May 28, 2013
With the "Asilomar" pattern selected from Linda Hendrickson's book and lots of cords prepared it is time to start making a "basket."
Linda's patterns are complete and easy to follow with lots of photos to help visualize the instructions. I'm not going to try to reproduce all her work here, instead I'd like to share my experience and experimentation.
The pattern calls for cords made from paper and I chose to use cotton yarn which produces a flexible cord instead of a stiff cord. I also wanted a bigger basket and to add handles. Twenty-eight cords were five foot long instead of thirty inches and four cords were nearly 20 feet in length for the handles.
The work on the "bottom" of the basket went quickly and I soon had all 32 cords split in to the basket. Then I started on the sides which was initially hard to keep track of but with practice it was soon progressing if not quickly then smoothly.
I continued the side pattern and increased the number of plys between splits which gives the basket/ bag an open bowl shape and I kept going until my shortest cord was about four inches long.
In the pattern, the rim cord is designed to draw the top in and make a ball shaped basket but I wanted the top to be more open so again I allowed more plys between the splits.
The basket started to take on a new (not flat) shape and became somewhat difficult to manage so I collected two coffee canisters and created a stand for the basket to drape over and making the rim cord easier to split.
With the rim cord finished, I started folding the basket sides back through the rim cord. This "ties-off" the side cords and gives the basket/bag a finished edge.
Now the bag is finished and it is time to start on the handles.
Since each cord was added to the project near its middle there are 8 handle cords and I only want 2 handles which means four connection points so I twisted pairs of handle cords and plied them together.
I guessed a handle length and started splitting the handles together. This also allowed me to tuck the ends through the rim cord completing the fringe edge.
One way to use my new bag is to store fruit in it like one of those hanging baskets but for right now I am going to go show it off.