Finnguala ingen Néill meic Chuircc – Small Coiled Grass Basket with Lid

This is my first attempt at a coiled basket, from late summer this year. I gathered the plant materials from my yard and dried them before use – they are some kind of fine grass (fescue?) and Iris germanica leaves (split into narrower strips before drying). I started this project thinking I would be wrapping dried grass with silk thread, but it quickly became apparent it would take forever if I didn’t switch to something bulkier for the wrap. I ended up pulling out the dried iris leaves and aiming for a palm leaf basket look, as palm leaf stitching seems to be especially prevalent in extant coiled basket finds.

Some lessons learned:

  • Seriously, do not use actual sewing thread.
  • Soak less material than you think you will need – things get pungent if the leaves stay moist for more than 2 days, and you can always soak more.
  • Have extra needles on hand for when you break one.
  • When you have the option, use the big hole.
  • If your cat is a grass fiend, you will have very close supervision during this process (and frequent attempts to sample your work).
  • Making a functional basket this way isn’t that hard – wonky baskets are period.
  • Symmetry and straight lines are harder than you expect.

Project page with references and additional pictures and details located here:

2 thoughts on “Finnguala ingen Néill meic Chuircc – Small Coiled Grass Basket with Lid

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  1. What a beautiful basket! Could not believe it was you first attempt, it looks so well made! Thank you for the resources and caveats, especially the cat one, it did make me chuckle

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