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Key Basket

December 13, 2010

The reference book I use, Splint Woven Basketry, explains that in the past, not only was a separate key needed for every house door, cabinet, and shed– the keys were also huge. Therefore people hung baskets around the house for the express purpose of keeping keys. This is the basket I chose to undertake today!

It is a ribbed basket, so it varies in style from the ones you have seen on this blog before. Instead of starting with a round or square bottom, the basketmaker must create a frame, and then set ribs into the frame.


The exact style of the frame will vary with different types of ribbed baskets. Because this one is made to hang against the wall, it is constructed from one D-ring (flat on the back, then curved all the way around) and one oval-shaped ring which I fashioned out of flat-oval reed. These two pieces are lashed together with a pattern called a god’s eye– you may have made something like it out of yarn and popsicle sticks in kindergarten.


Here is the whole frame with both god’s eyes completed.

completed frame


Next, I cut round reed to the proper length to fit in the frame as ribs. I started out with three in the belly of the basket and four in the back.  You have to start out with a small amount of ribs, so there is room to weave between them near the edges. More are added later as the space between ribs grows.

with ribs


I start a weaver on each side of the basket, near the god’s eye, and work toward the center.

beginning of weaving


The weavers naturally start to fill in the rims faster than they fill in the center of the basket. Therefore, I began to weave in slightly more complicated patterns that focused on the center of the basket without taking up too much room on the rims. This is called “filling in.”

filling in on the back


I tried to keep my filling in symmetrical, especially on the belly which will show when the basket is hung up!filling in on belly


The neat thing about ribbed baskets is they don’t need a rim! They naturally have a finished edge. Here are final shots– it was hard to get a good picture of this one because it didn’t want to stand up straight! It’s destined for a wall.


final-- back


final-- side

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jayme permalink
    December 13, 2010 7:53 pm

    Very cool!! Amazing how complex baskets can be!

  2. Liz permalink
    December 16, 2010 8:57 pm


    and yes, i TOTALLY made a god’s eye once!!… though i am not sure what grade it was…


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