The willow weaving workshop I took part in yesterday was designed to be a learning and experimental session. So what did I learn? Main thing - if you're making a shopping basket, don't make it so big that you can hardly lift it before you've even put your shopping in it! My gently-rounded basket took on a life of its own and ballooned out a lot further than I planned and needed some professional wrestling techniques to wrangle it back in again. I thought I had it pinned down successfully at one stage, with both arms and my left leg, but it had a mind of it's own. After 'three falls or a submission' I gave in! So I am now the proud owner of a basket that would comfortably house a shetland pony.
We were offered so many choices of willow to work with, each with their own particular qualities for weaving. However, I came over all girly and chose ones with nice colours and pretty names.
I loved the colour of the top one in the photograph below (salix nigricans) - it's a rich dark burgundy/black shade. Two of the others I used were Dicky Meadows and Whissender. It was great to know that the willow was all supplied by a local couple, Guy and Jane Lambourne at Wassledine who have such a wonderful website.
I have to confess, though I did really enjoy my willow workshop day, I think I'll be sticking to felting wool for the future - it's so much more biddable and you don't (generally speaking) need to be an octopus to keep it under control!