Tabara N’Diaye is the founder of La Basketry and the author of ‘Baskets’, which has been translated into multiple languages. This year she also launched La Basketry Kits, offering everyone from beginners to experienced crafters the chance to learn how to weave. Here are her top five tips for budding basket weavers!

Baskets: Projects, techniques and inspirational designs for your home

Baskets: Projects, techniques and inspirational designs for your home

Tip 1: Start with a small project

Your first basket-weaving project should not be a basket. I repeat: Your first basket-weaving project should NOT be a basket! It’s very tempting to want to start with a basket but beginning with a simpler project will help you familiarise yourself with the tools, supplies and the technique you have chosen. A project like a coiled coaster, for example, is a perfect introduction to weaving as once you have mastered it, it can be adapted into a basket in a very simple way.

Tip 2: Choose good quality materials

Good or bad materials will make or break your relationship with basket-weaving, so spend a little bit of time looking into high quality supplies at your local haberdashery shop. Garden centres are also a great alternative if you decide to weave with grasses or another natural fibres.

Keeping 1m tall bundles of willow around the house is not ideal. but there’s actually an abundance of materials and techniques that can be used to make baskets - did you know you can use the likes of yarns, newspapers or even plastic bags?

Weaving baskets with soft rolls of twine is one of my preferred techniques as your project will easily fit into a tote bag. You just need to add in a pair of scissors and a needle and you’re all set for a long train journey!

Tip 3: Embrace mindfulness

Basketry (like many other crafts) is focused on repetitive steps and before you know it, you will enter what we call a “flow” state - forgetting about your to-do list and your phone – where the mind embraces the present moment. Just don’t blame me if you become addicted to the feeling of being in a flow state!

Tip 4: Join a Class

As much as it is great to learn with books, it’s also a great idea to join a class and picking up some additional tips as you take on this new craft. Many teachers, myself included, have pivoted our businesses this year and run Zoom workshops quite regularly – I run mine 2-3 times a month. Or, if you’re ready to take on the next challenge, why not even look at a more intermediate course on platforms such as Skillshare or Teachable?

Tip 5: Practice makes perfect

Be kind to yourself and be patient as, like with most things, your skills will improve day by day. Basket-weaving is a slow craft – there’s no shortcut, it could take you an hour to make a coaster or half a day to make a bread-basket for the dining table. But if you choose to focus on loving the process rather than just the results, you’ll be building a hobby that will provide joy throughout your life.

How to get started:

‘Baskets’, by Tabara N’Diaye, is the perfect introduction to weaving. This 144 page book is full of beautiful lifestyle photography and clear instructions to demystify the art for makers at all levels. There are 15 projects in the book, helping the reader make stunning creations including a gorgeous woven lampshade, picnic basket, tableware, laundry basket and more.

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