A few years ago, members of my guild spent a few happy hours together weaving paper bag baskets based on “Paper Bag Basketry” from Handwoven March/April 1994. It was a chance for us to get together casually without need of a paid instructor, special equipment, or expensive supplies. We brought paper shopping bags, scissors, rulers, binder clips, and our lunches, and made an afternoon of it. I still have mine from that day. I’ve made a few more since then that I have given as gifts and a couple that I use myself to hold yarn and equipment.
Paper bag baskets are:
• Not valuable, and they don’t hold up in the quite the same way as reed baskets, but they have a certain charm and durability.
• Free, and if you don’t have paper bags you can substitute other paper.
• Good for teaching you a little about basket weaving without any of the angst of working with new-to-you materials.
• Kid-friendly, although the younger ones may need your help to get started. If you have really little ones, they can color on the paper bags before you cut them up to see how their designs look woven.
• Fun to weave.
For all of these reasons and more, we are offering a free download of the Paper Bag Basketry pattern here. Weave with your kids, try it with your housemates or anyone else you are hanging out with these days. Make an afternoon of it. The instructions will help you with your first one, and from there you can branch out into other sizes. Who knows, you may find you like basket weaving and want to pursue it further with other materials.