Seeing stripes in the laundry

A little while ago I was thinking out loud on this blog about how I should go about making my own washing basket, crochet style. After lots of research into patterns, craft techniques and the fabric materials I should use, I settled on a making a DIY rag rug style basket with a giant crochet hook and second hand sheets. I’m pretty pleased with the finished result as you can see here!

crochet washing basket

I couldn’t decide on a particularly intricate pattern especially as I’ll be moving and probably redecorating pretty soon, so I stuck to a simple yet striking design of purple and white stripes.  I used a size 12 crochet hook and 4 double bed sheets (2 white, 2 purple, bough cheaply from eBay), ripping the sheets into strips of fabric about 1 1/2 inches thick. 4 sheets sounds like a lot of fabric, but it gets used up very quickly! The finished basket was pretty stiff but not completely upright, if you wanted a more rigid structure I’d recommend making the strips 2 inches thick. 4 sheets makes a basket about 20 inches tall and 14 inches in diameter, which manages to squeeze well over a load of washing into the basket, with a little fabric left over to make a lid, or maybe some mini baskets.

The pattern was inspired by this basket pattern on the Crochet in Color blog, but a little simpler. I used double crochets throughout the pattern, but the line definition was created by only putting your fabric through one of the loops on every other row. Super easy for any crochet beginners looking for a new project, but a willing to put in a bit of muscle into a new project!

Crochet washing basket

I think this basket is definitely going to be the start of a new motto to stop buying things I don’t like, and keep making things I love instead.

Have you made any household crochet items with a giant crochet hook? Be sure to share in the comments, as I’ll need some more project inspiration soon!

 

 

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A Friendship Patch… How to Crochet a Clustered Spike Stitch or Leaf Stitch

When my friend Naomi called on her friends to make patches for a university project, naturally my inner craftster screamed and jumped at the opportunity. Her project was to make a portrait of herself, and on choosing to make a patchwork bedspread, asked her friends and family to all create 20x20cm square in a pattern of their choosing, but it had to represent the relationship and was made of materials that you already had.

I (obviously) had loads of spare wool, and am always looking for new opportunities to put new crochet patterns into practice. I had found this pattern on Pinterest some time ago, and thought it would be perfect to figure out how to make it. I could say that on a deeper level that I picked it because our friendship overlaps and is joined by all of our other shared friends (we met through a mutual best friend), but really I picked it because I loved the pattern and  it reminded me of lots of the patterns and beautiful retro things that Naomi wears and I gorge over in her room whenever I visit. There isn’t a name to the stitch, but I’m going to call it a leaf stitch – but if you know of the proper stitch name, let me know!

Crochet Leaf stitch

Crochet Leaf stitch

And here is my patch:

Crochet leaf pattern

Tackling the pattern was quite easy as the pin came with some visual instructions, but I’ve modified them a little. So I’m also going to include some helpful instructions to my recreation so you can also give it a go. My patch was created with Stylecarft DK wool and 4mm hook – but in hindsight I should have used a smaller hook. This is also my first attempt at writing a pattern, so here it goes!

Crochet Leaf Stitch

1) Do a foundation chain in multiples of 8 – for a 20cm square (with 2cm seam allowance) I did 56.

2) Ch 2, Tc 3, (Ch1, Tc1, Ch1, Tc in the next stitch, Ch 1, Tc3), repeat to the end, Tc1 in last stitch, turn.

3) Ch2, Tc 3, [ (Ch1, Tc next stitch)x3, Tc 2 ], repeat to the end, Tc in last stitch, turn.

4) *Change colour* Tc4, (Leaf Stitch, Tc 4 ), repeat to the end, TC in last 4 stitches.

5) Ch 2, Tc 4, (Ch 1, Skip 1 stitch, Tc 5), repeat to the end, TC in last 4 stitches.

6) Repeat steps 2-5

It’s quite difficult to explain the special leaf stitch, but hopefully the diagram below will explain… Basically you need to pull your wool twice through the five gaps you’ve made, and then pull through all the stitches at the end. It’s tricky at first, but you’ll get the hang of it, I promise.

templateFINAL6steps

And there you have it – a very special crochet pattern. Beware, it eats up your wool, but it’s very luxurious. Kinda looks a little like maple leaves too with the colours I’ve chosen. I can’t wait to see how the bedcover turns out too 🙂

crochet2

Comment below if you’ve tried this stitch, I’d love to hear from you!

08/03/14 Update: As Jyneffer rightly pointed out in the comments, this is a Clustered Spike Stitch – always good to know the right technical term! 🙂