Friday, 17 February 2017

Basket projects

How's this for an inventive use of a basket?  

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This is a really easy look to achieve using the smallmedium and large unlined baskets, or even the lined baskets for an extra touch of luxury. You could even paint them to match your decking.

Send us pictures of your wicker projects!
Thyme and Season


The steps to making your own basket Part 4:



Making a Handle

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    1
    Make the base. Find a thick shoot to use as the base. Bend it over the basket, holding the ends in place, to find out how high you want the handle to be. Cut it to size, leaving several inches of extra length on each side. Sharpen the ends into points and insert them into the basket next to two stakes directly opposite each other.
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    2
    Insert five thin shoots into the weave alongside the handle. Sharpen the ends and insert them deep into the weave so that they lay right next to each other.
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    3
    Wrap the handle with the shoots. Gather the shoots and wrap them around the handle like a ribbon until you reach the other end of the handle. Make sure the shoots lie flat right next to each other. Tuck the tips under the top of the woven rim.
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    4
    Insert five thin shoots on the other side of the handle. Working in the other direction, wrap the shoots around the handle to fill the the gaps where it isn't already covered by the first set of shoots. Keep wrapping the handle until you reach the other side, then tuck the ends into the top of the woven rim.
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    5
    Secure the sides of the handle. Insert a thin shoot into the weave alongside one side of the handle. Bend toward the handle and wrap the base of the handle several times to secure the wrapped shoots in place. Keep wrapping tightly until the base of the handle is secure, then pass the end of the shoot under the last wrap and pull it tight, then trim the tip. Secure the other side of the handle the same way.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Time for a bit of cuteness, in a trug !





















Thyme and Season


The steps to making your own basket Part 3:



Weaving the Sides

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    1
    Stake up the basket. Choose 8 long, medium-sized willow shoots to serve as the basket's "stakes." These are the vertical pieces that form the structure of the sides of the basket. Use your knife to sharpen the ends of the stakes into points. Insert a stake alongside each of your spokes, pushing each one down into the weave as close to the center as possible. Bend the stakes upward so that they are pointing toward the sky. Use the hand pruner to trim the spokes back so that they're level with the edge of the weave, then tie the stakes together at their tips to keep them in place.
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    2
    Weave two rows of three rod wale. This weave requires three weavers, which are woven among the stakes to set them in position. Find three long, thin shoots. Sharpen the ends into points. Insert the shoots into the base of the basket on the left side of three consecutive stakes. Now do two rows of the weave as follows:
    • Bend the far left weaver to the right in front of two stakes. Pass it behind the third stake and out to the front.
    • Take the next far left weaver and bend it to the right in front of two stakes. Pass it behind the third stake and out to the front.
    • Continue weaving this way, always starting with the far left weaver, until you have two rows of three rod wale.
    • Untie the stakes at the top.
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    3
    Add weavers to the sides of the basket. Find 8 long, thin shoots. Use your knife to sharpen the ends into points. Insert one weaver into the basket behind a stake. Bend it over the next stake to the left, pass it behind the stake to the left of that one, and pass it back to the front. Now insert a second weaver behind the stake to the right of the starting point of your first weaver and do the same - pass it over the stake to the left, under the stake to the left of that one, and back to the front. Continue adding weavers this way until there is one weaver next to each stake.
    • When you insert the last two weavers, you'll need to lift up the first weavers a bit to make room to add the last weavers underneath. Use an awl or a long nail.
    • This type of weaving is called French Randing. It's a popular weave that results in even, upright sides.
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    4
    Weave the sides. Take a weaver and pass it in front of the stake to the left, then behind the stake to the left of that, and bring the end out to the front. Take the next weaver to the right of the starting weaver and pass it in front of the stake to the left, then behind the stake to the left of that, and bring the end out to the front. Continue weaving this way around the whole basket, always starting with the next weaver to the right.
    • When you get back to the start, you'll see that there are two weavers behind the last two stakes. Both weavers need to be woven around the stakes. Do the bottom weaver first, then do the top weaver. For the last stake, do the bottom weaver first, then the top weaver.
    • Continue randing until you've built up the sides as high as you'd like them to go, then trim the tips of the weavers.
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    5
    Secure the weave with a row of three rod wale. Find three long, thin shoots. Sharpen the ends into points. Insert the shoots on the left side of three consecutive stakes. Now do one row of waling as follows:
    • Bend the far left weaver to the right in front of two stakes. Pass it behind the third stake and out to the front.
    • Take the next far left weaver and bend it to the right in front of two stakes. Pass it behind the third stake and out to the front.
    • Continue weaving this way, always starting with the far left weaver, until you have a row of three rod wale.
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    6
    Finish the rim. Bend one of the stakes to the right and pass it behind the first two stakes. Pass it in front of the third and fourth stakes. Pass it behind the fifth stake, then pass it back to the front. Repeat with the next stake to the right of your starting stake.
    • The last two stakes won't have other stakes to weave around, since they'll all be woven into the rim. Instead of weaving around stakes, follow the same pattern but thread the tip in and out of the border.
    • Cut the tips of the woven stakes even with the side of the basket.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Thyme and Season 

Steps to making your own basket

 Part 2
 
Weaving the Base

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    1
    Insert two weavers. Now it's time to actually start weaving your basket! Find two long, thin shoots of similar length. Insert the ends of the shoots into the left edge of the horizontal slit in your slath, so that the small shoots extend outward next to one of the spokes. These two thinner shoots are called "weavers." Weavers are woven around the spokes to create the basket shape.
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    2
    Do a pairing weave to secure the slath. "Pairing" is a type of weaving that uses two weavers, creating a secure base for your basket. Separate the weavers and bend them to the right over the adjacent spoke. Place one weaver over the spoke and one weaver under the spoke and gather them on the right side of the spoke. Now bring the bottom weaver up over the next spoke on the slath, and bring the top weaver under the spoke. Turn the slath and keep weaving, bringing the weaver that is now the bottom weaver over the next spoke, and the top weaver under the spoke. Keep pairing around the 4 spokes until you've created 2 rows.
    • Make sure each twist in the weave goes in the same direction.
    • Weave tightly so that the rows lie snugly next to each other.
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    3
    Separate the spokes. The third time around, it's time to separate the individual spokes to form the round shape of you basket bottom. Now, instead of pairing around the grouped spokes, separate them and pair around each one individually using the exact same weaving method.
    • It might help to first bend each spoke outward so that they fan out like bicycle spokes. Ensure each spoke is separated by the same amount of space before you start weaving.
    • Continue pairing around the spokes until the basket base has reached the diameter you want.
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    4
    Add new weavers when necessary. When you run out of length and need to add a new weaver, select one as close as possible to the side of the old weaver. Use a knife to create a pointed tip on the new weaver. Insert it between the weave of the last two rows and bend it to follow the path of the old weaver. Make sure it's securely in place, then use the hand pruner to trim off the end of the old weaver. Continue weaving using the new weaver.
    • Don't replace more than one weaver at a time. Replacing two or more weavers in the same place could create a weak spot in the basket.

Thyme and Season


The steps to making your own basket Part 1:

For thousands of years people have woven baskets using the natural materials available to them, like willow shoots and reedy grasses. Basket-weaving today is both a practical skill and a serious art form. If you follow the steps outlined here for making a wicker basket, the result will be a basket functional enough to use around your home and beautiful enough to put on display. See Step 1 to get started.

Part 1
 
Preparing the Shoots

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    1
    Get a bundle of willow shoots. Baskets can be made with any type of pliable reed, grass, vine or branch, but willow is a popular choice because it creates such a sturdy basket when it dries. You can cut your own willow or buy dried willow shoots from a craft store.[1]
    • You'll need a great big bundle of thick, medium and thin shoots for the different parts of the basket. Make sure you have plenty of long, thin shoots - the longer the better, so you don't have to add new ones as often.
    • If you cut your own willow shoots, you'll need to dry them before you use them. Willow shoots shrink when they dry the first time. Lay them out to dry for several weeks before using.
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    2
    Rehydrate the willow shoots. In order to use willow shoots to weave, you'll need to rehydrate them to make them pliable. Soak the shoots in water for a few days, until they will easily bend without breaking.
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    3
    Cut the base shoots. Choose several thick shoots that will serve as the basket's base. Use a hand pruner to cut 8 pieces of willow of equal lengths. The size of your base willow pieces will determine the circumference of your basket's bottom.
    • For a small basket, cut each length to 30 centimeter (11.8 in).
    • For a medium basket, cut each length to 60 centimeter (23.6 in).
    • For a large basket, cut each length to 90 centimeter (35.4 in).
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    4
    Slit the centers of 4 of the pieces. Start by laying one piece in front of you on your work surface. Use a very sharp knife to make a 5 centimeter (2.0 in) vertical slit in the center of the willow piece. Do the same with three more of the base pieces, so that you have 4 pieces with slits in the middle.
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    5
    Construct the slath. This is the foundation of the basket base. Line up the 4 slitted pieces so that the slits are adjacent. Thread the 4 remaining pieces through the slits so that they lie flat and are perpendicular to the slitted pieces. You now have a cross shape composed of the 4 slitted pieces threaded through with the other 4 base pieces. This is called a slath. Each limb of the slath is called a spoke.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017



The biggest linen basket in the world at Thyme and Season  -  62 cms tall x 70cms wide  !!!!

Great family basket. Really tough woven rattan and a washable liner.


Monday, 13 February 2017

Thyme and Season are pleased to say our ever popular oval, antique log basket will be back in stock mid March



We specialise in creating imaginative and original baskets for storage for the home or for retail display. Our stock holding, product quality and service levels for supply of kitchen drawer baskets, bathroom and bedroom storage, product display or even as log and kindling basket is without comparison.

Traditional Basket Making

Today I came across an amazing glossary of tools and techniques used in basket making.
We often use some of these terms without realising their origin, and appear in the Thyme and Season shop site

Well worth a read over a cup of tea !


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HERITAGE OF BASKETMAKING
TOOLS USED IN WILLOW BASKETMAKING
Bodkin/awl/fid
A bodkin is essential when basketmaking. It is useful to have several in several sizes and diameters. A good general purpose bodkin has a metal spike that is around 5” long and that tapers gently towards the tip and a wooden handle. (When buying the size usually applies to the length of the metal spike). Larger bodkins are used when inserting handle bows in the sides of the basket. A fine bodin is good for small work.
An awl is usually all metal and does the same job.
Sometimes you need to rap down on the wooden end of the bodkin when working so it should be strong enough to take this treatment.
A selection of bodkins of different sizes.
A fid is a tool used in rope and sail making. It can be a useful tool for basketmaking because it has a hollow side that allows you to thread a willow rod through without taking the bark or skin off the willow.

A shell bodkin performs the same task, this tool is commonly used when seating a chair with cane.
Shell bodkin
Brake
This tool is used when stripping the bark from the willow rod to produce white willow. There are several designs, two pieces of metal are sprung together so that the rod can be pulled through. It is held firmly in a post in the ground. Stripping may also be done by a machine but in the past women and children did the white willow stripping rod by rod and this always took place in the spring when the sap was rising using rods that had been overwintered in shallow ‘pits’ of water to keep them alive.
Bake for peeling willow by hand for white rods. This would be clamped to a sturdy post and the rod pulled through the sprung metal bars
Formers
Generally made from wood, these are used as aids for shaping. They range from simple hoops that can be attached or put around the uprights to keep them in position to moulds that help to form complex shapes. A thick willow rod may be formed into an oval around a shape cut out of ply or a lobster pot may have the ‘mouth’ made by inserting rods into a thick wooden post.
Greasehorn
This was usually a cow’s horn filled with a mixture of tallow (animal fat) and horsehair. The bodkin was inserted in this before using it and the tallow made sure that the bodkin was ‘greased’ which helped when inserting stakes into a base or a bow for a handle.

Hammers
A small woodworker’s hammer is used to tap in small pins to secure the weave on a lid or when there is a post with a discontinuous weave for example on the gap of a dog basket.
In square work a hammer is used to knock the side stakes into the thick outer sticks of the base. For this a hammer weighing at least  2lbs with a leather head is most suitable.

Knives
A shop knife was usual in the workshops. A suitable knife for basketry could have a straight or curved blade. Straight bladed knives were more common in England, curved ones in France.
When choosing a knife suitable for basketry, it should be strong and fit the hand comfortably. An Opinel knife found in most good hardware stores is suitable, always remember to lock the blade so that it can’t fold up on your hand. Knives should always be sharp in order to cut safely,  a whetstone or diamond sharpener is essential.

Picking knife
This knife with a curved or outward facing blade was used for ‘picking off’ or trimming any unwanted ends of willow once the basket was finished. It needed skill to press down and only cut the rod that was to be discarded without cutting through the weave. Today shears or secateurs are generally used instead for this job.

Plank and lapboard
Sitting ‘on the plank’ is the traditional way of working. The plank is a long board, a general measurement would be 6’ long x 2.6” wide. It sits a little above ground level. The basketmaker sits at one end of the plank on a thick cushion with legs outstretched and the ‘lapboard’ on which the basket is woven is held on his thighs at one end, at the other it sits on the plank. In this way the willow rods are to hand, on the left hand side, and the tools are on the left. The underfoot bases of the baskets were also made ‘on the plank’ with the maker standing on them.
Colin Manthorpe sitting on the plank making a herring cran at the 2003 Basketry and Beyond Basket Fair and Water Gala. The lapboard is raised up on a wooden box.
Today basketmakers often choose to have a bench or an arrangement that allows for a variation of heights at which to work because working on the plank is very hard on the back.
The ‘lapboard’ is a smaller board (sizes vary) with an extra piece of wood at one end so that it sits higher at the front than the back and sloping towards the end of the plank when the basketmaker has it in position. It may have a series of holes drilled down the centre where the basket can be pinned down using a bodkin. The basket is held on the lapboard so that the maker is looking at the sides and not down on the top.
Rapping irons
These tools are used to compact the layers of weaving by beating them down. A useful weight for a metal rapping iron is between 1 ½ – 2 lbs. Heavier irons are used for larger work, for example, balloon baskets. Some have a ring at one end that is used to straighten uneven sticks. A commander is a special tool used to straighten large sticks by putting pressure on any unwanted bends or curves using the dog leg end.
A wooden rapping iron is useful when working with brown willow as it does not damage the bark. It needs to be made of a dense wood, box or fruit wood and sometimes wooden rappers have metal bars inserted in them to make them heavier.
A selection of rapping irons of different designs and weights; a very fine one at the back useful for fitching, a wooden one in the centre, the tool at the front is a commander
Shaving horse
This is a specialised piece of equipment used for green woodwork but is also very useful for shaving down thick split willow pieces for use in basketry, for example as runners on the bottoms of baskets. The ‘horse’ or ‘mare’ is wooden, three legged and has a bar that is held down by pushing forward with the feet to grip the splint being shaved.  A drawknife is used for doing the shaving.
The shavehorse with a drawknife
Shears or secateurs
These are used for cutting or trimming the willow rods. The blades should be of the ‘bypass’ not ‘anvil’ design in order to make a clean cut. A narrow blade at the tip is useful so that the cuts can be made close to the work.

Skeining tools and cleaves for larger split work
A set of skeining tools were used when making ‘skeins’; thin ribbon like pieces of willow for lapping handles or when doing very fine work.
Cleave: This was a tool, generally wooden, used for splitting willow into three or four down the length of the rod.
Shave: A tool for shaving the pith from the back of the skein, generally an adjustable blade held horizontally in a metal or wooden framework.
Upright: Two blades at an angle, held vertically in a metal or wooden framework, the skein was pulled through them to take off the edges and ensure an even width.
Two wooden cleaves, on the left a large three-way cleave for splitting large sticks, on the right a small three-way cleave used for smaller rods
Soaking tank
Dry willow needs to be soaked in water to make it pliable enough to work. A galvanised tank such as those used in fields for providing water to cattle is used. 8’ is a good length. A tap or plug needs to be put in at one end so that it can be drained and cleaned easily. To hold the soaking willow under the water pieces of wood exactly the width of the tank that will fit under the rim should be cut, or the willow may be held down by a piece of galvanised wire attached at each end to a brick or weight.

Weights
A selection of weights of between 2 – 7 or more pounds is useful. They are used to hold the work down on the lapboard when working. If the weight has a hole in the centre the work may be pinned to the board with a thin bodkin, still allowing it to be rotated.
A selection of weights


Madeleine