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Introduction to Willow Basket Weaving

8 lessons, 2 hours

A clear and coherent course I’ve created specifically for beginners. The course shows the entire process of making a simple willow basket, from the weaving of the base to the making of the handle. Though I tried make it as simple as possible, parts of this course may still be quite difficult, especially if you are just now beginning from scratch. Make sure to watch my beginners guide before you start weaving this basket.

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Willow Weaving for Beginners - The Base


In this first lesson we will learn the most commonly used technique for weaving round bases, called pairing. This is a very important, rudimentary weave, often taught as the first weave by many basketry teachers. Not only is it the basis for other types and variations of pairing, it is also the basis for all types of waling, which we are going to learn next.

Willow Weaving for Beginners - Adding Uprights


Between the weaving of the base and the weaving the sides, there is the stage of adding uprights (also known as staking up). In this tutorial I will teach you how to add uprights to to your base in a very classic and traditional way. It is important to choose the right willow rods as your stakes, so that they will be easy to insert, and to soak them properly, so that they will not break during this process. 

See the relevant tutorials in my Beginners Guide to make sure you get these things right.

Free Willow Basketry Course for Beginners - The Upsett


The upsett is the part of weaving the lower band using waling. This is a crucial part in the making of the basket, in which we must pay close attention to the shaping process. Both the angle of the basket and the alignment of the stakes are permanently determined in this stage. For complete beginners, this part might be very difficult. If you have access to round reed, it might be a good idea to first learn waling on a simple reed basket with a wooden base. See my Introduction to Waling tutorial to learn waling separately.

Willow Basket Weaving - Free Beginners Course


French randing is a highly efficient technique that covers a lot of space quickly, with minimum use of material. Most of the siding of a basket will usually be woven in this technique. It is a brilliant development of the plain randing weave, which uses multiple weavers at once, to give a clean, uniform look, while, at the same time, eliminating the need of joins.

Basket Weaving for Beginners - Waling Bands (Video)


This type of waling band can be an ideal divider between randing sections, and is also very useful in other situations. Though a classic "starting-from-tip waling band" can be used between sections as well, I have decided to also teach this type of band in this course, as it adds a strong tool to our arsenal, that might be of great use to us.

How to Weave a Willow Basket - Beginners Guide


Now that we've learned basic waling bands and the French randing technique, we have only to continue weaving the basket and practice all of that knowledge. Remember to pay attention to the shaping, and take action to correct any anomalies along the way.

Beginners Basketry Course - Weaving the Border (Video)


The type of border we are going to learn here is called a rod border. This is the most commonly used type of border in willow weaving, as it is strong, simple and quick. To make things as clear as possible, I've chosen to teach a type of three-rod border, which shares a great deal of similarity with the three-rod wale that we used throughout our basket.

Weaving a Basket Handle - Beginners Tutorial


To me, this would be the simplest, most basic form of making a handle from willow. Other types of handles that have a handle bow are virtually the same, except from the way they're finished. Preparing handle weavers in advance is not always necessary, since many times the leftover cuts from making the border may be just right for this job. If they're not, it's not a problem. The handle can also be woven after the basket had dried.

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