I have admired these baskets in area gift shops for several years now and finally had the opportunity to take a class. As this was my first attempt, there a number of errors but I don't care. I love it! I think it turned out rather well... and I was the first one to finish. We had plans to go to a wedding this evening near Roseburg (the one for which I made the guest book) so my intentions were to leave early (finished or not). However, my little guy has come down with a bug of some sort so we therefore elected to stay home. I was therefore able to finish my first basket during class.
The coolest thing about these particular baskets is that I can work on them while in 1880 (i.e. in character at the museum). From what I understand, these baskets have been made in much the same way for thousands of years. Native Americans used a bone or shell needle to sew bundles of pine needles together with animal sinew, fern roots, or swamp grass. Some of the baskets were used for feed baskets, to carry water, and for winnowing seeds.
I am anxious to get started on others now... you know what I'll be giving for Christmas gifts. :) I'd love to create a big one (~12" in diameter). This one is just 4" across the bottom and 3" across the top.