Tag Archives: Zpagetti

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.

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Crochet t-shirt yarn basket

A Floral Basket

My sweet niece A.  was sweet fourteen.

I thought she might like to have a little basket To Put Things In.

I made sure I was up to date on the décor of her room  – a good thing, because it turned out there’d been recent changes in the color scheme:  Purple and green now set the tone.

I wanted the basket to be floral and… Sweet!

I remembered seeing something really cute from an artist I liked a while back…

At the time I was just starting out with fabric crochet and I remember thinking, How…???

The image, and the question, lingered in my mind.

A couple of years and a zillion baskets later, I was able to weave the inspiration into my own creation:
Crochet t-shirt yarn basket

I think (hope?) A. liked it.

I took a minute during A.’s party to take some pictures of the basket. Isn’t the spot just perfect?

Crochet t-shirt yarn basket

This would be the perfect picture if only my finger wasn’t blocking the lens…

Crochet t-shirt yarn basket

A close-up view…

Crochet t-shirt yarn basket

The perfect spot.

 

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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 rug

Candy Carpet and Blogiversary

It seems appropriate at the close of a year to come full circle to one of my first fab-yarn (my term for fabric yarn) projects. Fortunately I took the pictures some time ago, because by now it has already undergone some wear! But before I tell you about it, I want to go back to August, 2014, when I first started writing here…
I was crocheting incessantly at the time because it was all I could do in face of a raging war where I live. I was hanging on to the threads of fabric yarn for balance, and they became threads of hope and prayer to me. Not much in the way of combating evil but on a personal level, it was panacea.
That round of hostility is over, but it seems as if the ongoing conflict has splintered into anger and cruelty and hatred. Summer, with its crazy heat and humidity, has apparently instigated flames in sad and frightening ways.
I have learned that stitching gives me some inner peace in times of turmoil, whether regional or very personal. I thank you for joining me in this peaceful abode, and welcome your company in the Pursuit of Simple Joys.

Crochet rag rug

So this is the rug, titled Candy Carpet for the candy-cane striped strand midway, and the general crazy color scheme. It was a by-product of my First Project, because the same day I raided my closet for old t-shirts and tights, I realized that not all old clothes necessarily go well with each other. The pink-red-purple-turquoise pattern of the old tights in the middle simply did not blend well with the brown-green checks of the old flannel shirt.

Crochet Rag Rug
And so my first rug became two rugs – I started them both alongside, then went to the fab-yarn shop and bought what I needed to match each of them. Having started with crazy colors I went along, and this was also a chance to feature one of my favorite ever strands – see the red floral cotton between the pink and the gray? This home cut strand, originally a curtain hem, was a gift from my MIL who was glad to donate her stash in support of my newfound creative endeavor.  I think we’re giving “vintage” a new meaning here.

Crochet rag rug
Like my first first-rug, this project was done in happy obliviousness of rules and conventions. All I knew was “intuitive” crocheting, as in, adding enough stitches to make it settle nice and flat. I think it worked for the most part, and when it didn’t, I un-crocheted it, and tried and erred till I was happy with the result. The same with the colors and pattern – I stitched around, then unraveled it if I didn’t like it… So in all, if I had crocheted forward and not back-and-forth, this rug could probably cover our living room floor. But as it is, it’s just right for a visiting toddler to settle on – and enjoy the legos that have been sitting around since my kids were resident toddlers.

Crochet Rag Rug
You may notice the center is a bit off-center. Like my other first carpet, I kept to the rule of – not a scrap of old scraps is to be thrown away, so I stitched until the strand ended, which was not always at the end of a row. But since the fabric pattern was so wild anyway, I just let it be, and put a little peace and order in by encircling the middle enclave in purple and gold. Some additional containment I think was obtained with the off-white border. I also think it gives it kind of an ethnic-carpet style, don’t you?
I can tell you it’s soft and comfortable to sit on, and that is the one nice thing about making rugs out of well-worn, thread-thin 20 year old cotton tights…

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 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

Crochet Fabric Yarn Basket

Spring Basket

It’s still spring in Basketland – Look what sprouted in my garden!Crochet Fabric Yarn Basket

After more spiral-crochet baskets than I can count, occupying a total area which far exceeds the sum total of surface areas in my house AND all my friends’ and relatives’ houses combined, I’ve decided it’s time to switch to… A new type of basket! My research on more sturdy sides, allowing for a slightly less roundish and more cylindrical shape, led me to the waistcoat stitch. The stitch, despite its anything-but-botanical name, actually yields a lush leaf-like texture, which totally looks like something growing from the spiral base . And so it is fitting that it should have a daisy-ish trim. I made the trim with a combination of single crochet (the white) and slip stitch (the yellow).crochet fabric yarn basket

And of course, the bow.Crochet Fabric Yarn Basket