Tag Archives: DIY

Crochet Kitty Basket from T-Shirt Yarn

How Old is Eleven?

How old is eleven? Not too old to receive a Kitty basket!

20160916_164248-1-2

The idea for this basket came about a while back, when my niece M.’s birthday was still quite far off. I was crocheting a roundish basket with fabric yarn, and when I looked at the shape, or rather, when I felt the shape in my hands, I found myself thinking: If only this were in white… And had ears and whiskers… You see where I’m getting to.

But when M.’s birthday was nearing, I stopped to wonder for a moment – is eleven still okay for this? You know, eleven – old enough to babysit the neighbors’ kids, and understand a lot of things, and make beautiful drawings and handicrafts, and help around the house…

The answer I gave myself: Of course!

Crochet Kitty Basket from T-Shirt Yarn

I made a white, roundish basket, then made ears, and eyes, and whiskers, and a little bow. It was such  fun to make, and fun to give! And judging from M.’s response, I think I got the answer right.
Probably, not a moment too soon…

20160916_163808

Some Tips for Making a Kitty Basket:

The basket was crocheted in yarn under single crochet stitch (a favorite stitch with me), using a size 10 hook and white fabric yarn. The basket was formed by crocheting in a spiral.

The ears were crocheted separately and stitched on with fabric yarn (at just the right angle…)

The eyes and nose are cut from felt, and sewn on (you could probably paste them on with glue).

The whiskers were stitched onto the basket (each whisker is a single, jumbo-size stitch), and the thread is an old glasses cord.

The bow is made from a scrap of fabric yarn.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

crochet t-shirt yarn mandala trivet

Happy Mandalas

I find the parallel between the basic geometry of a crochet round and that of a mandala intriguing.  A humbler sister of the ritual mandala, the crochet mandala is nevertheless soothing and meditative to  make, and pleasing to the eye.

This simple mandala pattern is basic but priceless, because if you’ve got it mastered, you are on your way to making rugs, which are the same thing only bigger, and baskets, which are the same thing but with sides.

In the meantime, you can place your hot pan or kettle on it. Scatter a few and you’ll have a gay and festive table setting.

The pale pink and purple mandala was made with t-shirt yarn I cut from old shirts. I was able to use a kids’ size t-shirt for the middle, so that’s another nice thing about it – and of course it’s a great project for using up leftover strand bits, which is what I did in the hot-pink and orange mandala. I got the shirts from the ladies at the charity second-hand shop, who opened up their “for discard” shack for me… Such fine, sturdy, pretty cotton fabric salvaged! And t-shirt cotton is so perfect for protecting the table and keeping the pot-base warm.

I wrote up the pattern, below, and hope you enjoy making it. One word of advice: Give your mandalas freely to your friends and family, or you’ll end up like me, with a zillion different colored ones in your kitchen drawer!

Note: I don’t recommend using this as a pot-holder, because fabric yarn is bulky and the gaps between the stitches can make it unsafe for this purpose.

crochet t-shirt yarn mandala trivetcrochet t-shirt yarn mandala trivet

How to Make Happy Mandalas (can be used as trivets):

The top mandala is made from recycled t-shirts but for the green rim (I used two old children’s t-shirts).

The bottom mandala is made from bought cut strands.

I used a size 12 hook, but any size works well as long as it suits your strand.

I used 3 colors for each of these (1C, 2C, 3C)

Using 1C, make a magic ring.

Row 1: Ch 3. This counts as the first dc. Make another 11 dc into magic ring. Close with sl st. (12)

Row 2: Chain 3. The ch 3 counts as the first dc. Dc into base of ch 3 (the top of the ch 3 in previous row).  2 dc in every following 11 st. Close with an invisible join, cut. (24)

Row 3: Using 2C, start with a free-standing dc into any st. 1 dc into same st. 1 dc into next st. *2 dc into next st,  1 dc into the following st*. Repeat x 11. Close with an invisible join.(36)

Row 4: Using 3C, start with a free-standing sc into any st. Sc into next 4 st, 2 sc into next st. *sc into  next 5 st, then 2 dc into next st*, rpt x 5. Close with a sl st. (42)

Row 5: Sl st into each st on previous row (surface slip stitch). Close with an invisible join and cut. (42). The surface slip stitch evens out the rim of the mandala to make it smoother and rounder looking.

Weave in the ends.

Or – and this is my very fancy secret technique, which I have titled “draw as you stitch”, but you have to be a little skilled. It  goes like this:

Row 4: Instead of adding stitches, sc into every stitch, close with an invisible join and cut strand (36). As you are working, draw the hook a bit after every stitch to make the loop longer, before beginning the next stitch.  That way, the final row will not turn bowl-like even though you haven’t added any stitches.
As you can see in the top mandala, where this technique was used, it gives you a smoother-looking and more circular edging than if you add stitches, but it requires you to draw the loops consistently to make for uniform stitches. With a little practice, it can be mastered, and is worth the effort!
For this mandala, I didn’t make a row of surface sl st (Row 5). That’s because when you use the draw-as-you-stitch technique, the last row already comes out even looking.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Crochet basket with recycled fabric trim

Autumn Bounty

Walking home from the bus stop I passed by the clothing recycling bin. Next to the bin was a plastic bag with some children’s clothes, and on the top was a boys’ dress shirt in turquoise with purple-pink stripes. How could anyone think of turning that into clothing pulp, or – as rumor has it – cloth wipes for the car wash industry? Mercy knows no boundaries, and so I picked up the shirt and took it upon myself to deliver it to the second hand shop, whose earnings all go to scholarships for disadvantaged girls. Which is how it landed upon my good deed roster to also launder it. It was only when I took the clean shirt down from the clothing line that I noticed it: An amoeba shaped fade-stain on the front right next to the second button from the bottom. By now, however, there was no turning back: Our destinies were intertwined, and knew I had to do what I had to do – tear the shirt up into strips and crochet it.

Crochet basket with recycled fabric trim Crochet basket with recycled fabric trim
Whether bounty or burden, I could not deny the delight of hooking this delicious color as a trim for a small basket.
I used an equally delicious pale magenta strand to make a soft but sturdy basket that I have not yet decided how to use. In the meantime, it is posing here with some hand-picked tangerines, a gift from our dinner guests, or rather, from their tree. Is there anything fresher or sweeter?

crochet fabric yarn basket

The architecture:

Crochet basket with recycled fabric trim

Crochet basket with recycled fabric trim

And a close-up view of the recycled trim. The frayed edges give it personality, but also actually keep it from unraveling better than cut edges:

Crochet basket with recycled fabric trim

Crochet fabric yarn rug textile yarn

My Sunshine Rug

It took quite a few baskets and a several highly experimental rug attempts until I was able to muster up the courage for a simple proposal to a very special someone:
“Umm… Of course if you’d like a rug…”
How delighted I was to receive that simple leap of faith:
“Sure, why not?”
A quick trip to the fabric yarn shop, and back I was with two bags of everything bright and pretty.
The choices were made by the recipient of the rug (the colors and their placement  – I’m not sure I would have been as bold!), whereupon stitching was begun… And not stopped until I had this!
It reminds me of a bright sun in a circular sky, and so the title, but I admit it also has to do with the recipient.
Crochet fabric yarn rug textile yarn

Crochet fabric yarn rug textile yarn

Crochet fabric yarn rug textile yarn


How I Made the Rug:
I used a size 12 crochet hook and medium-width, medium-stretchy fabric yarn.
I started with a magic ring, stitching 12 dc into it, and ending the row with a sl st into the first dc.
To start a new row, ch 3 (or ch 1 if you’re starting a row of sc).
To start a new strand/color in a new row, sl st into previous row, and chain the number of stitches needed (ch 3 for a row of dc or ch 1 for a row of sc).
I used dc or sc alternately, depending on the texture of the strand – for softer or thinner strands, I used dc. For less flexible or thicker strands, I used sc. Another consideration was the color pattern – for example, rows 4-5, the orange, were done in dc, but for row 6, I used sc, because another row of dc would have made the orange circle too large for the composition.
How did I know this? Because I tried it, of course!
This is my favorite designing method – make, undo, remake until you’re happy with the result.
Of course, a row of sc takes up less thread too, so when you’re nearing the end of the strand, this may be a consideration (not so in this particular case).
The increases are made as usual – 12 increases for rows of dc, 6 increases for rows of sc.
When I reached the green strip, I switched to woven stitch (here is my explanation on woven stitch).
But you can continue on with sc.
The main reason I used woven stitch here is because my green strand was thicker than the blue of the previous row, and I thought the woven stitch would be less bulky.
Accommodating stitches to the strand type is one way to integrate different types and widths of strands in the same project.
But whatever stitch you are using, it’s important to remember that if you have a thicker strand, you may need less increases in the first row of that strand, and if you have a thinner strand, you may need more increases in the first row of that strand.
So there is always the formula for increases, but you have to look at the outcome and see if your rug is lying nice and flat.
Generally: Flat is good, wavy means you have too many increases, and bowl-shaped means you don’t have enough increases.
The final crazy-colored row was done in 2 sc into each space of the previous row (space = below ch st).
Increases for this row, when needed, were done with 1 ch st between 2 pairs of sc.

Crochet Fabric Yarn Basket for Cat Textile yarn basket t-shirt yarn plarn trapillo

A Basket for Louis

Louis needed a basket to snuggle in. His people mentioned something about it rather inadvertently (I thought I heard the word “cat”, or maybe it was “bat”? And there was something about “basket”, but it might have been “brisket”, I’m not sure). At any rate, when I offered to make Louis a basket of his very own, they didn’t object. Well, not very insistently. I knew of course they were only being polite so as not to trouble me and so I assured them I’d be delighted to make it.
I asked them what color they wanted it to be (I am so very careful not to impose my designs on my friends’ décor). They said maybe dark red. Fortunately I had some, and I thought it would go well with the gray.
Louis’s people liked the basket, and I hope Louis will too (Right now it’s high summer so Louis spends most of his time outside, stalking frogs and such). If you want to know how I made the basket, please scroll down.
The cat in the pictures is not Louis, but our cat, who always joins me whenever I’m taking pictures of my projects in the garden. In this case she seemed especially interested, and in the end I could see why. I had to re-tie the bow a few times but now it’s back to it’s original elegant form.
(For updates on Louis and his basket, and a rather regal surprise, see The Prince and the Not-Exactly-Pauper.)
Louis 5bLouis 8Louis 9Louis 3

How I made the basket: I asked Louis’s people what size they thought it should be. They measured the newspaper basket he usually settles in and said, 30cm X 40cm. Since I wanted to make an oval, I subtracted the width from the length (40 – 30 = 10) and that gives you the length of the starting chain.

Make a starting chain of 10cm (I used a size 12 hook), ch 1, then sc into the 2nd st next to the one on on your hook, and into every one after but the last.

When you reach the end stitch, make 3 sc into it. Continue with sc into each st on the other side. When you reach the end stitch, sc 2 into it, which will join the one sc you made at the start.

Continue with sc in a spiral, always adding 3 sc on the round part of each side every time you crochet along it, the same way you pick up your salary whenever you pass ‘start’ in Monopoly.

When your width is 30 cm, your length should be 40 cm.  Stop adding, and make a row of 1 sc all around. Finish it off with an invisible join and cut.  Start a new thread for the next row (mine was red), crocheting with woven stitch around the base (crochet from the outside, with the right side of the base facing upwards), and close the row with 1 sl st and 1 ch st. Continue upwards with woven stitch, closing each row with sl st and 1 ch st. Notice you are no longer crocheting in the spiral but closing with a sl st  and ch 1’ing at the end of each row.

When you reach the desired height, finish off the last row with an invisible join and cut.

Make the trim using sl st into back loops only of top row of sides, finishing off with an invisible join. Leave a tail at the beginning and end of the trim (mine was gray as you can see).

Draw the tails outside, and cut a separate piece of red strand.  Try and simulate tying a bow before it’s cut so you know how long to cut it. Now place the cut strand on the inside of the basket where the gray tails were, draw out the tails of the red strand, and tie a pretty bow on the outside.  Snip the ends to match the length of the gray tails. I tied a single knot at the ends of the gray tails because it made them hang down a little better, so if you want to do that, tie first before matching the length of the red.

Crochet fabric yarn basket

Peach and Purple

But actually, neat and sturdy stitches aren’t limited to Baskets for Guys. I had fun making these for the lovely young ladies, splurging in peachy orange, sparkly purple and pink-striped trim. I’m sounding bold but all along there was that nagging hesitation too – will the baskets fit the color scheme of their destined surroundings? Will they suit the receivers’ individual tastes, which I so admire and respect?
But if we went along with thoughts like that, there’d be no give and take, would there, to use Eeyore’s terms. And thinking of that, weren’t Pooh and Piglet a little hesitant about their own gifts too, and wasn’t Eeyore so very pleased to get them nonetheless?
And does a flower ask itself every day if its colors are just right, and if its petals are facing the exact right direction?

Bird of Paradise
So, I guess all we can do is pick up our magic wand and crochet that pumpkin – or lilac – and send them on their way!

Crochet Fabric Yarn BasketBird of ParadiseCrochet Fabric Yarn BasketCrochet Fabric Yarn Basket

The baskets are posing here with a little something in them, and in real life, there were other little somethings inside.
No problem with ribbons this time!

Crochet Fabric Yarn Basket

How I made the baskets:
Using a size 12 hook and fabric yarn, I made a round spiral base in SC. I worked the sides in yarn under single crochet, working into the back loops only of the base. I made the trim in crab stitch, or reverse single crochet. I left a tail at the beginning and end of the trim, and used it to tie the bow. That’s it!

Save

Crochet Fabric Yarn Baskets

The Gift of Baskets

In our family, guys get baskets too. I’ll have to say they were sweet about it, though! And I for my part did my best to meet the design challenge: I made a round base and finished it off, then started working the sides into the back loops of the last row of the base. Both the base and the sides were done using yarn under single crochet. What is that, you ask? Oh! (Shrugging nonchalantly…), only the coolest and most useful stitch that I’ve just recently discovered… It’s a good stitch for when you want a neat and sturdy style.  Did I mention I was making these for the guys? Crochet Fabric Yarn BasketCrochet Fabric Yarn Basket The trim was made with a complementary color, in good old-fashioned single crochet.  No ribbons and bows this time… Crochet Fabric Yarn BasketCrochet Fabric Yarn Basket The fruit is for the picture. In reality there were other things inside, and the guys, being sweet, pretended along with me that they didn’t know whatever was in them, no matter how carefully chosen and well meant, was just an excuse to give them one of my very own creations 🙂 Crochet Fabric Yarn Baskets