Weaving a Willow Basket

Basket weaving is one of the most profitable income-generating activities since early times. Indigenous peoples have been weaving their own baskets with a variety of intricate designs for centuries, up until the present day. Willow basket weaving is simple and easy and may be finished in within an hour.

The materials needed include willow branches, hand-held garden clippers, grapevine or larger branches, twine of small reed for the handle, and gloves (optional).

Cut the willow into workable lengths. There must be an even number of stiff branches for the pliable vines and ribs for weaving. Cut the ribs according to the desired size of the basket. Then make two circles of thicker grapevine or willow branches and place one inside the other to make a cross on each side.

Gather a few small, flexible shoots or use twine to make the “God’s eye” on each side. Shoot or tie the twine onto one of the spoke ribs. Weave it over from back to front until you have a cross-type pattern on each side. Use the little “pocket” in your God’s eyes to hold the ribs for your basket, which becomes the basket’s skeleton. Weave the smaller willow through the ribs.

Fill in the bottom of your basket by tucking the end of your weaving willow then weave from rim to rim over each rib. Begin on one end and then on the next and work toward the middle of the basket. Tuck the last weaving willow over the rim and under the ribs.