Carolyn Harbour Wooden Handle Basket
The Pine Needle Group
Gallery Feature

Pine Needle Basket Creator
Carolyn Harbour of King, NC

Page 1: Carolyn's Story

Carolyn Harbour Thimble Box
written by Pamela Zimmerman

"Baskets are made by hands like mine, but only God can make a pine."

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Carolyn Harbour Basket

Some of Carolyn's baskets:

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Carolyn Harbour Basket 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.

Carolyn Harbour Music Box Basket

Music Box

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."
Carolyn Harbour Star Napkin Holder

Napkin Holder

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.)

Carolyn Harbour, Cracker basket
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 Harbour Thimble Box
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."
Carolyn Harbour Chocolate Box
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."
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