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This is the first of a regular blog for the basketry museum and the subject is… surprise...Christmas!!

Firstly, a small idea for a stocking stuff for your family.

A little soap trivet and a piece of soap

You will need some coloured round reed, or some fairly fine pieces of willow, and a piece of soap.

The technique for the little trivet is called ‘a tension tray’ and very simple to make, but it is important to have the right materials.

Take a piece of thicker material about 32” long, and form it into a small oval (see photo), and cut two pieces a little wider than the width of the oval about 5” long.

Cut about 25 pieces 6”long of the finer material.

Now start weaving, the first piece is placed under the end of the oval, over one piece, and under one piece and over the end., hold in place. The second piece goes under the OTHER end over the first piece under the second piece and over the end. These two pieces should hold the sticks in place. See photo. Now continue, always starting with the new piece placed under the oval frame, over under and over. Once you get started it is very easy and quick to weave. Fill in as many pieces as you can, then cut off all the overlapping pieces. 

This technique can be used for making cheese trays, using white or buff willow. See photo.

Looking for ideas for presents for yourself or friends?

Basketry Books

Two good willow books are:

" Willow Basketry" by Bernard and Regula Verdet-Feirz.

“Basket making in Ireland” by Joe Hogan

*The Best of the Basketry Express1985-90

*Another Best of the Basketry Express 1990-1995

*Yet Another of theBasketry Express 1995-2000

*The Use of Cattails, Rushes and Grasses in the Textile Arts 

*These are available from the Basketry Museum