Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Supplies you need to make Pine Needle Baskets!

I gather all my supplies on a tray to make my work are "mobile". The reason I do this is because I often take this work outdoors to do it on the patio. Natural Light is the best for this kind of handwork. If you can't get bright natural light, make sure you have a nice bright lamp in the house at your work table. Let to right clockwise Bundle of Pine Needles, Basket I am working on with plastic straw on the bundle, sorted gemstone beads, flat jewelry pliers, crawfords linen thread, scissors, plastic bucket for refuse, collections of beads in plastic cases, small wallet with all my needles
Look for Pine Trees, underneath, you will find Pine Needles
Pine Needles collected and washed in Hot Water and Dawn, drying on newspapers on the patio. I put the knife across them so if a gust of wind comes up, they don't blow away.

List of Melissa Abbott's Pine Needle Basket Supplies
1. Crawfords Irish Linen 4 ply Thread
2. Darning Needles
3. Gemstone Beads and large hole Glass Beads
4. Block of Beeswax
5. E-6000 glue
6. Gemstone Cabashons
7. Long Leaf Pine Needles, washed and dried in sun and then dehulled
8. cookie sheets and newspapers to dry the Pine Needles on after washing
9. 1 Quart Glycerin (optional) if you wish to preserve and darken the Pine Nedles by Baking them in Glycerin and Water in the oven at 225 degrees for 3+hours, then rinsing and drying in sun
10. piece of plastic straw to use as a guide. I like the type from MacDonalds but you can use any size you wish. I have experimented with several types and the larger straws are good for a larger basket.
11. Sissors (don't use good ones they are going to get wax on them)
12. Flat Jewelry Pliers
13. Piece of Fabric to wrap your needles in while you work
14. Tray
14. plastic bobbins for wrapping work
Collection of Caboshons Glued to Leather swatches to Use for Pine Needle Basket Starts
left to right: Malachite, Labradorite, Green Turqoise, Amethyst, Jaspar, Lapis Lazuli, Pink and Gold Turquoise,  and Paua Shell
15. Container for refuse or trash. I use a blue plastic pail I bought at the $1 store 
A Typical Looking Tray
 it changes depending on what I am working on

I use Crawford's 4 ply Waxed Irish Linen Thread
Gemstone Beads
Collect Straws at Restaurants and
cut 1+ inch pieces a bundle guides
Adding Beads to a Basket
The Beginning of a Basket 

Crawfords 4 ply Waxed Linen Thread 
and a Container to keep it Organized
Lapis Lazuli Cabashon
glued to a swatch of leather with E-6000 Glue
This is the Glue I use: E-6000
available most Craft Stores and Online at Amazon

I use an old Manicure Wallet
 to keep my Needles organized

There may be better ways to Organize your Pine Needle Basket Supplies and many other ways to coordinate your basket making but this is how it naturally evolved from me and being self taught, I am no expert. So if you have a tip or idea, please comment!

 I am doing this blog because people ask me about how to do Pine Needle Baskets and I am always talking about it. I decided to do a blog outlining what supplies I use. I hope it helps you and your projects. My advice is to be creative and do what interests you and feels good when it comes to working on your baskets. I always say that the baskets create themselves and tell you how to make them and just sort of form themselves. You don't design them, they design you. I admit, I buy supplies I fall in love with like incredible cabochons and beautiful gemstone beads. When you acquire and collect the things you really love, then something magical happens and beautiful baskets get made. There is something about using natural fibers like Pine Needles which are flexible and create a very strong and resilient basket. Using Linen thread waxed with Beeswax and gorgeous gemstone beads is such a pleasure, I have such gratitude for the process in my life and wish to share it with you. The baskets I make are a meditation and collecting the items to do them is also a meditation. You will know if something speaks to you. Follow your Basket Bliss!!

Happy Basket Making,
Melissa Smith Abbott
February 2014
Merritt Island, FL


  1. Wow, just found out you had baskets for sale on Etsy, never knew this. Thanks for the supply list. Look forward to doing this sometime in the future. Was nice to see
    you today at the guild meeting.

  2. Wow, I didn't know you had a blog!! Yes, it was fun seeing you at Seaside Piecemakers today in Melbourne!! Yes, this is the supply list!! We can talk more about what to do with it AQS (after quilt show)!!

  3. Thanks for a beautiful and informative post.
    Your craft is a joy to look at.
    Best wishes for the future.

  4. THANK YOU!!! Your instructions are just what I have been searching for.
    While we were traveling through the south eastern states this past winter, we stopped in Robertsdale, AL. I had the pleasure of meeting an elderly lady who was making pine needle and rafia bowls. After watching her and wistfully mentioning it would be great to some day be able to take a class, she offered to show me the basics. What a great afternoon that was!!
    Since returning home, I have been searching the internet for any books or instructions there might be and happily found your site.
    I am looking forward to trying the linen threads and adding beads to my next venture. Thank you for your beautiful inspirations!!
    Do you know of any instructors in the Calgary, Alberta area?

    Penny Olver, High River, Alberta, Canada

  5. I have have been wanting to do this for absolutely years!! Then this summer a gathered needles, searched the internet for "how to info " found lots and I some of the most useful is yours ! I learned how to do it I'm doing it , I'm hooked! Thanks to you.

  6. I was wondering what size waxed linen thread to use for a bulrush basket. Thanks for sharing type/size, etc. for waxed linen thread.

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