Bale band and jewellery wire by Julie Turner


Bale band secures the bales of hay, haylage and straw enabling them to be moved about securely without risk of the bale falling apart until the bale band is cut and ready for use. The ones we have are usually red and yellow for hay and haylage and this year we have blue for straw bales.

Bale band to farmers and smallholders is a fantastic resource. Once released from holding its cargo it can and is often used to tie up and hold together a variety of items around the farms buildings and fields.

This selection of photos indicates some of the uses we have found for it. To keep a field gate closed, to securely hold open a top stable door which is often battered by strong winds, to fasten closed a jacket which the original fasteners have broke, to tie hay racks to enable sheep to ‘graze’ in the stable whilst lambing.

I wanted to use this coarse manmade fibre to create a welcoming nest for this project. After cutting the knot out I was a left with a decent length to work with. I chose to free form crochet with a large crochet hook. As I created the stitches to suit the look I required for the end piece I was not happy with the way it was working up. I felt it was too thick and dense. I decided to abandon this attempt and split the thick one length into several finer pieces. You can see this first sample in a picture below.

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Continuing with the largest crochet hook I started to create stitches using this finer more delicate – if a coarse fibre like this can be classed as delicate – into what turned out to be a beautiful natural, fine and delicate looking nest. I had intended to weave in the ends for a neater more finished look, but found I liked them as they were. I felt they added to the ‘naturalness’ of the piece. It reminded me of straw I wonder if I had done this in red or blue it would still look appealing with the ends left in situ?

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Following on with my newly learnt basketry skills (thanks to Joe at I thought about what materials I had to hand to try a smaller nest. Using the same processes only on a much smaller scale I dug out my jewellery wires and pliers and got to work.

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Wow this was fiddly and I couldn’t have managed without the pliers for weaving some of the thicker wires, but it was well worth the effort as the nest I ended up with is fantastic. As with the small willow nest from my last blog post I intended to remove the handle once completed however it looks great as it is, so I will leave it and see how I feel about it as I continue with this project. So far everyone who has seen this cute little basket wants one! I may need to stock up on jewellery wire again!

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