I’m totally guilty of walking through a craft store (or, more often, the craft section of Walmart – oh, the deprivation) and grabbing something interesting off the shelf with no current or even near-future project in mind. Then it sits at home, waiting. I don’t want to waste it on the “wrong” project, so it waits some more.
That was the story of an off-brand Jelly Roll of rainbow batik fabrics. Jelly Rolls are sets of coordinating fabrics already cut into strips so you can get right to quilting. I wasn’t a quilter when I bought the fabrics (I’m still not), but they were so darn adorable that I had to have them.
Fast forward about six years or so. After one move, two master’s degrees, and one baby, I still had this stinking roll of fabrics sitting among my yarn, mocking me. I was determined to use it, so I commenced bookmarking strip quilt patterns and never settling on the right one (or, to be honest, the motivation to actually sit down at the sewing machine and sew those strips together). Finally, I spotted crocheted fabric baskets on Pinterest. Finally! A project that I knew I could and would actually complete!
I used two tutorials to get started, and then just went with my own crocheting experience. The Red Thread explains very well how to make baskets with fabric – the examples there are so adorable! Baskets are perfect as a place to throw your keys and change at the end of the day, and depending on the fabric you use, can really fit any decor. My modifications – I did not take the extra steps of rolling the fabric into rag rope, I just scrunched the strips as needed. I wanted to get started! My precut strips were pretty wide though, so I did cut the strips down the middle, leaving them still connected so they formed a skinnier, longer strip.
But I wasn’t using one huge piece of fabric and tearing it into one continuous strip – I had many strips that were not connected. Sugar Bee Crafts to the rescue, with a rag rug tutorial. Instead of sewing strips together or tying them with bulky knots, it’s simple enough to make a cut on one end of the strip and slip the next strip through. I used a big plastic hook – mine is not actually labeled with a size. It’s a crochet hook that actually has a hook on each end, and it’s not as big as a Q hook – I think I remember looking at hook sizes once and guessing that it’s a size P, but I don’t know for sure.
After just a few hours of work, I had my basket. It takes a little longer than crocheting with yarn, because fabric is stiff and you have to rest your hands and arms sometimes. I also kept getting the size of my basket wrong and had to undo a few times until I got the right circle size for the bottom.
You can see some of the strip ends sticking out – I think it adds character. I went with a rainbow pattern going around. One suggestion if you’re going to make a fabric basket – if you want to maximize the use of your pretty fabric, you could use a different fabric for the bottom of the basket, if no one will be able to see the bottom.
This basket is the perfect home for my bags of tea. Before, they were kept in a cardboard box, and who wants to see that sitting on the kitchen counter? Now they have a much prettier home, and it makes me smile every time I brew a cup.