Hemp has a long history as a material for baskets. Chumash as well as Hopi Indians made use of this versatile fiber to make their baskets as well as items such as rope. You can borrow some of the techniques of these American Indians to make a basket out of hemp twine. Although you will not be preparing the hemp as the Indians did when making their baskets, you will still be continuing a centuries-long tradition.
Things You'll Need:
- Rug Needle
- Roll Of Hemp Twine
Cut three equal lengths of hemp twine. The length is up to you. It could be a yard or up to several yards. The only caveat is that the lengths must be equal.
Line up the ends of the three pieces of hemp twine until they're even. Wraps the ends of the twine together with another piece of twine.
Braid the lengths of twine together. If you would like to add more twine to the length, cut three more pieces and knot the ends of the individual pieces of twine together. Continue braiding, keeping the knot tucked on the bottom of the braid so that it's out of sight. To keep the braid straight and untwisted, you can tie the braided end of the hemp twine to a doorknob or some other fixed object. While you are braiding, keep the twine taut. Wrap the end of the braid with twine.
Thread a carpet needle with twine. Coil the braid into a circle, keeping it flat. Sew the coils together with hemp twine so that they don't come undone. Continue coiling the braid around into a larger and larger circle, rather like a spiral. Keep the circle flat, as this will be the base of your basket. When you achieve the size of the base you like, continue coiling the braid, gently curving it up as you go.
Continue sewing the coils together until you reach the desired height for the basket sides. Tie off the end as you did in Step 3, and cut off the excess twine. Tuck the end of the braid out of sight on the inside of the basket, and sew it in place.
Create a handle for the basket. Use a single braid or braid three braids together, sewing them on the edges to keel them flat. Wrap the ends with twine, and sew the ends into the top inside of the basket.
Marjorie Gilbert is a freelance writer and published author. An avid researcher, Gilbert has created an Empire gown (circa 1795 to 1805) from scratch, including drafting the gown's patterns by hand.