I just discovered these Scandinavian ‘paper’ baskets whilst re-reading an Astrid Lindgren book of Christmas stories … Yes, there I go again with the Danish/Swedish influences, but my mum really likes Scandinavia, so a lot of my Christmas memories are quite Scandi-heavy, alright?
These are really easily made out of two different colours of paper (red and white is traditional, but you can do what you like) woven together to form a heart-shaped basket decoration. But there is of course no reason why you couldn’t make these out of felt or (non-fraying) fabric! Quilted strips would be perfect; these are used in the latest issue of The Quilter (another lovely weaving project).
I’ve used felt in my example; you do need something a little stiff and strong to be able to make the basket.
I used two strips of 7cm by 21cm each in red and green. It is important for the proportions that the strip is 3 times as long as it is wide, so you can change the dimensions, as long as you stick to this rule.
Now fold your strips in half. You need something round, like a glass or a tin. Put this at the ‘open’ end of your folded open strips and use a fabric marker or pencil to mark a rounded ‘end’ on your strips.
Holding the folded ends together, cut along your marked line. You will end up with something that, if folded open, looks like a festive sanitary pad!
Repeat the procedure for your other strip. Note I now randomly change colours in my pictures, don’t let this confuse you!
You will now need to decide how many strips you want to weave with. To begin with, it’s probably better to have three or four strips. For three strips, you will need to make two evenly spaced incisions, and for four strips, three. The easiest way to do this, is to subdivide the width of your strip by the number of strips you want (turns out 7cm is a bit of an awkward width, but hey). Mark your strips on the fabric and then cut them open using a rotary cutter or simply fabric scissors. Note: your cut should start at the folded end and not go all the way to the top!
In order to work out how long your cut lines should be, place the two strips on top of each other to make a heart shape as shown above (why is it upside down? Who knows). Your cut lines should just peep out above the place where the two colours meet.
Let the weaving commence! This is quite hard to explain in words, so you may want to study the pictures first!
The first strip of the green passes through the middle of the first red strip. First green then passes around the outside of second red – or to put it another way, second red passes through the middle of first green; then through the middle of third red, and ending up around the outside of fourth red (fourth red passing through the middle of first green).
Now it’s the turn of second green strip. Shuffle the red strip forward a little. Second green strip passes around the outside of first red, through the middle of second red, around the outside of third red, and finishes through the middle of fourth red.
By now, you have probably figured out how to do it, but if not, just repeat the instructions from above. It gets a little fiddly, but just work patiently until all the strips are woven!
Congratulations, you have created a heart-shaped basket! You could fill it with sweets or other small goodies. Attach a loop (from leftover felt) and hang it in your tree. You could embellish it with buttons or bows to make it EVEN MORE festive!