Monday, December 01, 2008

Scandinavian Woven Heart Baskets

I apologize for the lousy photos, and I couldn't get my pdf template to work (with luck I'll add it tomorrow) - but I hope you can make everything out enough to follow the instructions. Okay, a whole year later you can get the pdf here. Also you can see some more sample hearts here.

These heart baskets are a traditional Scandinavian Christmas craft; they make beautiful decorations for your tree or windows (as in the above photo - with my relatively tidy kitchen showing in the background) and they also make interesting holders for candy or a small gift.

This is a fairly simple craft for a school aged child, and a preschooler may also enjoy helping.

To make one you'll need:

  • 2 pieces of contrasting papers, each at least 2 1/2 inches by 8 inches, plus an extra strip about 1/2 inch wide and 5 inches long or so. (Red and white are traditional colors, but I also made two of the above from recycled papers - newspaper, a page from a catalog, and the inside of a security envelope)

  • Scissors

  • A little glue or tape

To start, you should cut a template from cardboard or cardstock (I used a box from dog biscuits, as you can see in the photo below, which I forgot to rotate.) My template is 2 1/2 inches wide and 4 inches tall. The lines marked on it show you where to make the cuts so that you'll have 3 strips to weave. I hope tomorrow I'll have a printable template for you, but you can certainly fudge it - I did. It helps to cut the strips fairly long, so you have room to fiddle, especially until you've had some practice. Next fold your papers in half. Place the flat end of the template against the fold and trace around it. Mark the positions of the interior cuts, and then cut around the outside, as well as along the two interior lines. (Sorry for the blurry photos.)

Next comes the tricky part: the weaving. Start by scunching open the uppermost strip on the white half and sliding the upper red strip through it.
Then scunch the second red one open, pinch the first white strip closed again, and slide it through the middle of the red strip.
Finally, open the first white strip again and slide the third red strip in. At this point, you've finished the first row of weaving!
Okay, here's where the how-to photos end - but the rest is more of the same, except for weaving in the second white strip you'll reverse the scunching order. First scunch the first red strip open and slide the second white one through it, then red through white and white through red again. (Sometimes the last top strip will pop out - just work it back into place. It will stay when the basket is done.)

Repeat the order of the first white strip for the third one, and you're about done. Just tape or glue the extra long strip inside to form a handle, add some goodies, and give it to a friend!

In my Merry Christmas, Cheeps! book, the littlest chick can be seen hanging one of these on the tree on the page for "Reach to hang an ornament/Shiny, shiny bright." You can also see one hanging on the tree in the excellent classic book Christmas in Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren (who wrote the Pippi Longstocking books).

If you get good at these hearts and want to try some more elaborate ones (you can get pretty fancy if you vary the number and shape of the strips, check out this sites for ideas and instructions:

  • This interesting Danish site which has both the basic and very advanced directions (but beware, it plays electronic-ish Christmas music)

  • Margita Mentorp's papirklip blog (I think I have her name right - but the site's in a language I don't speak). It has lots of cool templates for unusual woven hearts, as well as some little house templates to cut out and assemble and other Christmas decorations to make.


Cindee said...

Thank you so much for your easy instructions. I searched everywhere to figure out how to put these together and after reading your website it just clicked.

Thanks again!

Carol Baicker-McKee said...

So glad my crazy instructions helped! I still love making these.