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. 


  1. This is awesome!!! I have yet, until today, found anything about creating baskets with reeds. Thank you! I don't know if you've seen the older version of Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, but there is a willow/reed? bonnet that "Miss Marianne" (Kate Winslet's character) wears while out cutting reeds to make a basket. I have wanted to recreate that bonnet for years!

    Thank you for your instructions. I pinned to my DIY Projects and Crafts and Sewing boards for you and our readers.
    Barb :)

  2. p.s. Stacey, I forgot to say your basket turned out beautifully! Glad you grew so many tomatoes this year. My poor plants haven't produced any, just blooms. :( Bummed!!!

    1. Well, I grew them but didn't get as many as I hoped. We had a month without rain and many of them succumbed to blossom end rot. Bummer. Thank you for your comment about the basket. There are several on this blog for weaving if you are interested. It's easy and fun!

  3. Sorry I am just making my way around! It has been such a busy week and it just began! This my first time stopping by! I really enjoyed my visit! Your basket is simply amazing! Hope you have a blessed week!

  4. What a beautiful basket, Stacey! How wonderful you made it yourself! Your tomato crop sounds very impressive too. Thank you so much for sharing, and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Have a lovely weekend!

  5. I used to weave baskets a number of years ago and made my living by doing juried art shows with them. It's so great to see that basketweaving is still a thing!

  6. Lovely basket. I look for handmade ones when thrifting; my talents lay elsewhere! Miss having a garden; tomato blight and woodchucks hit here 2 years ago! Maybe I'll try again next year!

    1. I have a 20 year war going on with the woodchucks. A couple of years ago one even broke my basement window when he decided to create his house RIGHT NEXT TO MY HOUSE. I swear he did that intentionally! Evil Woodchucks. I totally can relate the the Bill Murray character in Caddyshack!

  7. Oh my gosh this is fabulous. I admire your talent, I know that I couldn't do this:) I'm a huge basket collector/lover and absolutely love this one. We also grow tomatoes each year and we're still getting new ones! Now if only I was a canner....ha I use a woven trug to bring in my fresh vegetables from the garden. hanks so much for sharing at Vintage Charm. Pinned! xo Kathleen

  8. Thanks for sharing your tutorial at the Sew It Cook It Craft It link party! You're one of the features tomorrow when the new party starts! :)

  9. Amazing talent. You made a master piece for your garden gathering.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.