Around this time of year there is a proliferation of Easter baskets for sale! Without our normal access to shops and a little more time on our hands I thought it would be great to try making our own foraging/easter egg collection baskets from the materials we have in abundance around us. This is a great activity to try on your own or with older children although they will need assistance getting started and have you on hand throughout the process. Younger children may enjoy helping. It is quite fiddly for them to achieve on their own. Although aspects of the process are time consuming the finished product is so satisfactory.
A number of stems lend themselves to being woven, being both flexible and strong and abundant.
For this ‘try’ we used bramble stems (!). You’d could also use willow, ‘Old Man’s Beard’ also known as wild clematis/ hazel tops, young alder shoots. If you wanted to get really creative you could try weaving a combination of different materials like grasses, feathers & moss.
YOU WILL NEED
Access to a good bramble patch
Step 1: Cut 6 x .5m – .8cm thickness and 30-40cm length stems & 15 -20 narrow (.3cm -.5cm) as long as possible but no shorter than 60cm lengths. Green stems tend to be less woody.
It’s no secret – brambles don’t want you to cut them. Go in with double gloves!
Step 2: Remove brambles from stems, carefully skimming with a knife. Use the back of the knife for the finer stems. Be prepared for this stage to take a while.
NB Please use any knives safely observing safe working distances and cutting away from and never over any part of your body. Supervise children at all times.
Step 3: Fold a narrow stem in half and have it to hand. Take three of your thicker stems and hold them parallel. Fold narrow stem around the parallel stems around half way point and cross them over.
Step 4: Gently place the other three stems, parallel and at a right angle on top of the others.
Weave ‘over and under’ using narrow stem to wrap full square around both sets of stems. To achieve this you must cross the two pieces of the wrapping stem over before completing another turn.
Continue for up to 3 times around in a square before snipping ends off and tucking them in.
Step 5: Gently encourage each of the parallel stems to bend upwards taking care not to flex too hard as the brambles can be brittle if forced. Secondly gently spread the stems out to even the distance between them all.
Step 6: Take another longer stem and fold in half. Now you will be weaving between the individual stems rather than around three at a time. Your basket will begin to take shape. Encourage it to grow upwards.
When the weaving stem runs out, select another and start of exactly where the previous stem finished. (pic)
Step 8: Continue until your basket is either deep as you wish or you have 5/6cm surplus of the thicker upright stems
Step 9: To finish off tuck your uprights in one at a time in front of the stem to the left/right, working around until you have them all tucked in
The finished basket! Time to go foraging/egg hunting ! Let us know how you get on and post some pics on our facebook page x