Pine needle basket pendants are, essentially, miniature versions of the coil baskets used for storing and transporting items, and made traditionally by indigenous people. Here, they are attached to beaded necklaces.
Tools & Materials
- Pine Needles
- Leather lacing (2) 48cm long (19 inches)
- Bone Beads (2)
- Glass Crow Beads (4)
- Cones, small (4)
- Willow seed Bead (1)
- Waxed Imitation Sinew (could use embroidery floss of raffia, it’s best to wax it)
- First Aid kit (due to use of sharp tools)
- Tapestry needles
- Upholstery needle, curved
- Pliers, needle nose (helps to pull the needle through the thicker areas)
Cut sinew about 2 arm lengths and thread your tapestry needle. Take two of the Pine needles and tie a knot close to the capped ends. Start to stitch around the Pine needles, coiling around the knot. As you work around your Pine needle knot you can make your knot visible from the outside or the inside of the basket, your choice. If you have it on the inside you will have a flatter bottom. (Hint: I find it easier to work from left to right (I'm right hand dominant)
Continue stitching and adding coils around the knot. Keep your stitches close together as you begin, your stitches will start to get wider as you go. After a couple of coils you can begin to use a decorative stitch pattern: Add a new stitch in the middle of each stitch from the previous coil, OR pierce your needle through the middle of each stitch from the previous coil. This forms a 'pinwheel' effect.
As you work your coils outward your pine needles will get shorter and you will need to add more needles. Remove the 'cap' from the end of the Pine needles and tuck it into the open end of your coil. The 'caps' are easier removed when the needles are damp. Make sure you can't see this new addition from the sides of your coil. Because you are working on a tiny version of a basket, you don't want to add in too many Pine needles at a time. Add a third set of pine needles into the coil once the first set is about 2 inches long.
Keep stitching and coiling, adding in more uncapped pine needles as needed to keep your coil building around the center knot of your basket. Once your coils reach about 2.5cm - 3cm (1 inch - 1 1/4 inch) you start to build your basket sides. Begin to stack the next coil on top of the last row of coils. You can now begin to shape the sides of your basket, rounding them or keeping them straight up. Continue to add more sets of uncapped Pine needles into the open coil as you build your sides.
Your stitching will help to keep your basket sturdy. It is important not to have your stitching too far apart. Each stitch will affect the finished look of your basket.
Using a 'V' stitch, using a double stitch at each stitch as you add to your coil OR - one stitch in between each stitch as you attach to the previous coil OR - Pierce each stitch of the previous coil, as you attach your new coil. This forms into the 'pinwheel' effect.
Research other stitches that are used in Pine needle basket construction for something new.
When you run out of sinew, weave the end of the thread back into the basket coils so you can't see it and it won't come loose. You may need to change your needle to the curved upholstery needle. Because this basket is so small, the curved needle will make it easier to maneuver inside the basket and handy to hide the thread ends.
When you come to the end of the basket, make stitches side-by-side along the top edge to help cover the last 1.5cm - 2cm (half-inch to an inch) or so of the raw sharp Pine needle edges.
After working on your basket you will want to store it till the next day. Wrap your basket in a damp cloth or paper towel in a plastic bag. You will want to keep it moist. Try not to leave your basket or needles damp for more than a day or two because they will begin to mold. Otherwise, let it dry and wrap it in damp paper towels the night before you are ready to work it again.
It is also possible to dye your Pine needles by soaking them in clothing dye for 20 minutes. Follow the instructions.
The basket lid can be made the same way you made the bottom of the basket. Working on the flat. Then add a lip on the inside so that it holds the lid on; or work the edges of the lid so it will fit over the edges of the basket. A 'lip' on the inside of the lid would be made separately as a ring of needles and then stitched to the underside of the lid to keep it solid and secure. The lid of the small basket is secured by sewing a 'hinge' to one side of the basket. A small leather piece has been attached to the opposite side of the lid and a willow seed is sewn on to act as a button closure.
Stitch the leather lacing to both sides of the basket to act as a necklace. Add the bone and glass beads on both sides of the lacing. The tin cones are added to the bottoms of the lacing for decoration.