Monday, February 2, 2015

Tee Baskets

For a while I've wanted to try to make a basket out of tee shirt yarn.  One of my crochet friends did also - so we got together last week to give it a try.

I asked her to pick a pattern that she liked and we'd both follow the same pattern and make a basket.  We cut our tee shirts into balls of yarn.  I use these instructions.  I make my yarn strips about 1" wide and then tug on them which stretches them from a flat piece of tee shirt into a curled piece of tee shirt yarn.

Once we had our shirts done, we got straight to work.  We used this pattern.  We both failed miserably.  I think one of the reasons it didn't work is that we didn't understand when we were crocheting from the outside of the basket towards the inside and when we were going the other way - this made some of the instructions completely backwards... tho. I think it was our mistake and the pattern is probably fine.  Our resulting basket didn't have nice straight sides, it was slumped and mis-shapen.  I don't know what we did wrong.  I'm quite an advanced crocheter but what a mess.  I knew I would never use the basket I had made the way it looked - I wish I had taken a photo of it.

Since the basket was pretty easy to UNmake, I did just that.  Then, using what I had learned from the failed basket, I made up my own pattern.  Now there are a ton of tee shirt basket crochet patterns floating around.  I've been collecting them.  I have a whole pinterest board called Crochet Baskets which you might want to check out - there are oodles of designs and patterns, most of them are free.  If you make one of the patterns from my pin board, please let me know - I'd love to keep track of what patterns are good.

The first basket I made that was successful was a bit smaller than what I would have wanted.  I made it small in case I had to pull it all out again.  So, both to test my new method of making and also to have a bigger basket, I made a second basket.  It worked well twice so I consider my pattern to be somewhat successful.  The little basket has handles, the bigger one does not - just to try it differently, I left it without handles but I could still go back and add to it to make handles.  I didn't write the directions for handles - so take a look at another pattern with handles if you decide to add them.

Also - please note a few things about tee baskets.  First, making one is not relaxing!  The big fat yarn, tight stitches and hook combo made my hands very tired.  I'd make more, but this type of crochet it like battling with the yarn to get it to the shape you want, not like smooth, happy and carefree stitching.  Second, it takes a lot of tee shirts and tee shirt yarn to make a basket.  The tee shirt yarn making process requires a lot of cutting fabric, and I have THESE FISKARS scissors to make it easier and still my hands were tired after cutting and creating all the tee shirt yarn.

Sizes... my bigger basket (the one in the photo tutorial) is about 8 inches in diameter across the bottom and 8 inches high about and it took me 7 large tee shirts to have enough yarn for this size.

Step 1: Create a flat round circle.  If you don't know how to do this, use this method.  I started with 8 stitches in the first round.  I also started with a magic ring.  It doesn't matter how you do it - just make a flat circle.  Remember in the example I refer to above about the flat circle, she is using UK crochet terms so her htr is a US hdc.  Make the circle as big as you want the bottom of your basket.  Because I was using such a small hook (size M - 9mm) for this size yarn I found I had to increase more than I normally would on my last round in order to keep the circle flat.  You can probably use a size N (10mm) hook and it wouldn't be as much as a struggle.  I made my circle with all hdcs (half double crochets - American terms).  OH... throughout the pattern, you make a round and then join with a slip stitch before starting the next round.  If your next round is going to be sc, chain one at the beginning of the round.  If your next round is going to be hdc, chain two at the beginning of each new round.

Step 2:  Once your circle is the size you want, make one final round on the circle doing a flsc all the way around and don't increase.  When you are making this front loop single crochet, remember that it is the front loop if you are working from the inside of the circle going out... I'm not sure if this makes sense, but it does matter if you are working from the inside of the circle out - or the outside of the circle in.  I am working at this point from the inside of the circle outwards.

see how my hook is only going under the front loop of the VEE at the top of the stitch.

if you are doing the flsc correctly, you will see a ridge or line form on the outside of your basket

if you correctly completed your flsc row, your bowl will look a bit like a dish with an edge

this is my little basket (the first one I made using my own pattern) sitting inside the bigger second basket bottom

Step 3:  Now, here's where I did something different from the other basket pattern I tried.  I worked the rest of the basket working my stitches from the outside of the basket inwards.  In other words, I poked my crochet hook into the stitches from the outside of the basket.

For this first side row, I worked all hdc stitches around the basket, working from the outside in.  Work the hdc stitches by going under both loops on the VEE as with any normal stitch.  I switched to green yarn because I had run out of grey.  You can change colors or change yarns as you need to throughout the pattern.

here's how it looks after adding a few hdc stitches and working from outside in.

Step 4: The next round I made using blsc.  I used blsc because it makes a little line around the outside of the basket and I liked that textural detail.  I'm sure the basket would be fine making all the rounds hdc or alternating between stitches however you prefer the look.

Continue adding rows and changing colors or yarns as needed until your basket is as tall as you like.  You can see the little line around the outside which is the where the blsc shows up.

I finished my last round as sc.  I thought it finished off the basket nicely.

And - if nothing else, your little crochet baskets will at least be a place you can hold the rest of your tee shirt yarn!

Enjoy - Sher


Amy at love made my home said...

Fantastic! I am in the process of crocheting a basket myself, but with much thinner yarn! Yours are lovely. Really like the stripes! xx

Lisa said...

Thank you for the tutorial . I came across your blog today and have enjoyed looking back over your posts. I've been toying with the idea of starting a blog. I like your mix of crafts and other things. I look forward to seeing what other things you have to share. Lisa, Leesburg, VA

Sue Silva said...

I made one of these and my granddaughter loved it!

Anonymous said...

How many t-shirts to make that big basket?

Sherrie Jenkins said...

I can't remember specificially how many tee shirts to make the large basket but I'd estimate that 3 large shirts should do the trick.

Unknown said...

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