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How to Weave a Basket with Yarn: A Step-by-Step Guide

Crafters are always looking to make projects that are practical — something they will find plenty of use for. From clothing and plant hangers to rugs and baskets, there’s plenty that a ball of yarn or two can make that you’ll find useful in your home.


One practical project that’s easy and fun to undertake is yarn basket weaving. It uses strings of yarn wrapped around each other to create a sturdy basket that can hold a range of different household items, from keys to blankets.

Weaving a basket with yarn is a true DIY project that requires time, patience, and attention to detail. But don’t get too intimidated by it. It’s easy to make and yields a useful piece you can give as a gift or place in your home for personal use.

Woven Basket Origin

There’s been a resurgence in the use of woven baskets for home organization and styling. But its origin can be traced back centuries ago. Evidence of its use was found in the Egyptian pyramids, made by people who first discovered how to braid fibers around each other.


Woven baskets were seen throughout history — the crèches used to put babies to sleep, the bags used to carry food and ammo in World War II, and the baskets used by American Indian gatherers.

Because of their practicality, woven baskets have continued to be valuable to the modern homeowner. And crafters have modernized the weaving process to use different materials and achieve new designs.


Materials Needed

To weave a basket with yarn, you’ll need to gather the following materials:


Yarn. You’ll work with this to create your entire project, so feel free to choose any color or design you want.

Scissors to cut the yarn to the required sizes.

Large plastic needle where you’ll string the yarn to help secure it.

Clothesline/ cord/ rope, which you’ll work with your yarn to make the basket sturdier


Preparing the Yarn

There are plenty of types of yarn, but not all of them are suitable for basket weaving. You need one that’s sturdy and durable, preferably made of strong natural fibers like cotton, hemp, or jute. You can also opt for synthetic fibers such as nylon or polypropylene.


When it comes to yarn weight, the thicker, the better. Thin fibers like lace, super fine or fine can be tricky to work with and create a less sturdy basket. Ideally, start with medium-worsted yarn or go thicker, depending on your desired look.

Since this is your project, feel free to choose the yarn colors that you like best, or that go well with your intended application. Neutral colors are versatile but don’t hesitate to use bold colors if that suits your style.


The amount of yarn that you need will depend on how big you want your basket to be. A tabletop basket to hold small items like keys and loose change needs about 2 arms’ length of yarn to start.


If you’re looking to make a bigger woven basket, you’ll need a lot more. But don’t cut a strand that’s too long as this will cause it to tangle as you weave. You can always add more strands as you work.


Before you start, it’s important that you master the right tension and gauge to use when weaving, as these will influence the shape, structure, and durability of your project.


Tension refers to how tight you weave the yarn in the basket. A tension that is too loose will cause the yarn to sag, affecting the basket’s structural integrity. Too tight, on the other hand, and you will distort the basket’s shape.


Gauge is the number of weaves you have per inch. It will play a role in the basket’s density and structure. As you weave, you need to have a consistent gauge to achieve an even and uniform appearance.


Weaving the Basket

Now you’re ready to start weaving! The first step is creating the base or bottom of the basket.


Base

Image from createtwithjenn


1. Take your cord and yarn strand. Line them up together and hold the tip.

2. Wrap the yarn to the cord an inch from the tip and then bend the ends to secure them together.

3. Take your needle and string it to the yarn. Hold the cord using your other hand.

4. Insert your needle from the bottom in between the two cords, then pull it through.

5. Continue wrapping the yarn around the cord, creating a circle as you go. When to stop will depend on your intended design and size. 7 to 10 wraps are a good baseline for a small basket.

6. Once completed, insert the needle from the bottom again to secure the cord.


Sides

Image from createtwithjenn


When you’re happy with your base, you can begin weaving the sides of your basket. To do that, follow these steps:


1. Wrap the yarn around the cord, as you did with the base.

2. When you’re ready to secure the cord, insert the needle through the top of the base and secure it.

3. Continue wrapping and securing until you reach your desired basket height.


Depending on the design you’re going for, you can add other design elements to your basket. Weave beads through the yarn as you go, or cut off your initial yarn and start with another color in between rounds. To make it easier to add color, you can choose to work with variegated yarn.


You can also add a handle to your basket, which can be as simple as stitching one on opposite ends of your basket’s sides. You can use yarn wrapped around a thicker cord for this or purchase leather or felt handles from a craft store. Make this project your own and add your personal style to it!


Finishing the Basket

When you’re happy with how your basket looks, you can finish it off by cutting the cord and wrapping the yarn around it five times. Insert the needle into the last coil of your basket to secure the ends. Cut off the remaining yarn to create a clean and polished look.


Variations on Yarn Basket Weaving

There is plenty of room to be creative when weaving a basket with yarn. The easiest way to enhance the appearance of your basket and add your own personal style is to play around with color combinations.


While monochromatic looks are subtle and versatile, you can also add a bit of contrast by pairing complementary colors like purple and yellow or blue and orange and laying them out in stripes or other patterns. You can also transition from one color to another more gradually, creating an ombre effect from light to dark or dark to light.


There are a ton of basket types that you can weave with yarn. You can crochet your own basket by working stitches in the round or knitting one in different panels and seaming them together. Macrame baskets are also doable, using different knotting techniques to achieve a sturdy and intricate basket design.


Tips and Tricks for Successful Yarn Basket Weaving

While you’re weaving your basket, make sure to observe the right tension and gauge. Pull the yarn tightly as you weave so your basket doesn’t end up loose and saggy — but not too tight that the shape gets distorted. You should also be paying attention to the number of weaves you have per inch so your gauge is even throughout.


Maintaining the proper tension and gauge will help you prevent common issues like twisting or curling edges, misshapen or lopsided sides, or even yarn breakage.


Weaving a basket with yarn is easy, although it does require your time, patience, and attention. Focus on the details as you go to achieve a good outcome. And if you’re just starting out, we recommend that you start with a small basket before taking on a larger project.


Practice makes perfect in yarn basket weaving. Don’t be afraid to take the challenge head-on, experimenting with different fibers, yarn types, colors, and techniques until you find the right ones that work for you.


Conclusion

Yarn basket weaving is a fun past-time that will not only improve your crafting skills but also create a sturdy and practical project that will prove to be useful for gifts or personal use. Now go and grab your materials and try your hand at weaving your own yarn basket at home.