Learn How to Weave a Pine Needle Basket

Learn how to weave a pine needle basket, includes how to prepare needles, adding thread when weaving, forming the basket side walls and basket stitching.

| August/September 1997

Weave a pine needle basket by coiling needles from the forest floor to create a Native American art form. (See the pine needle basket photos and diagrams in the image gallery.)

Patience and pine needles are the main ingredients for this natural and versatile basket. Add handles and slices of black walnut for the center, and you have a basket made from Mother Earth's bounty that will last for generations to come. Pine needle basketry, conceived by Native Americans in Pre-Columbian times, is now a viable part of our American cultural heritage. Employing ancient coiling techniques and long-leaf pine needles, this art form has remained virtually the same for thousands of years. Yet it has evolved into the 21st century, bringing with its connections to our past a contemporary need to preserve our natural resources and appreciate our planet's gifts to mankind. What better way to keep tuned to Mother Nature, than to gather fragrant pine needles from her forest floor and weave a pine needle basket of such natural beauty, purity, and resilience.

The basket shown has 10 coils in the bottom and six coils in the side walls.

A Word About Pine Needles

All pine needles are not created equal! Needles from the long-leaf pine tree are almost always used in basket making. The average length of the long leaf needles is 6 inches to 15 inches. The short-leaf pines produce a needle that may be up to 6 inches long, but these needles are quite skinny. However, if this is what you have available in your "backyard," you may use them; it will only take more time and patience.

Preparing the Needles

Place pine needles in an old baking pan, one long enough to accommodate the length of the needles. Cover with boiling water, and allow to soak for 30 minutes. Pour off water and wrap needles in a towel.

The next step is to remove the caps from the pine needles. Do this by pulling them off with your fingers, or scraping the shaft of each needle with the dull edge of your scissors or butter knife. Try to leave each needle intact, as a whole needle will fill the gauge faster.

4/27/2015 1:26:02 AM

It doesn't show diagram 1 though

4/27/2015 1:22:15 AM

Yes Google Chrome gives an image which expands into 7 images. If anyone is having trouble try a different search engine.

4/27/2015 1:13:29 AM

I can't view the icon you mention at all. It may be Safari on my Mac so I will try Google Chrome.

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