February 7, 2016


Baskets and the Building Fund

When it comes to my writing career, I don't mind making a little bit of money. I've poured in hours and hours and hours of writing time, of critiquing, of slaving over words, of reading about writing, of writing about writing. It's a career, and typically when you work, you get paid for your efforts. It's fair...

But when it comes to my handwork--to knitting, or crocheting, or sewing ridiculous Star Wars-themed napkins, I do it for fun. I do it to relax, to pray, to enter into an activity that both slows my body and stimulates my mind. Same with this new hobby of mine--weaving with pine needles.

(Okay, those photos are mostly about tea. But who doesn't love tea?!!! Notice the trivets and coaster...)

What's fun about the weaving is that not many people do it! So it looks unusual, unique. It's not that hard, really, at least at the level that I'm working, but it's different, and the end products are interesting, useful, earthy...

Many people over these last several months have asked if I might sell the baskets that I'm making. What?!!! No! I'm just a beginner. Selling them seems preposterous. Half of what I make is lopsided! I don't gather the needles from my backyard, soak them, sew them, to earn money. It's about the learning--the journey--doing something new. 

My mom has a friend who is an absolute kick. She is a very accomplished woman, verbose, opinionated, cultured. She travels a lot. Somehow she got a hold of one of my first little baskets, and just thought they were the most amazing things. She said they should be under glass at the Smithsonian. Ha! I made several small baskets and sent them her way around Christmas time, saying all I wanted in return was for my daughter to have lunch with her. Instead I ended up with a $100 bill stuffed into my little orange backpack (plus she hosted my daughter for lunch :)). And she thought that wasn't even enough... 

Well, I've thought this through. I don't want the pressure of selling anything. I want to weave when I feel like weaving. I'd like to experiment, when I feel like experimenting... But it's obvious that there are a few people out there who wouldn't mind having a basket, or a trivet, or a coaster or two made from the pine needles that drip all year long from our massive Canary Island Pine. I'm super happy to share, so here's the deal. 

I am going to start a running list of folks who'd like a pine needle something. Email me at jane@janegmeyer.com. I'll put you on the list, and I'll send you a finished woven something, when and if I make one! No pressure on me. You all are the first to hear, so send in your name. I'll wait and post this to other forums in a day or two, waiting until those of you, who might be interested, have responded...

And in return, once you receive the package, I'd love for you to donate something to our church's building fund. We are raising money to build our church temple (right now we worship out of our fellowship hall), and it'd be pretty cool if some of that money came from the prayerful work I do when I'm weaving pine needles, stich after stich.

In your email, please let me know these things:

  • What kind of pine needle thingy you'd like? (Teeny basket, next-to-teeny basket, small basket, etc. Maybe approximate the size. Or, a coaster, or two coasters, or four coasters, etc... Or, a trivet! (My favorite--I just love the trivets.) Or, a giant trivet (like a plate charger... etc...) Be as descriptive as you'd like.
  • What kind of thread you might like? Color, thickness. There's not a ton to choose from, but if you've seen something you like, please let me know!
  • Your full name and mailing address...
  • Someone you'd like prayed for while I'm working...

As for payment. I'll let you decide. I really don't care if you send in $5 or $500. I don't! I really don't. I'll leave that part up to you. But just to give you an idea--it takes me about two hours to weave a coaster or a very teeny basket, and it takes about 20 hours to weave a super large trivet... I'm happy to work for a buck an hour. If you don't believe me, then you don't yet know me...

When you email me with your info, in return I'll send you information on how to care for a pine needle basket/coaster/trivet, etc (not that there's really anything to say--just don't give it to your puppy, cause he'll eat it, like mine did...) and I'll let you know how to mail a check or make a donation to our church's building fund.

What do you think? Does this seem like it'll work? I'm up for revising every word of this if you have better ideas. In the meantime, here are some pine needle weavings that I've done--that might help describe size, threads, shapes, etc.

Cheers, friends! Please ask questions, or make other awesome remarks in the comments below.

The image above is a large, flat pine needle weaving that spans a little more than 12 inches across. It is sewn with a brown hemp thread.

Above left is the same large flat weaving as the top photo. And above right is a small v-shaped basket with brown hemp thread, and a trivet with beige and brown variegated hemp thread--plus some pine needles and the beginning of something new... This trivet, and the trivet shown way up top in the tea photos that is made with a deep blue upholstery thread, are about eight inches across.

These two crazies... Above left is a flat weaving, and I simply experimented all the way through. I wove in lavender stems, grass stalks, japanese maple twigs, and bright pink mohair, using upholstery thread. Had fun with that one. Above right is a basket. These photos can be so decieving. It's one of the larger baskets I've made, about 8-9 inches across the brim, and rising maybe 4 inches, using lots of bright colored hemp thread.

In the basket above left, I used a light brown upholstery thread, it is v-shaped, and is probably 2-3 inches high and 4 inches across the brim. Above right are three coasters (all about 4 1/2 inches across), one small basket, and one trivet. All the trivets I make are between 7 1/2 to 8 inches across. All the thread used on the above right photo is hemp thread--lime green, light blue, and brown.

Above left--four little coasters (about 4 1/2 inches across), all for a friend. Black hemp thread with colored centers. I like the way they turned out. Above right--the white hemp is awful, but I was trying to make a little globe shape, and it worked! I've made about four now, of various sizes... The rim of this basket is green, only because I used green needles instead of brown. They will eventually turn to brown...

Above--a coaster that decided to turn into a little shallow tray, and a little basket. These were some of my first weavings. Hemp thread...

Various sizes, all flat. Wow, my stitching is so much better now! Also from more than a year ago. All hemp thread.

To recap:

  • I can make v-shaped baskets, and am getting better at "globe" shaped baskets.
  • Flat is awesome, and easy. Lots of thread colors in both hemp and upholstery... I'll use whatever is closest to what you want.
  • Just give me dimensions, and I'll approximate it.
  • Please don't ask me to make anything on a deadline. :) I have enough of those in my life!!!







Published: February 7, 2016 | Filed under: You

Comments (9)
Nancy said:
February 7, 2016 @ 2:45 PM

Hi Jane, Wow, I find your hobby (and persistence at it) inspiring. I wish we had double the hours in a day to pursue hobbies. I have so many good hobby ideas. Right now my hobby time is soaked up by crocheting a giant 6' diameter mandala for my fried Jamie. She wants to be wed to Ryan while standing on it. I am one round away from being finished. Next in the queue are baby things that need to be made. Many a cherished baby are coming to us this year. Maybe if this summer has an uncharacteristic lull, you could teach me how to weave.

jane g meyer replied:
February 8, 2016 @ 1:11 PM

What fun work, Nancy! Yes, we only have so many hours in a day... Little by little we get things done--learn new things, just as it should be :)

Kh. Tammy said:
February 8, 2016 @ 4:18 AM

You are constantly inspiring and amazing me. I love the idea as would be most thrilled to have a beautiful pine needle trivet just like the one you serve tea on, or just a coaster, or whatever you want, I'm not picky....if something is messed up I'll take that instead! Anything from your hands. My favorite colors are blue and white....that is, of course, whenever you have time. As Nancy said, I wish I also had double hours to fulfill a hobby of mine, but I'm not even sure what that would be! If I lived closer, I would also love to learn and that would be double making for building the church! If only everyone used their talents (as was the gospel this Sunday) to work for Gods glory! Let us all strive daily for that, shall we?! I'm so proud of you and I love your heart! Yours truly, Kh. Tammy

jane g meyer replied:
February 8, 2016 @ 1:12 PM

You're so kind, Kh. Tammy! Putting you on the list...

Tracie Garacochea said:
February 11, 2016 @ 7:19 PM

Wow! I would treasure a small basket made by you! I have tried to make a basket sort of hat for a sculpture I am making a I am finding it difficult! I think I have the rope down, but your work does belong in a museum! And I would love to donate to your church! Love you! TG

Emily said:
February 11, 2016 @ 9:34 PM

Oh! This is exciting! I have admired your pine needle weaving since you began! I would love to have a small basket like the one in your son's hands... I love natural colored thread like brown or white or black! I'm happy hat you are doing this! xo!

Cameron said:
February 13, 2016 @ 8:26 PM

What a wonderful way to relax and be 'still' while your hands are still busy! I'd love a trivet - maybe 9in? And my kitchen is a teal blue if you want to use some bright thread :-) When it's done it can just go to my mom's (Cheryl Washburn-Lander) in SB so we don't have to worry about shipping to San Diego.

Christine Smith said:
April 4, 2016 @ 11:09 AM

Your weaving is beautiful! I am having difficulty sending you an email to jangemeyer.com. Not sure if it's just me.

Jane G Meyer replied:
April 4, 2016 @ 12:54 PM

I just changed the email above! either jane@janegmeyer.com or janegmeyer@gmail.com

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