Saturday, 27 April 2013

Chicken 'n' a Basket.

Today I have started to make something completely new to me. Bloke bought me a basket weaving course for my 40th Birthday in January. I have been looking forward to it for sometime - not just the making element but the weekend to be entirely with my own thoughts and not alongside the chaos of the little ones, which is lovely but exhausting.

I am going to Acton Scott historic farm which we have visited many times before and was the setting for the BBC TV series Victorian Farm. My farming family and ancestors are from this area of Shropshire so I like visiting this area very much.

We started with these bundles of willow, this variety is for basket making which comes from Somerset.

Jenny, the course tutor asked us to sort a big bundle into three size groups but at first they all looked the same to me. She has such a feel and eye for the materials which gave her such integrity. However, I eventually got my eye in when I had finished a whole bundle. Would a non-knitter see the difference in yarn thickness like us yarnies can?

Next we had to get to grips with the tools. This knife was so sharp, in fact I was the only person not to cut myself. We had lots of practise pieces to try and cut, skin and shape.

Now we added uprights to the base circle and started to weave the base. Again, constantly selecting the best thickness of stick.

We had to add extra uprights to give the basket strength and continue to cover the base area.

The hardest job of all was to make 'scalliums' (not spelt correctly but that is a phonetic attempt) by tapering the end of the sticks, we had to make 40! My hand was aching so badly I kept cutting them off too soon. There was a subtly to the cut which needed a thinner area just after the cut to enable the stick to bend around the basket ring base. 

I really needed a cup of tea and a little hand rest.

Jenny showed us how to attach the uprights and we were off again.

So after day 1 I had this, an aching hand and an enormous sense of achievement. I drove home 45 minutes with another excited breath of anticipation because I knew the girls would be jumping when I got back because look...

Let me introduce you to Poppy, we are hoping she is going to pop out lots of eggs soon.
Her companion is Layla, slightly more obvious name choice and she belongs to Little M.

This is their home built by Bloke, it is really good and we have enjoyed preparing for our new family members. Thanks for reading, I will be posting my finished egg collecting basket tomorrow so tune in or become a follower by clicking the side bar. Jo xxxxxx



  1. Poppy and Layla! Lovely! My grands and I just collected some eggs for a friend who was away from her little flock overnight...a very exciting adventure with the reward of beautiful and yummy eggs! Hope you have such good results with your hens :-)

  2. oh how exciting - keeping hens is the most rewarding experience. good luck - you'll love it!!!