Recently I was sent some free burlap products to try out from BurlapFabric.com. They sent burlap in different colors, bags, strapping and a table runner. I gave some of these items to the women in my surface design group to play with and we will have more examples of using burlap soon.
Here’s a photo of some of the burlap I got. You can see more of their products here. They also sell cheesecloth and broadcloth.
I decided to try out some of the strapping that they sent. I used the smaller 2″ variety in the center of the photo. It took me a while to figure out who I was going to use it and then I was cleaning out my studio and ran across a tutorial on how to weave a basket from brown paper bag strips. Thus the idea for using the strapping along with some beautiful wool yarn that my friend Nanci had given me was born.
So I thought I would show you how I created the basket. I am not a basket maker or a weaver so I was just making it up as I went along. I did use some paper strips to work out how long the burlap strapping needed to be and that I had enough for what I wanted to make. I ended up using 6 pieces of strapping that were 16″ long. I used about one half of the skein of yarn that was originally 90 yards long. The yarn is a hand dyed merino wool yarn.
To start, I wove the burlap strapping together to make the bottom of the basket. I wanted it to be sturdy and wasn’t too sure of my weaving skills so I decided to sew the bottom pieces together on the sewing machine.
I pinned the strips together making sure that there wasn’t any space left between the strapping. Then I sewed around the edge of the woven square. Hopefully, you can see the stitching on the photo on the right. I used cotton thread that was nearly the same color as the strapping so it would just disappear.
Next, I decide to fold in the edge pieces where I would begin weaving so that my basket would have a distinct “right angle” from the bottom to the edge. I ironed along the fold so it would make a sharp edge.
Unfortunately, all the weaving photos I took were all blurry. It was a bit difficult taking photos and weaving at the same time. I did leave a long tail of yarn when I started weaving. I’m not really sure why I did this but it came in really handy. Since I haven’t done any basket making or weaving, it took a bit for me to figure out how to get this to work. I kept fiddling around until I started using the long tail of yarn to wrap around the weaving yarn so that it would be the opposite direction when I went around the basket again. Otherwise, it kept ending up not being the opposite over and under direction when I did the next level of weaving. I’m not sure this is making sense to anyone but me or if it was because I had an odd number of straps or what.
Here is the corner I am talking about. All the other corners are smooth but this is where I used the tail end of the yarn to start the next round of weaving. You can also see in this photo that I folded the top edge of the burlap strap and tucked it under the yarn on the inside of the basket.
Once I had tied off the yarn end and tucked it out of sight, I ironed the top folded edge too. I am sure there is some specific way you are supposed to end your weaving but I just made it up and hoped for the best.
I then put the top edge back under the sewing machine and stitched it down.
Here you can see the stitching at the top of the basket.
And here’s the finished basket. It’s actually very sturdy and I love the yarn. I had been saving it for the right project and it worked very well for this basket. I hope anyone who is a basket maker or weaver will forgive my ignorance in the process 🙂
Thanks to Pearl at BurlapFabric.com for the supplies. It was fun trying out something I don’t normally use! There will be more burlap posts in the future showing what my friends did with their ideas for using burlap in fiber art.