1. Cut a piece of stitching string about five feet long to start the basket. Thread one end of the stitching string through a needle, (Do NOT double thread, instead use a single thickness of string in wrapping and stitching).
2. Use 4 to 6 individual pine needles (stripped of the sheath that joins needles together) to produce the foundation at the bottom center of the basket. Lay a couple of inches of the loose end of the string alongside the end of the pine needles (and extending in the opposite direction.)
3. With one hand hold the short end of the string in place, and with the other hand wrap the long stitching string around both the string's end and the pine needle bundle (wrap about 10 - 15 times), producing a coil about 3/4 of an in. long. (Be sure to leave an initial 1/4 in. of pine needle unwrapped at the start.)
4. Bend the wrapped 3/4 inch bundle of needles (with extreme gentleness) into a 'U' shape and bind both the long and short ends of the pine needles together (wrap 6 or 8 times). This will forming an elliptical circle or ring foundation. (Try to make the hole in the center of the ring as small as possible). This piece forms the center of your spiraling basket.
5. Start the coiling process. Bend the loose end of the wrapped pine needle bundle around. The bundle of loose needles should lay snugly along side the ring foundation. Stitch around the bundled needles and through the hole at the center of the ring. Use a standard whip stitch. Keep stitches close and adjacent to each other in this first round. Continue wrapping around the pine needle bundle and through the center of the ring one full time around (this should be about 10 to 20 stitches). The first round of the basket bottom is now joined to the central ring.
|6. For the second round of stitches, do NOT stitch through the hole at the center of the ring any more. Now stitch around the bundle being added, and then through middle of the bundle making up the ring. Keep in mind the 'best side' of the basket.|
7. In the second round, make small even spaces between the stitches so you can see the bundled needles in between. Uneven stitches at the bottom of a basket get amplified as the coiling progresses, and are hard to correct farther along. The second round should also have 10 to 15 stitches, depending upon the thickness of the string. The initial stitches secure the start of the coiling process, try to maintain a nice circular disk for the bottom of the basket. Also try not to let the bundled pine needles twist as they are coiled around.
8. In the second round of the basket bottom start adding pine needles to the bundle. Hold the bundle of needles with the thumb and fingers of the left hand, while the coil is stitched around with the right hand. Three or four individual needles may have to be added every other stitch, have patience, the finished product is worth it.
9. Continue adding needles to gradually increase the diameter of the bundle to that of a pencil (about 16 individual pine needles) for a medium sized basket. Add foundation material as needed while coiling the basket, maintain a consistent bundle width.
10. Select a type of stitching to use from those provided here for the third and subsequent rounds of the basket. Experiment with coming several rows of different types of stitching.
|Eastern Pine Needle Baskets||Splicing in new string to stitch with|