The Pine Needle Group
Pine Needle Basket Creator
Carolyn Harbour of King, NC
Page 1: Carolyn's Story
by Pamela Zimmerman
"Baskets are made by hands like mine, but only God can make a pine."
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Some of Carolyn's baskets:
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Carolyn Harbour has been a pine needle basket maker for about 20 years, and has taught
coiling for most of those 20 years. When I first logged onto the Internet, in February 1999, Carolyn
was one of the first people I emailed with a request to share information. She responded
immediately, willing to
answer my (myriad) basket questions, in spite of the fact that her full-time job keeps her from actively
teaching at present.
Jeannie McFarland's Pine Needle Raffia and Advanced Pattern Book are her
most frequently consulted texts, but most of her patterns are original. She says, "My favorite stitch
is the spiral
wheat stitch but it is not the same on both sides so it is only good for bottoms and baskets
with lids. My most used stitch is the wheat stitch. When I started making baskets there was
not much information so I am self taught in a lot of areas. (I also use the)...popcorn stitch. It is wheat
stitch with three
stitches in the straight stitch and backstitched."
Each basket is labelled with a cloth label, and photographed and duly recorded in a book.
If a basket is gifted to someone, this is also recorded. But for the most part, she says,
"I just make them
and keep them.
I have about 300+ in my house. Had most of them in my kitchen
until Christmas. Had to do a remodeling job and now they are everywhere. I am giving some to
my daughter and daughter-in-law with the understanding that they will never be in a yard sale!"
(Take a look at Carolyn's kitchen.)
In 1982, Carolyn was recognized by Decorating Craft Ideas magazine as "crafter of the month" (Jan/Feb issue.) This award is based on skill and originality. Although Carolyn did not originate her craft of pine needle basketmaking, she was recognized for adding originality to a traditional craft. This is evidenced by the great number of unusual basket forms Carolyn has developed - shown in the photos on these pages. Carolyn was also featured in the same magazine later that year with her pine needle Christmas ornaments.
Carolyn is also a thimble collector, and has started making thimble boxes out of pine needles.
"These are the most tedious
of any thing to make,"she says, "but I really love to do them. They are really unique." She also does
cross-stitch, and has originated several stitchery designs for basket makers. I can almost hear her
chuckle, "I am a collector. One more collection and my husband will leave me." Another chuckle.
"I'm sure going to miss him."
For awhile, I kept this multi-talented lady busy with questions in my attempt to copy her fancy designs.
When, in frustration, I returned to my simpler forms, her response was typically encouraging:
"Keep on making baskets - practice makes perfect. There are not enough pine needle basket
makers out there."
Want to see more of Carolyn's Baskets?
About The Pine Needle Group
Pine Needle Basket Links
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Web design by Pamela Zimmerman