This series is a walk down the memory lane for me (and I assume for most of us). A couple of decades ago, these plastic wire baskets were found in almost every house. When the baskets were replaced by plastic bags, this craft also died. So this tutorial series is my humble effort to preserve a part of our childhood.
Let me first answer a few general questions that folks asked me when I posted the basket tutorials.
What is this wire called?
This wire is usually called swastik cane or cane wire.
Where can I buy cane wire to make baskets?
Since ladies are not weaving these baskets anymore, shops have stopped selling them. So avoid new craft shops and target shops that have been around for a few decades. Strike up a conversation with the old uncle or aunty who owns the shop and they might be able to tell you where to find them.
No luck? You can try contacting the manufacturer directly. I found this information online based on the company name found on the packet.
For those living in Chennai, Raja thread stores @Ranganathan street has them. Here is their Facebook page. (Edit: I contacted Raja thread store and they have this wire. They have left their phone number in the comment section below).
What was very surprising for me was the price of the wire. My biggest basket required two bundles and the total cost of materials was just $2.
An eco-friendly basket that can last for decades and yet it costs just 2 dollars. How about that? 🙂
Note: Paracord can also be used to make these baskets. An example is shown below.
How much wire will I need for a basket?
Check the individual tutorials for this. If you want a bigger or a smaller basket, you will have to adjust the measurements accordingly.
Prep work before starting a basket
This wire will get tangled like crazy. So cut the required number of pieces and then wind the running wire on a wooden ruler / dowel. Or you could simply use a twig. That is what our grandmas did 😀
While making baskets, you will have to unwind them periodically. It will be easier if they are on a stick.
Just dangle the wire and the bundle will spin and unwind.
How long will it take to do these baskets?
That depends on how much time you can spare for this. The easy ones can be done in a day or two. The bigger ones take about a week to two weeks. To avoid getting shoulder or elbow pain, don’t overdo it even if you feel very excited (Speaking this from experience haha). The mind wants what it wants but my shoulder refused to cooperate. Yikes.
I am new to basket weaving. Where should I start?
The easiest knot is the square knot (/ box knot).
The amla knot (nellikai mudichu) is the hardest and it is not for a newbie.
But if you are an adventurous newbie (you go gal!), start with a smaller coin purse with amla knot rather than a big basket. Or you might have one more item in your unfinished projects pile. 😉 Mine is more like a mountain
I have chosen the following projects carefully so that in each tutorial, you will be learning some new technique.
So here we go ….
With these 3 knots, you will be able to make all the woven projects shown in this page.
Two more knots have to be mentioned.
I remember a knot called the Jack fruit knot ( also called jasmine knot / mullai knot in tamil). The knot resembled a pyramid. So it looked like the basket had spikes all over it. I am unable to recollect how to do make that knot. If you remember, please let me know and I will be very grateful.
The name of the knot used in the green color flower vase is wheat knot. It is very simple so I have not made a separate tutorial for that knot. I have shown how to do that it in the flower vase tutorial itself.
Handles for baskets
Coming soon: 2 more handles
Share your creations with us
If you followed any of my tutorials, send photos via email / FB (details can be seen below) I will be very happy to post your creations here.
Nishant Madhan (a student at NIFT, Hyderabad) made this beautiful bag (Star pattern) using paracord.
Beautiful Nishant. Very nice color combination too. Best wishes.
Rhiddhi Shyamala has shared a basket she made. (Checkered pattern – box knot variation)
This is lovely Shyamala. Thanks for sharing the pictures.
It was a pleasure making these tutorials. Please share them with your friends. I would love to hear your comments too. So type away in the comment section below. 🙂