January is flying by and there is no sign of the winter blues here. There is so much to be done and our new home gives me so much inspiration for making!

My very first basket of the year, was one that I made just for myself. I found some old baling twine in one of our barns and it was just crying out to be made into a basket. Although it must have been there a long time, it still looked and smelled as fresh as the day it was made.

That’s one of the things that I love about baskets – not only do they have practical uses, but they are also a pleasure for your senses. Take the time to hold a basket, feel the textures of the weave and then smell it. Each natural weaving material, has its own smell and a connection to the plant that it came from, or the season when it was gathered. Oh and of course it’s a treat for the eyes!

I decide to make a simple twined basket with this baling twine, that was so connected to our home’s history.

My skills at this kind of basketry don’t match my skills at coil basketry, but I really enjoy it and want to spend a lot more time working in this way, this year.

A simple little basket it might be, but it looks so at home our old farmhouse.


After indulging myself with the baler twine basket, I got to work on my first commission of the year.

This basket was filled with emotion for me, as it used the very last of the raffia that I dyed with fuchsia, from our old garden. The wonderful fuchsia hedge there, brought so much pleasure through the summer months, absolutely bursting with blooms and bees.

I shall miss it this year, but I have plans to start a new fuchsia hedge, at our new home. I certainly won’t be able to get any dye from it this year though, so this basket was a celebration of the beautiful green, that this plant gave me.

I decided to pair it with two different, soft yellows, the first from plantain stems and the second (with a hints of green and pink), from poinsettia leaves.


The poinsettia dye didn’t quite turn out as I had hoped, but proved to be just right for this particular basket.

I had hoped to create a red dye for my diminishing stocks, but I only had one plant with a dozen red leaves. I would certainly try again with poinsettia at some point in the future, but for now I am concentrating on making a variety of colours to keep me going until spring. I have a pot of sycamore dye on the go at the moment.

I have hoped for some time, to edge away from raffia, in favour of plants that I can grow on my own land. Moving house has obviously slowed up this transition, but I am keen to get it back on track, as soon as possible.

I have spent the past couple of weeks, researching plants to establish in my craft garden, with the intention of using them for basketry.

If I manage to achieve that goal this year, then I will be very happy!