Pine needle basket weaving class

We have a gazillion pine needles on the forest floor.  For weaving baskets, the pine needles need to be long - at least 20 centimeters, or about 8 inches.

A women’s collective in Opopeo (a village about an hour from the Bosque) came to this area and taught the women here how to weave beautiful pine needle baskets.  Socorro is now very talented - she makes baskets to sell in the market and for visitors here - most recently a tortilla warmer for one of our volunteer’s mothers for Mother’s day.  She also teaches a 3 hour workshop on pine needle basket weaving.


During the workshop students learn how to start the basket, finish the basket, and of course, weave the basket.  Students take their baskets home, and also have the opportunity to work on additional baskets in a more advanced class setting.

The art of pine needle basketry has been practiced by indigenous groups on Turtle Island for over 9,000 years.  In this area, working with pine needles, or huinumo, is quite popular.  In the United States, some craft shops sell the long pine needles in areas where the trees don’t grow.  You can even buy them on ebay.


The hat Melissa is wearing in the photo above is made out of another popular material used for weaving called chuspata - a lake reed.  Chuspata is so widely known and popular around here it was even the original name for Honey Cupcake!   The floor mats at the Bosque are all made using chuspata, and we plan to be able to offer a class for making mats, tortilla warmers, and hats out of chuspata in the future.

Below is the group after taking a huinumo class last week.


Basket weaving class vocabulary:

  • huinumo:  pine needles  Huinumo is actually a word in Purépecha, not Spanish.  Purépecha is the indigenous language in this area.
  • Omega nylón:  the type of thread used to weave the pine needles together
  • aguja:  needle
  • hilo:  thread
  • tijeras:  scissors
  • pica:  poke  (for when Socorro tells you not to poke yourself with the needle)
  • el hilo es liso:  the thread is slippery
  • flojo:  loose (lazy)
  • jale duro:  pull it hard!
  • nudos:  knots
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