Basket case

Basket case

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The harbingers of doom were muttering all day. Having no weather events of the magnitude of those happening in Chicago to report, they settled on an hour by hour forecast and we chose to close the doors and keep a watching brief. I looked at my phone and mused on the “Orange Snow/Ice warning”. I think that could have been phrased better?


I had no plans to go anywhere, so opened up the pack of cane/reed that’s been sitting on my worktop since I brought it home from our road trip and put the contents in bowl of water to soak whilst I went to monitor conditions outside.

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I thought it would be fun to take the same picture at hourly intervals throughout the day, so I set an alarm on my phone and put down whatever it was I was doing when it peeped at me, to run and take a picture. This was at 11am.


I had a false start on the base of the basket, reading the phrase “If the centre circle is well shaped, the basket will be well shaped”. Hmm. Better try harder next time then! It’s still not 100% but since I haven’t made a basket since I was in primary school, I forgave myself and had another go. I think, however, that the suggested age of 8+ for this is possibly a little optimistic - an extra pair of hands would have come in useful. Eventually, I tied the eight “spokes” together with a strong thread so that I could establish the weaving. It was easy to cut it out later and made sure that I got the “well shaped centre circle” as regular as I could.


Once I’d turned the corner and was weaving vertically, all was fine, although I was conscious of maintaining a good tension to keep the sides straight.

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I stopped for some lunch - my hero had put some fish fingers in the oven and with a loaf of fresh bread, what’s not to love about that!? I took my 1pm photo whilst there -it had clouded over but otherwise, nothing sinister on the horizon.


My basket had been soaking whilst we were having lunch and completing the next stage was fairly tricky - I followed instructions to the letter, adding the stripe into the weave, finishing the top and adding the band.


A wide piece of heavier flat reed needed to be placed around the top, to be held in place with clothes pegs whilst a piece of round cane was cut to size and placed on top and “laced” into place with a piece of the weaver reed. “Laces often crack or shred” informed the sheet of instructions - mine certainly did!

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3 o’clock and time for another photograph. It looked much the same to me and I was beginning to wonder if I was wasting my time or if the whole snow show was about to kick off? An hour or two later, a weather update claimed the snow had reached Weston Super Mare - this whole snow business was getting a bit silly, I thought.


It was time to lace the handle in place and I was glad that it came together surprisingly neatly, for I’d imagined that would be a tricky part.


I did what I could to create a flat bottom (rare in these parts!) and left the finished basket to dry. It was time for my 5pm picture.

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The light was going and I was thinking this one could be the last of the day. Still no snow and yet the radio and TV were insistent that we should take care and not go out unless it was absolutely necessary. My Hero’s choir rehearsal was cancelled and so we settled down for an evening at home in front of the TV.

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My basket is finished and just needs a little tidy up with a small pair of scissors and it’s ready for collecting berries. I can pretend I’m a pioneer as I gather them, can’t I? More likely, it will be pored over by groups of trainee craft judges as they evaluate the skills involved and offer their advice about how I could do better next time.


I hope they are as impressed by the pattern as I am!

With a last look outside, we headed upstairs around 11pm, noticing as we went, the first few flakes of snow.


This morning, waking to news of closed schools, interrupted journeys and the weather stories we’d expected yesterday, we opened the curtains to the white world we’d been anticipating all day yesterday. I took a photo around 8.30am and wondered whether I might set my alarm again to record progress?


I decided against that, but took this one around 12 noon and noted that it’s not stopped snowing all morning. A couple of vehicles have made it up our steep lane but their tracks have been covered over by another inch or so of the white stuff.


No basket to be made today but there’s chocolate cake in the oven and the view is awfully pretty.


Maybe time to hunker down for a quiet weekend, then?

February days

February days

Gentle reminders?

Gentle reminders?