Woven Heart Baskets ~
I can’t remember the first place I saw these cute woven heart baskets, but I’m willing to bet that it was either the Carol Duvall show or Martha Stewart Living. I watched Carol’s show for nearly 20 years and Martha’s until her ordeal. I do remember looking these baskets up on the internet for the template, and discovering some of their history and tradition. I’ve since found a few other templates, and I enjoy making these for the Winter Holidays and watching people look them over and wonder how it fits together – Like a puzzle.
I’ve seen these described as Scandinavian, Danish and Norwegian, so I would imagine they’re fairly common in the general area. While the origin of the hearts are unknown, the oldest hearts we know of were made by Hans Christian Anderson (H.C. Anderson), Danish Author. A writer of plays, poems, novels and travelogues, he’s most remembered for fairy tales, and apparently handmade Christmas ornaments. Many families make these heart baskets, fill them with wrapped candy, hang them from a tree, and give them to guests when they leave. Whatever the origins, I like them – I love their woven look, I enjoy making them and I think it’s a nice way to part with company for the evening.
Make these hearts with paper or fabric that won’t ravel, like felt. You can use other fabrics if you use a stabilizer on the back side. I’ve only used paper, and I find flexible paper works best. Overly stiff paper creases and doesn’t weave well. Here is a template I found online, but it’s basically a rectangle that’s rounded off on one side, with slits cut into the squared end. You must cut two with the squared end on the fold of the paper or felt. I’ve used a template with two legs (1 slit), 3 legs (2 slits), 4 legs (3 slits) and one that has a star shape in the center and two slits. I like all of them, but find the one with the star too fiddly.
I’ll attempt written directions, If you reverse the directions it will still be fine. Rather than weaving “over” and “under”, we will be weaving “through” and “around” – so to speak. Assuming we’re using the template with two legs – we’ll take two pieces cut out from the template, and taking the top most or first leg on the right piece “through” the top or first leg of the left, then “around” the next leg. The final leg on the right will go “around” the first leg on the left, then “through” the next leg. If you have more legs then you go through the same process, starting with the top most leg and working through the last. Here is a good description using three legs. I have to say that I’m disappointed with the lack of traditional Christmas candy available. I went to several stores and found very little in the way of Candy, especially wrapped candy. There was lots of chocolate, no ribbon candy, no hard candy assortments. The clerks had no idea what I was talking about. Make these baskets, they’re fun, and it’s a great tradition.