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Re: pine needle baskets


From: Bunki Kramer (bkramer_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Sep 20 2001 - 18:10:03 PDT

from: Bunki Kramer (
Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Road
Danville, CA 94526
art webpage -
>From: Dennis Clark <>
> Hi Bunki, a parent of one of my kids has a tree farm. She suggested
> that Australian (?) pines have the longest needles and is going to look
> for a source for me as I want to try this. She asked if I need dry
> needles or fresh. What is best? Any other suggestions that I should
> tell her? Thanks, Donna in the tent for a few more weeks

HI, Donna. What are you doing in a TENT?! I'm having to move into a
waterless portable within 3 weeks for about 4 months while they are
re-modernizing my room....and I thought "I" had it bad!!! do you
teach in a "tent"? Doin' any native American stuff?..hee, hee. Basket
weaving in a tent sounds like a good plan!!!!

About the needles. That sounds like a grand source you have. Latch on to it,
babe!!! My suggestion would be the dry needles directly from the ground.
Once you soak them in detergent water, they flex for good bending and for
removing the caps on the end of the needles. Someone told me that fresh
needles tend to stay more green (don't know if that's true) but I like the
brown/tanned color better anyway because it goes well with the raffia. It's
gonna take ALOT of needles so get big plastic bags full. I think I went
through 5-6 giant plastic bags for just two classes of 35 students each this
past year and I had the 6-8" needles.

I have the kids sort the needles and put them into a big box and pull from
that when I put new batches in the soapy water. Soak overnight if you can
before you start. I change the water about every third day.

The first day of basket-making was doing nothing but sorting out the weeds,
icky stuff, whatever, and looking for unbroken needles...keeping all the
three-strands-to-a-set-with-a-cap. Through this we eliminated about 1/3 of
each bag before we started.

Keep us posted on how it all turns out. Toodles....Bunki