Crochet baskets

For whatever reason recently I went on a spree of crocheting baskets, and got their portraits made. I’ve got some edging ideas/instructions and other information for you along with these photos.

crochet baskets all together

All of the baskets are tight-gauged single crochet other than the top edging; the rainbow basket was worked in a simple spiral, and is the only one made with a single strand of yarn.

joined basket interior view spiral basket interior view

The first picture above is the inside base of the biggest basket, made with 3 strands of worsted acrylic in red, teal, and brown, and worked in joined rounds. I believe I made a few decreases on the sides to give it that pot-like silhouette.

The second photo above is the second-largest basket, made with two pairs of worsted weight yarns: a textured purple/plum paired with a ruddy brown, and a brick red with a dark brown that had a thin shiny strand wound with it to make it tweedy. They are crocheted in a double spiral.

I’m really pleased with how the colors worked together in both cases.

the biggest two baskets together trefoil basket with button knot and tray

The outlier clearly is what I’ve been referring to as the “trefoil catchall,” in hot pink and gray worsted. This one I actually wrote a pattern down for so I could get all three pieces the same:
1. Sc 7 in magic ring. Sl st to join each round; chain up at the beginning of the next.
2. *Sc inc* around (14).
3. *Sc inc, sc* around (21).
4. Sc inc, sc 20 (22).
5. Sc inc, sc 21 (23).
6. Sc inc, sc 22 (24).
I needle joined at the end, though the join spot ends up hidden. Weave in the ends of the first two; use the tail of the third to sew the three together at the increases/joins.

For the “knob” I cut three long pieces of each color of yarn, threaded them through the joining so they ended up doubled, braided the lot (12 strands!) and then tied a Chinese button knot. Tightening it was a process – lots of tugging of loops along the path of the braid. I pulled the whole tail down through the join and wove in the yarn ends individually (phew!).

The tray is just a disk in joined rounds; I would have made it larger but I ran out of yarn.

How about edgings?

crochet basket edgings

On the left, a bobble stitch edging separating out the two doubled yarns. I used 4-dc bobbles; 5-dc bobbles would have looked nicer but I was concerned about running out of yarn. That is also the reason the top round is in only one color set. To note before we make bobbles: I had finished the main-body spiral with the two doubled yarns across the basket from each other.

Except for where I had to fudge it because of the count, I spaced the bobbles 1 stitch apart: in one color set, ch 2 and use as the first dc in a bobble (I can’t remember whether I made the bobble in the same st as the sc the ch comes from, or the next st; same would be better), ch 3/sk 3, bobble, and so forth almost halfway around. Stop short of color set two and sc 1-2 sts with it, if needed, to put it halfway between two of the color set one’s bobbles. Go back to color set one and finish the ch 3/sk 3, bobble round; if you don’t have a multiple of 3 stitches make the last two bobbles 2 or 4 apart from each other instead of 3. Sl st to join; finish off if this is not the color for the final round. Repeat the process with color set two; its bobbles will be in the middle of the 3 skipped stitches from the first set (with fudging as needed).

After the bobbles are done, pick up your final-round yarn, chain 1, and sc into the top of each bobble (enclosing the other color’s chain) and between adjacent bobbles (around both chains). You could also squish the tops of your bobbles a bit more by making 2 sc between bobbles (around the chains) and none into bobbles.

On all the baskets you want to join the final round with a needle join instead of a slip stitch.

On the right, a portion of the border to Julie Yeager’s Deco’Ghan. Fortunately I had a multiple of 3 stitches around so I didn’t have to fudge here. After joining my last round, I did round 3 of the Deco’Ghan border – as with my previous modification I skipped 3 unworked stitches at the beginning, marking the first one, and made the 2 sc in unworked stitches into the unmarked stitches. At the end I joined my chain into the marked stitch, made only 1 sc, and joined to the beginning of the first chain. After chaining up, I sc’d around in just the “sc 2” sts (i.e. the ones at the beginnings of chains and between, but not at the ends of chains). This tightens up the silhouette even more and poofs out the chains.

And finally, front and center, a simple border without concern for spiral-caused jogs: sc around in FL only; sc around in both loops; sl st around in both loops of last round plus unused BL of two rounds prior. Join last sl st to first with a needle join and weave in end. Makes a nice little lip.

Fabric bowls

I wanted a corral for my little salad dressing containers for my lunches and thought I remembered coiled fabric bowls in my Scrap Users collection. That was not correct – there were bowls, but they required additional materials. I thought I could do without, though, and whipped up a little bowl. Now for the Sew-op sale coming up, I have a few more.

fabric bowls all together

They’re easy to make: four-inch-wide strips of fabric, joined end to end with 1/4″ seams, seams pressed open and then raw edges of strips hidden in two steps. First, press the strip in half the long way, wrong sides together, and then fold the raw edges into the crease and press again. Twist the strip and coil it like a braided rug, sewing the rounds together with a wide zigzag.

prepped fabric strips for bowl-making beginning a fabric bowl

The direction of coiling shown above is easier, so that the main portion of the bowl is under the arm of the sewing machine. There’s more room to work that way for the next step.

When the bowl is nearly as big as you want, hold the flat of the bowl up at an angle to join additional rounds. Eventually the base of the bowl should be nearly vertical.

angling the base to make the sides of the bowl a fully shaped, though not complete, bowl

Once I got out to the end I turned around and sewed right back to the middle again, to make sure it was fully secure. There were skipped stitches and places where I was too off center to grab both strips, so going around a second time accounted for both of those.

I don’t have a formula for determining strip length from desired bowl size, but I did record the lengths that went into these bowls.

three fabric bowls

The rainbow bowl was the largest, coming from a 5 yard 4 inch strip. It’s also lopsided; like throwing pottery on a wheel, getting symmetry with these takes some practice. The bright stripey bowl was from a 3 yard 27 inch strip, and this brown striped bowl was from a 1.5 yard strip.

three fabric bowls

This brown striped bowl, on the other hand, was from a not quite 1 yard strip. The purple and green bowl was 3 yards 11 inches, and the pinkish floral was 3 yards 8 inches.

I also learned in my sewing that while Gutermann’s metallic thread isn’t bad at all – though it does have all the usual tangly problems – Sulky’s metallic is impossible. It gave me profoundly high tension without even putting the presser foot down and eventually I just gave up on it.

Larks as Learning Opportunities

Last night I went through a stack of magazines I’d picked up at a tourist information stand and free at work. Something caught my eye as I was paging through a tourism magazine, and a while later I had this:

No. 1: The Larch.
No. 1: The Larch. 9″x12″, 2017. Sketch pad paper, Mod Podge, two outdated issues of the Vermont Visitor’s Guide.

Well, not literally; I trimmed the edges this morning. But essentially.

Just a lark, slopped together with lots of mod podge and minimal care. I intend to make more collages in the future, though, so I thought I’d record what went well here and what I would change if I were doing a collage like this to be a serious piece.

The Good:

  • I laid my sketch pad paper out on waxed paper and glued magazine clippings off the edge. The waxed paper meant I could turn it over and see the edges for trimming this morning without having to try to peel it off in advance.
  • I had tons and tons of the little clippings. I kept cutting them even though I was sure I would end up with something like twice as many as I needed. Nope, I needed all of them.
  • I saved out one of each version of the key to make sure they were all represented on the top layer.

The Not So Good:

  • I couldn’t get a sweet spot between too much and not enough Mod Podge in its role as adhesive. If it was a thick enough layer not to dry immediately it wrinkled the paper and made it translucent. If I were doing this “for real,” I would … well, I’d be a lot more careful in a lot of ways! But in particular, I wouldn’t use Mod Podge as the primary adhesive. Instead, I’d use a glue stick to attach one round of clippings (probably over half) with minimal overlap but hopefully good coverage. Then I would dab on a thin layer of Mod Podge, covering the whole page, and let it dry. Intermediate layers of Mod Podge should mean I wouldn’t have to worry about making sure the glue stick was all the way out to the corners of every clipping. Repeat with the rest of the non-reserved clippings, and finally with the reserved clippings. Then probably one more layer of Mod Podge, thicker now because the previous coatings should protect the paper from wrinkling.

Quite a bit gained from following that moment of silly inspiration!