Places to Party

Monday, August 20, 2018

The 2018 Tomato Basket

I need a new garden basket.

             Time to get to weaving....

I put in an inordinate amount of tomatoes every year. This year it was 32 of which I grew most of them. Tomatoes are my main crop that I can and I can them religiously. They are used through the year for chili, bean and pasta soup and just about anything that calls for tomatoes. I love that I know where my food is grown.

Every year, I gather as many Tupperware containers,  pots and pans and anything I can gather to hold all those tomatoes. This year I finally got smart and created my own basket. 

It is big, not as big as I initially had it but it will hold A LOT of tomatoes. 

This also helps to clean out some of this mess below. (I have a second container of reed that is just as full! 

Summer Tomato BasketFinished size: 18 1/2" L x 16" w x 7 1/2" h

1 large D handle 
1/2 flat/flat
#2  or #3 RR
2 pieces 3/8" flat/flat (or use 1/2)
1/2 flat oval for rim
-Assorted left over rr for filler

This was a left over reed basket. Feel free to substitute with whatever reed you may need to use up.
Cut your 1/2" and 3/8" reed as follows:  
10 @ 44 inchesof 1/2 flat/flat
4 @ 44 inches of 3/8" flat/flat
12 @47 inches  of 1/2 flat/flat

 Lay your spokes out on either side of the handle in this configuration:
2 - 1/2" ff 
1- 1/2"ff
2 - 1/2" ff

Soak a piece of #3 or #2 RR (Round reed) until pliable. (Hot water will make this  happen faster). Bend off center so both ends are different lengths. Start two reeds over from the handle and begin twining over and under. Do this for three rows.

Once you have twined the three rows, your base should measure 18 1/2"x 16"w. Use a piece of scrap reed to make sure your base is spaced evenly.

Weave about eight rows. From the bottom up I wove:

1 row of1/2" ff (natural)
4 rows of 3/8" (orange)
1 row of 1/4" ff (blue)
2 rows of 1/2" ff (natural)

On my initial attempt of weaving this basket, I twined at the base but changed my mind. So at this point, I slit one weaver so that this weaver is now considered two weavers so we can do a continuous twill for three rows. Starting behind the 3rd weaver on the 16" side, start by going over two, under two all the way around. When you get to the split weaver, treat it as two different weavers and this will allow you to go to the next row. Do this for three rows.

This gives you the idea. I actually ended up doing this after
8 rows in the finished basket.

Weave three more rows of 1/2" ff (natural). Then twine three more rows of either #2 or #3 rr reed. Cut and tuck. (For a refresher, see here.)

If you find you have lots of hairs, wet your basket and burn off any little hairs. 

Once your basket is dry, you can decide whether you want to stain it or not. If it is an actual work basket as this one is, I highly suggest  you stain it. You want to protect it as best as you can to get as much use of it as you can.

I typically use Min-wax in Golden Oak. Do this outside in an area that you don't mind getting stain on. I start on the inside and finish on the outside of the basket.

To dry, I typically hang it off a shepherds hook outside if I can.