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Making a basket and Freedom Frog

This weekend I made a couple of baskets and had a lovely walk in the gorgeous weather on Saturday.  In our local woods there are snowdrops everywhere and last week some Winter Aconites started flowering (the yellow flowers in the photo, they're not native, but they are lovely!).

They other day I didn't get a picture of a Snowdrop in full bloom, on Saturday I did!

My favourite spring plants are Ramsons.  They are DELICIOUS as well as beautiful!!!  I couldn't believe my eyes when I spotted this lot...  I scoffed a couple of leaves, so spring, as far as my belly is concerned, is here!!

There are a lot of pine trees fallen in the local woods. The pine tree stump contains lots of resin and gives the wood a very dark red colour.  It is called 'Fat Wood'.

It is perfect for starting fires as the resin is extremely flammable.  There is some processing required though.  You can normally kick the stump out of the ground, depending on how old it is.  Then you knock it against something hard to break it into a reasonable size to carry home with you.  Where you chop it up into lots of little twig size matches.  Brilliant firestarter!  You can actually buy this stuff ready matchsticked.

The Different Stages of Making a Basket 

I don't know if I showed this use for one of my little things baskets before.  I put my grease horn in and store my bodkin in it.  



You can purchase willow for weaving from willow suppliers in the Somerset levels. I get mine from Musgroves or PH Coate.

The withies come in different lengths & you buy them per kg. I wont go into the different types of willow in this post as it's a bit too in depth. There is choice though!  Get in touch if you want some advice. I will write about it in another post.

You then soak the willow you will be weaving for the relevant amount of time. Once soaked you wrap it in a damp cloth to mellow, normally for the same amount of time it took to soak. Then it is ready to weave!

Stage one...

Make the base.

Stage Two

Rescue the little frog that you found in one of your bundles of soaked willow...

... and set him free...

I think this is a look of gratitude, look, he's smiling...

Hmmmm or maybe he was a bit pesked from being trapped in a bundle of willow in my living room.


Stage Three 

Select your uprights and slype them on the end so you can push them into the base.  Slyping is where you cut the end of a withy into a point so it can be pushed easier into the gaps created by weaving.

Stage Four

Kink your uprights and tie them up, forming the basic shape of your basket to be.

Stage Five

Weave the upsett, this is a very strong weave that sets the uprights in place.  Take a break to coo over the cute sleeping collie.

Stage Six

At this stage if you're having a handle on your basket, you should add some handle liners.  These are just a couple of thick sticks, slyped on the end and poked into the upsett.  They are removed after you've finished the border and will have left a gap for you to insert your handle bow.

Then start weaving the sides.  For this basket I used a weave called a French Rand.  A French Rand is a weave that requires you to put all your weavers on at once.  You need a lot of space around you but it gives you a very even finish.

Stage Seven

Once your basket has reached the desired height add on a round of waling.  Waling is what you used in stage 5, when you did the upsett.  It is a very strong weave that sets your uprights and stabilizes your side weaving.  

Stage Eight

It's time to set down the border. There are many different types of border, the simplest, for example, is called a 3 rod wale.  When you've finished the border you can take out the handle liners.

Stage Nine

Add the handle bow and then wrap.  You usually use a handful of fine withies to wrap the handle bow and finish it off with a funky knot.

Stage Ten

Tidy the basket up by snipping off all the sticky out ends of willow.

The basket in the photos is on it's way to a customer, so I wont show the finished product yet!   I'm working on a basket making tutorial so should have that up in the next month or so.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!



  1. So entertaining, and incredibly informative at the same time--you are a forest sage Hen! I am convinced.


  2. That's so neat to see the process.

    I was walking in a mess of "buck brush" (?) and rose bushes today to get to a new found grow op (from last year) on a friend's property and was thinking about you and wondering if I could do some weaving with this bramble thicket.

  3. Thank you so much for showing what you do! I really look forward to your tutorial - I'm a great fan of your work :)

  4. Wow! So much beauty in this post.
    First of all I love the flowers. Especially that first photo with them growing in that little nook in the tree roots. I can't wait to see flowers again!
    And how wonderful to see the process you go through. Basket weaving is such a beautiful craft. It has such simple but elegant materials. I love that you can go out in nature and select the pieces that call out to you and create a usable piece of art from them.
    Your little frog friend is very cute too, he looks happy to be back in his green outdoors, but he probably enjoyed his little trip indoors, experiencing new surroundings.
    Thank you for sharing all of this! I hope your customer enjoys their new basket!

  5. Its great to see a basket being made Hen, and that frog really was smiling! xxx

  6. The snow drops look so nicely taken care of by the tree.

    Your process of making a basket is very very interesting. I think I shall look into it a little closer when we have the time. We are about to drive to California in about 15 minutes and just wanted to say thank you. It's been fun getting to know you a little through the world of blogging. Happy Days.

  7. I was watching "Victorian Farm" and was fascinated with the process of making an Oak basket. Have you ever thought I trying to do that? They said there were now only two people in the country left who had the skill.

  8. Yes!! I am desperate to learn how to make swills! I've been looking into it since we got the land as we have the perfect wood for it.


  9. I enjoyed finding your blog. Your photos are beautiful. I don't weave in willow, but do weave in reed.
    Thank you for sharing the steps to your willow basket.
    Nancy J

  10. hen, fabulous post, and thank you for showing us the stages. i sooo want one of your baskets!
    Love the Important Frog Rescue too!

    Leanne x

  11. I am so glad the little frog is OK. Thank you for the process... the baskets are fantastic!

  12. Wonderful photos and reading the weaving process is very inspiring. Thank YOU for your generosity :) (pocketdelight)


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