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This year at Pennsic I took a basketry class to make a market basket. I found that I liked basketry and wanted to do more. I’ve taught two classes so far and am going to teach another. I based the design off of the document above using the same weaving technique and material. I made the basket as a birthday gift. Recently I taught a class, and am planning to teach another in the future!

I made a pack that is more-or-less shaped to fit the back. It took several days of working one to two hours each day to complete, using an over two, under one weave (outside two spokes, inside one). The entire basket took one to two pounds of reed to make. The image’s straps looked uncomfortable so I decided to make straps like a modern backpack. However, these straps are medieval (right medieval image). My dad and I added the straps from spare leather and he added the buckles.

My backpack worn by my Dad,
and on display at the Arts & Sciences Championship.

What I would do differently in the future is bend the spokes outward from the beginning to keep the basket’s shape straighter. The reed towards the top wants to bend in, as making the weave tight and there being nothing to hold the spokes out makes the opening smaller. I found that putting a brick over a paper towel was useful to add weight to help keep down the basket as I weave.

Mary of Harford, of the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn.


The two medieval images are from: (L) b. Ca. 1450, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, d. 1516, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Web Gallery of Art, searchable fine arts image database. Accessed 11 November 2019 (R) Medieval and Renaissance. Leeks. Accessed 12 November 2019.
Tacuinum Sanitatis (BNF Latin 9333), 15th century.