In the spirit of turning my problem (excess willow) into its own solution, I decided to have a go at basket making.
I did make a basket once before, about 15 years ago. My main memory is of stripping holly leaves. I have no idea what happened to the basket.
I turned the trusty internet for instructions, and found this, which was far more comprehensive than I was hoping for, but at least gave me an idea of where to start (I never was much good at following instructions).
(If you’re doing it ‘properly’ I believe you let the willow dry, then soak it to make it pliable again. Given I wasn’t using my basket for catching small fish, I decided I could dispense with that step).
M finished basket wasn’t pretty. It was decidedly lumpy, wonky and barely even looked like a basket. The outer bits wouldn’t bend properly (ah – maybe that’s why you soak them) so there’s all manner of strange angles which you’d never see on a professional’s basket.
The best option was the brushing-it-under-the-rug strategy, otherwise known as putting-icing-on-top, or covering-your-basket-with-lavender.
I’ve given my ‘basket’ to a friend, who declared she was very pleased with it, and was going to hand it on the wall (very wise, especially as it doesn’t sit flat on a table). Perhaps it could be the base for a seasonal wreath?
In fact, perhaps I should dispense with the basket idea altogether and make circles that you can thread different things through at different times of the year?