."

the finished basket

dah duh dah

Here is the finished basket. I know, a cat's head shape isn't really traditional for easter, but it was the best kit I could find. Plus the swing handle is super fun to play with. I might just make Zion another easter basket and save this one for gathering eggs. That is, if I can get it away from Mr Grabby McGrabbersons.

harvey stealing the basket

hey! I was trying to photograph that!

Harvey, meanwhile, is adament that he doesn't need a new easter basket. He's pretty attached the the CVS white-painted version that Grandma got him two years ago. But he's more than happy to play with "Zion's basket," and just now asked me if I was going to make Zion another basket to put toys in. Oh Harvester, you know me all too well. There's about $80 of reed on its way to us as we speak.


Seriously, you are a rock star! I was all, "She has to teach me this skill" right up until the wittling. Then I was all," maybe I can pay her to make one" ;). yeah. SLACKER. But I digress, I'm duly impressed.

you can make a basket without a handle... then no wittling ;)

Isn't it whittling? And that's totally the guy's job anyways, you know, with the knives and the sitting on rocking chairs on the porch and all.

Nice work Leah, as always :) And yes, I think I do remember hearing a lot about baskets at that part of the trip. Hard to say though, cause I was so focused on finding fry bread...yummmmmm.

"It is to knitting what crack is to cocaine." Hah!

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