AmblesideOnline AO Parents' Review Articles

The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."

By Mrs. Pollard.
Volume 2, 1891/92, pgs. 769-770

Since basket-making has become so favourite an industry, inquiries have often been made for written instructions, and as there appear to be no such directions we have been asked to give a few simple hints on this pleasant art. We hope it will prove a pleasure to those who take interest in handicrafts, and perhaps it may be the means of making dreary winter days pass happily to some who are home-bound during the cold English winter. Basket-making is quite easy, perfectly clean, and inexpensive. One pound of cane will make several nice baskets, and both young and old delight in the work. The materials required are various sizes of French cane, a pair of scissors, and a good strong stiletto. We recommend beginners to use sizes Nos. 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. No. 6 of pink tie, which is a kind of split cane, and is used principally for binding purposes. Nos. 7 and 9 are for the spokes; the other numbers for weaving the basket. Before commencing take a quantity of single pieces of Nos. 1 and 3, roll them up separately and put them into a basin of hot water, where they must thoroughly soak; take, then, each roll out of the water as it is required. Should there be a difficulty in recognising the two numbers put them in different basins. Now take No. 7, cut eight lengths about 27 inches long and one about 14 inches; these are the spokes, and must not be wet; get the exact middle; take four, place them over the other four in the form of a cross with equal limbs, holding them between the finger and thumb quite straight. Take No. 1 out of the water, unroll it, put one end under the finger and bring it over the top spokes, and go round over and under in the same place twice, then cross the cane underneath once more (1), and over the set of four spokes you have previously gone under, and go twice round as before. The spokes should now be quite firm; divide them in twos, making a complete star: go round twice over and twice under, making in all eight rows; now work with the spokes singly; take your odd spoke, and with the stiletto bore a place anywhere in the circle, push the cane right into the centre, and go round and round weaving in and out, always working from you, until there is a flat piece about 5 inches in diameter; with your finger and thumb wet the spokes a little, and gradually bend them up (2) so as to form the shape, making it wide or narrow according to the size required; and here is scope for great ingenuity and taste. As soon as the cane is finished, stick the end into the basket by the side of a spoke but overlapping the last bit, and start with another piece by also inserting the end into the basket. After using two lengths of No. 9, take No. 3 and complete the basket with it, and leave about 5 inches of spoke. And now we come to the border. Wet the spokes well by holding the basket upside down in hot water; take each spoke, pressing it firmly down on the edge of the basket behind and in front alternately; draw them slightly together, when dry cut the ends off but not too close, and with your fingers put the bottom of the basket up (2) so that it may stand straight. When once you have mastered this extremely simple shape it is always easy to improve it by working different borders, and here is a very easy one. When the basket is as large as you require, wet the spokes and bend them down and stick them in (4). Then take No. 3 and a length of pink tie, hold the basket to you, swish the cane into rings (5) and bind with the pink tie. We must make a handle, and then we have done. Cut two pieces, according to the height of the handle, of No. 9, put them as far down possible at each side of a spoke and over to the other side (6), and swish a piece of fine cane round it. You will understand that the size of the basket depends on the length of the spokes. It is a great improvement to work two canes together as one, and over one spoke and under two. We have only given you directions for making one kind of basket, but there are many pretty and useful shapes, and we should be glad to send patterns at a small cost. The cane can be had from Suabedissen, 60, Red Cross Street, London; and Mrs. Joy, Brook Street, Ilkley.

--Cards with the above numbers, and explanatory diagrams, can be obtained by enclosing a stamped addressed envelope to the writer, 7, Middleton Villas, Ilkley.

Typed July 2013