Introduction: Pine Needle Baskets

Picture of Pine Needle Baskets

I like to make things from items that have been discarded or thought to have no purpose. This project came about while on a walk. I saw some long pine needles that had dropped to the ground so I decided to try and make something out of them. I decided to try to make a basket.

Step 1: Assembling Materials

Picture of Assembling Materials

I picked up what I thought would be enough pine needles to make a small basket. Since I found them on public land I felt I would be able to get more if I needed more. I needed to lash the needles together with something so I looked at fiber from my palm tree, fiber from my flax plant or thread I had unraveled from discarded jeans left over from a previous project. I chose the thread but any long, strong fiber can be used. I also needed a needle with a large eye to hold the thread.

Step 2: Starting the Basket

Picture of Starting the Basket

To start bend the needles at the end and sew the fiber around the end to hold it. These needles were lying on wet ground so were soft but you can soften your needles by soaking in hot water for a few minutes til you can bend them without breaking.

Step 3: Making the Bottom of the Basket

Picture of Making the Bottom of the Basket

Continue adding more needles along the edge you are working and sewing them to the previously sewn needles. I add one three needle bundle each time. Depending on the look you are trying to achieve you can add more each time. You can choose the shape of the basket bottom at this point. I decided to make a round basket.

Step 4: Starting on the Sides

Picture of Starting on the Sides

My basket won't be big enough to winnow grain so when the bottom is 6 inches wide I will start to make the sides. Continuing in the round I angle up the new needle bunches as I add them and sew in place. As you can see a pattern is made with the thread as it is sewn.

Step 5: Making the Sides

Picture of Making the Sides

This is the same process as before, adding the needle bunches, sewing in place, going around and around til you reach the desired height of the basket sides. When the basket is as tall as you want you are finished. I wanted to add a rolled edge so I used the same technique as I used when I transitioned from the bottom to the side but I reversed to angle to make the rolled edge go to the outside.

Step 6: Finishing

Picture of Finishing

When I have enough of a rolled edge I will finish by tying a knot, weaving the thread into the body of the basket and cutting off the excess needles. ALL FINISHED!

Comments

foodforall (author)2017-10-22

Very nicely done. I am inspired to try this! Thank you for posting.

gm280 (author)2017-10-22

That is amazing and I seriously like what you designed and built. I see these type pine needle baskets at the local fair each year and wonder at how ingenious people are with nature material. I have to ask, when you come to the end of one needle set, do you simply start with another, or work single needles in as you go to keep a strong structure without an end or begin when you add in more needles? I see some very exotic designs with pine needles that people make at the fairs. Bravo to you for this project.

Marklow (author)gm2802017-10-22

If you enlarge the pictures you can see where I add the end of the needle that came off the tree to the last 1/4 of the needles on the basket to work in new needles. This way there is a smoother transition. Using different colors of needles gives more design to the basket. I used all one color so this is a basic, basic, basic example. Also using long needles is much easier.

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2017-10-22

That is really impressive. Do you have any issues with the pine sap?

No. These needles were very dry. As you pick the needles you can check for sap (or in my case spiders, leaves and dirt). Any sap can be removed with alcohol or if you want water proofing leave it in. It is mess to work with though.

mrsmerwin (author)2017-10-21

Looks beautiful. What is the biggest basket that you can make this way?

Marklow (author)mrsmerwin2017-10-22

The sky is the limit. Very large baskets can be made and be very strong because you sew each set of needles separately so they build on each other.

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