Read about a total beginner’s experience making my first beginner basket out of coiled pine needles — using a kit meant for beginners!
I bought this kit by Traditional Craft Kits from a lovely shop in Mendocino, California. I’d been wanting to make a basket for some time and had my eyes on some kits online, so when I came across a big selection of kits in this shop, I dug through to find one that was meant for a beginner! Learning tried and true traditional methods of crafts, cooking and lifestyle is a path I want to walk more and more, so I knew starting my basket learning journey would be beneficial to my spirit.
You might think i’d have started this project quickly after — but I sat on it for a good month or two! Whenever I thought about doing it I felt intimidated by the process, worried about moments of confusion and frustration. Finally, I set the stage for taking on this project by tidying an area of my home. The process of tidying and freeing up a really nice space to work on your project makes such a difference in getting the wheels turning.
And then I began!
The first step was boiling the dry and brittle pine needles so they became soft and flexible.
I told you I was intimidated by potential moments of confusion and frustration; those emotions visited quite early on in the journey starting with the first steps. As a total beginner, I don’t know how much the directions for this lovely little kit could use more detail versus it just being my particular beginner mind getting confused at a couple of parts throughout the making of it. My first hiccup was making a chain of several knots, but not knowing how tight they should be. Being a beginner, I thought “let me be real neat and tidy right from the start” and made the knots tight, but it turned out they needed to be loose.
Can we agree that when one faces such a grueling life challenge as have to re-do one step of a craft project, an ice cream break is in order? Well, I took such a break. And yes, that’s vanilla ice cream but don’t judge me — I embellish it with organic crunchy peanut butter and freshly ground cardamom. Fact about me: I feel strongly that households around the world should have cardamom seeds in a grinder just like they may have their salt and pepper. Grind it on ice cream, honey butter toast, oatmeal — sweet things. It’s amazing.
After my little break I was ready to continue, and things went on relatively smoothly for a bit. Even as a beginner, you do learn and figure things out a bit as you move along. However, I did hit my next road bump.
I simply could not figure out what a section of the instructions meant. Being the resourceful gal I am, I headed to facebook, found their business page and sent a message. She replied immediately! I actually finished the basket before getting the answer to my question. I just kinda winged it, and it made sense enough and continued looking like a basket! The reason for the delay in an answer to my question was because she decided to very kindly make a video explanation for me. She explained what that section of the instructions meant. I sincerely thanked her for taking the time to do that for me — excellent customer service all around. Perhaps my reaching out also provided her with some feedback on how a total beginner is able, or not able, to make sense of the instructions.
And there it was, the very first basket made by my hands!
The verdict is that I absolutely want to make many, many more baskets in my lifetime. As I suspected, it is satisfying and rewarding to bind up bits of nature and form it into a basket, something to hold the stuff of daily living. This little basket feels lovely to hold, and it’s adding another natural element to my bedroom.
I did it, guys! If you’ve been wanting to make a basket, I highly recommend going ahead and trying it. If you’re feeling bold you can learn online and source your own materials, or you can purchase a kit like I did!
Have you ever made a basket before? Comment below and tell me what you remember about it — the process, or the type and material of basket. I’d really love to hear!
Shop Basket Kits:
The kit I used: Coiled Basket Kit for Beginners – Pine Needle (if you purchase this one and get confused, feel free to send me a message or voicemail over on instagram and i’ll likely get back to you right away!)
Similar but larger, more lovely and more advanced: Coiled Basket Kit – Pine Needle
When I get WAY better: Basket Kit, 10″ Cottage Basket
And another: Katelyn’s Shaker Basket
Resources and More Inspiration:
One of the first videos I saw of someone making a pine needle basket. She shows you how to forage for your own pine needles, as well — a very lovely video.
Tutorial videos for the exact basket I made. This is a playlist, scroll until you see the start of the videos of the beginner pine needle basket. PS: I suspect she may be adding more videos for this kit, as well.
Here’s a video of a dude making a basket out of blackberry bramble. As he said, it may not win any beauty contests, but it does the job. I’ve got to try this! Definitely not while wearing a dress, as I briefly mentioned in my previous post.