Sally first showed us how to twist willow into a circle to form the basis of a Christmas wreath. While one group were decorating their wreaths wit dried flowers and leaves she showed the rest of us how to twist reeds to make a cord. This was a little like spinning and plying at the same time, and produced a very strong cord. Sally showed us a traditional basket she had woven from this cord at a workshop in Shetland.
Then we moved on to making stitched baskets, using materials such as crocosmia leaves, or the cords we had made from rushes, using raffia or linen thread for stitching. The fibres from phormium leaves were also found to work quite well as thread for stitching. To start you need a bundle of three or so crocosmia leave. You make a loop at one end and stitch it tightly, then move outwards in a spiral, taking the thread over the bundle of leaves and through the previous layer. You can make a flat mat, or, once you have a base, you can begin to work upwards to shape a basket. Sally had some beautiful baskets, with lids made in the same way.