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sparkle craft- bird nest baskets

In the By Thistle, By Thimble story, “The Sweet Grass Basket”, a hard working family is given a vacation on an island along the Carolina coast. Despite the fact that their small business is having hard times, they decide to take a risk and go.

On the way there, they are gifted a sweet grass basket that, they are told, “will give back whatever you put in it.” They are encouraged to put a wish inside, and—when the family agrees on their wish—they are all amazed at the true magic that the sweet grass basket offers.

While it won't grant wishes, this week's craft project—a “bird nest” basket—is a lovely way to weave a basket out of materials you may find on your summer travels, whether around the world or just around your neighborhood. It's a family craft project, a useful object, and a souvenir—all in one!

finished basket3

I've only dabbled at basketweaving, but, in my limited experience, the hard part is always getting started. I never seem to have enough hands! This project eliminates that difficulty by starting with a chicken wire base, which gives you a solid structure to hold onto, right from the start.

knox weaving5

While it may take a grown-up to get the wire base made, even my two-year-old enjoyed weaving a few strands of yarn in and out of the wire, and my six-year-old did much more than that.

The main thing to remember is that you don't have to weave the entire basket in one sitting. In fact, this would be a terrific project to work on just a little at a time, adding materials as you find them, all summer long.

Bird Nest Baskets



Chicken wire scrap (about 3' x 1')

Mixing bowl (about 12” diameter)

Wire cutters


Yarn needle


Grass, yarn, fabric scraps, twigs, bird feathers, or whatever other materials you can think of to weave into your basket


folding sharp ends under with pliers

Begin with a scrap of chicken wire that is about three times as long and one time as wide as the diameter of your mixing bowl/desired basket size. Snip and twist under any sharp ends as best you can, then fold the wire in half on the long side.

using the bowl to mold the chicken wire

Use your hands to press the folded wire into the shape of the mixing bowl.

folding uneven edges under with pliersSet the mixing bowl aside, and go around the edges of the new, wire “bowl” with wire cutters and pliers, sniping and bending as necessary to get a good “nest” shape. beginning of weaving

Now it's time to begin weaving. If you're using dried grass, it's good to soak it first to make it nice and pliable.

about half finished weaving

If you have long grass, it will also make it more manageable if you cut it gown to about the length of your forearm.

knox weaving2

You can also weave in yarn and fabric scraps (a yarn needle with a large eye will make this easier), twigs, bird feathers, or whatever other materials you find on your summer adventures.

weaving fabric around the top edge to enclose When you're starting to feel that your basket is finished, thread a few long, skinny scraps of fabric on a yarn needle and weave them around the top edge of the basket to enclose any remaining scratchy edges.

finished basketEnjoy your basket as a piece of art or use it to carry and collect things as you reminisce about summer.

About the Author

Meryl Carver-Allmond
Sparkle Kitchen & Craft Blogger

The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.

Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.

When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.

About By Thistle By Thimble

Find magic in nooks and crooks, in baskets and burrows, and on seemingly ordinary back roads and side streets. Listen to the quiet whisperings of the heart. Attend to what nature teaches. Discover the secrets sung on the wind. This weekly series of original adventure tales will open your eyes to new places and characters from around the world and times gone by.