In the fall when pine needles begin to fall I get the itch to stitch....baskets.
I want to make a large basket to enter in the Florida State Fair and thought I'd share the process.
This is how it begins.
I am lucky enough to have access to a private site full of mature, long leaf pine needles.
The smell is delightful! I pick the needles one at a time, making sure they aren't twisted, and put them in bunches. Then I take them home and sit out on the screen porch and begin.
The needles have to be trimmed before they can be used.
I carefully cut the ends off at an angle
and again check to be sure each needle is straight.
These are my piles of trimmed and untrimmed needles.
You can see below that the top needle looks straight and the bottom one looks twisted.
Twisted needles don't look good in a finished basket.
When I have enough needles sorted and trimmed I can begin stitching.
This large agate slice was set in acrylic and then holes were drilled
at 1/4 inch spacing. This is called the basket center. Sometimes I'll use
a sliced walnut, or often a cabochon which is glued to faux leather.
I use waxed thread to then sew coils of pine needles through the holes
and around the center.
It takes a little practice.
The size and design is only limited by time an imagination.
This is going to be a pretty large basket, so hang with me and I'll show you my progress.