Blackberry vine basket

I made a thing! I’ve been looking around the garden/woodland etc trying to figure out what I can make with what I have. I watched a video on willow basket weaving the other day and the lady said something that really spoke to me: “It’s what we’ve always done: we’ve found the plants that are growing near us, and found a way of turning them into something useful.” So I have a lot of brambles especially in one corner, and they are long and leggy and will probably benefit from hacking right back to regrow, but I found a short tutorial on making a (supposedly) quick basket from green bramble vines. So I had a go! My basket isn’t the best, it certainly wouldn’t win any awards for beauty, it’s pretty loose and the weave will loosen further still as it dries, but I did it and I’m so proud of it. I learnt a LOT, constantly looking up how I need to improve my technique, so the next one WILL be better. Maybe I’ll even be able to sell them one day! Who knows. It’s a skill that I’m really pleased to be learning, and I’m using what’s available to create something that I needed. Happy days!

I stripped the thorns off the bramble vines by running them through an offcut of denim, while wearing heavy gardening gloves. It got rid of most of the thorns (I got prickled once from an area I’d evidently not been thorough enough on) but the little nubbles get left behind, maybe I need courser canvas instead of fairly smooth denim. It’s uncomfortable to work with but not painful.

I started the basket the way I saw the lady start her willow basket, poking holes through three of the spokes, for the other three to slot into. The idea was for the handle to be in situ from the start but I changed my mind pretty quickly when it became clear it wasn’t easy to work with snaggy brambles! So, instead, there were two spokes (opposite each other) that were much longer than the rest, to make into the handle later.

Starting the base, working with two strands, twisting them between each spoke so one goes over and one goes under.

Starting to work up the sides, bending the spokes upwards. I hope as I (hope to) make more baskets it gets easier to control the slopes of the sides!

Finished the sides!

I bent the tops of the spokes over, overlapping them all the way around each side, then tucked the last ends down into the woven sides.

I bent the long spoke ends that were intended for handles over, and tucked them each down the weave next to the other, then took a much thinner piece and wrapped it around and around, tucking each end down into the weave.

I’m so proud of my little basket! It’s just the right size to carry my gloves and tools and phone (!) around the garden as I work. I know it’ll loosen a fair bit as it dries, and might need some patching up, but I might patch it with yarn if it starts really falling apart and use it indoors instead.

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