A basket case

Over at Postcard from Nantucket a couple of days a go, kjwinston told us about a visit to Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum

It brought back memories of my one and only attempt at basket weaving. It involved long strands of cane, buckets of water, old towels and newspapers on the floor to catch the drips. In other words, my hands were wet all the time we worked.ย The long strands of basket cane needed to be soaked to make them pliable, otherwise they would crack and not work.

Wet hands are not good for my bad circulation, they go cold and my fingers stiffen up. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But, once started, the stubborn Annie in me would not let it get the better of me and I was determined to continue. Before you ask, wearing rubber gloves is no help, sure just walking past the freezer…. Brrr!, my hands go blue.

Our inspiration was based on a Gondola basket. Anyone remember them?

gondola basket

gondola basket

We just made the base shape with the curved handle and made a fabric bag to fill the space. I used a Bawneen tweed (think winter white) and worked a Celtic pattern on each side. I lined the bag in emerald green taffeta. The pattern was worked in a different colour way on each side. The upper edges had a channel of elastic and the snap fastener was added for closure.

I searched through all the old albums of photographs (not scanned on to disc) but only one rather blurry photo survives. The basket was worn into the ground long ago.

Rather blurred image of my basket with Celtic pattern detail

Rather blurred image of my basket with Celtic pattern detail

Detail is not clear in the photo, but it will give you the idea!

Close up of blurry basket!

Close up of blurry basket!

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19 thoughts on “A basket case

  1. What you call a gondola basket we call an egg basket! This is so common here and the best ones are still made in Kashmir! It is also being made in bamboo now.

    • The gondola baskets were very popular when I was a young working girl. The only problem was I would be inclined to carry far too much around with me The version I made served as a handbag in the summer months and the snap closure kept things safely inside.

  2. Nice basket! We’ve had a number of baskets over the years, but it’s nothing either of has tried our hands at. The closest we came to that was one we bought after watching it being made on a St. Thomas seashore in 1996.

    • Mike it was a slow process and the shape was quite awkward to work with. Add to that the fact it needed to be wet to soften the canes for working with. It was a case of been there, done that and got the bag!

  3. Laudable effort, grannymar. I loved playing around with crafts in my teens ~ decoupage, macrame, rug-hooking.

    I also love baskets and have quite a few around the house.

    • I did make a macrame hanging basket as a craft project. I lined it with dark crochet mesh to resemble soil, then made flowers in felt and ivy leaves for dangling! I was rather pleased with it at the time. I made a large rectangular hook rug for the kitchen with Mister Men, I seem to remember it had about ten or twelve of the characters and then I made tapestry stool seat tops to match. The Mister Men were popular in our house thirty plus years ago!

  4. I think many of us have tried our hand at some of these more arcane crafts. I did lots of macreme for years, but never became very fond of basket weaving after I realized how the canes can cut your hands to pieces. i did make a few baskets with twine at Girl Scout camp. I like weaving, and at one time would have liked to have a loom. Good for you having finished a project. Too bad the photo is blurry, I am sure it was very pretty. Dianne

    • Dianne, I think I tried every needlework technique the correct way to learn the rules then experimented by breaking the rules. That was the real fun part.

  5. Nice job! I know because I’ve made a couple of baskets myself (in 1997) that I still use today. One about 8inches round is for hot baked goods (muffins, scones, etc.), and the other oblong one with an upright handle in the middle is called a “gathering basket” and I used it just yesterday to gather the strawberries the robins in our garden decided to leave for us humans. I’m proud of what I did but have said many times I’d never make another one! Your design sounds even harder than mine.

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