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Starting Your Pine Needle Basket

Soak needles in warm water for at least 20 minutes or until they can be looped into a circle without breaking. Remove the sheaths from the ends of the needle bundles with your thumbnail. Tie the end of the raffia around the circle as illustrated in figure 1. Thread the #18 tapestry needle onto the raffia. Going through the front of the loop, make several tight loops around the circle as illustrated. On the last loop through the circle of pine needles, secure the loops by passing the needle through the loop of raffia as illustrated. Cut off the end of the raffia that does not go through the needle. 
Working from the front of the loop, make 2-3 loops through and around the circle of pine needles. Always put the needle in from the front of the loop. This will be very important when working a design on the basket. 
Every two or three wraps, put the needle through the raffia as shown in #3. This will secure the wraps if you let go
Pull the long ends of the pine needles until the pine needle loop has a tiny hole in the middle. Figures 4 and 5. 
Carefully cut off the ends sticking out to the right. If the loops in step 1. were tied securely, the loop will not come apart. 
Wrap more loops over the cut ends. 
Start the next row by stiching through the original first loop on the lower row. Put the needle in the top one-third of the row below, with the stitches placed so that the pine needles are still completely covered. One stich into each stich on the row below usually works. Keep the stiches a constant distance apart. 

Copyright © 1997 Marian Gee

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