Sunday 24 September 2023

Asymmetrical Willow Basket


 This weekend I was back at West Dean, but it wasn't for glass beads this time!  Instead I was on a willow weaving workshop.

I'd seen a few things about willow weaving and thought it looked interesting, but it wasn't until I saw the asymmetrical basket workshop that I decided to have a go.

Example baskets

Our tutor was the lovely Sue Kirk.  She's incredably patient and knowledgeable and was happy to answer all our questions over the course of the weekend.  But I soon stopped taking notes when I realised 1. just how complicated it all is! and 2. that although I really enjoyed the workshop I'm not sure I'll be making another basket anytime soon.

A very gappy start to my base

She started by explaining a bit about basket weaving and the willow we'd be using.  She'd bought 4 example baskets of different sizes for us to look at and use as guides for what we wanted to make.  My aim was the create the second smallest basket, but it ended up a little bigger.

Undone and rewoven - no gaps!

She had also bought a lot of willow with her of different colours (some she grew herself and some she bought) so we could play around a bit with the look of our baskets.


We started with the base.  Mine was very gappy so I undid it and Sue helped me get the spacing better.  From then things went better.

The base took most of the first day!  By the end of day one I had a base with 32 up rights and the foot round the bottom.  I'd also selected my rods so I'd be able to start weaving the sides straight away on day two.

End of day one

Day two was a shorter day, finishing at 3pm.  But the sides went a lot quicker than the base and I easily finished in good time.


As I said its a little bigger than I was aiming for, and I'm interested in what the colours will do as it dries out - I think it should lighten a little, and as the maker I am a little critical, I can see where it's maybe not as round as I wanted etc, but for a first attemp I'm pretty pleased with it.

I can see why people would get obsessed with making baskets, there is much to learn and so many techniques to play with, but I think I'll stick to glass for now.


Hopefully my hands and fingers won't feel so sore and tired tomorrow and I can get back to my knitting.

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