I started this basket because it's been polar vortex-cold outside, and I've been spending a lot of time
on pinterest and cleaning and re-arranging my workroom.
(Yes, I know. I work from home. Writing my novel. It shouldn't matter at all what the weather is outside. You may shut up now.)
I found lots of balls of t-shirt yarn left over from my porch rug. Once I got started on the basket, however, I realized I didn't have near enough yarn.
I bundled up, forced the Mini out of the driveway and visited the Goodwill.
When I first started making t-shirt yarn, I was very careful to avoid the shirts which were heavily screen printed. But if you do that, your choices become very limited, especially if you are cheap like me and only purchase those on sale for 1/2 price, and if you do most of your searching on the men's XXL rack (more t-shirt bang for your 1/2 price buck.) So I found that a little screened printing doesn't really hurt, and maybe even gives a little character -- the printed sections don't roll up into "yarn" quite as easily as the non-printed sections, but I can't spot any on the finished basket:
I'm not sure why the basket looks so lopsided in this picture. It's a bit wonky, but not quite this much.
Here's another tip about t-shirt yarn -- even though you may find some nice tailored women's t-shirts in beautiful colors, stick with t-shirts without seams. When I realized that the seams were going to be a problem (no nice long strips of fabric to work with -- the seams prevent rolling), I thought maybe I could get some nice long strips if I cut length-wise -- but those won't roll at all, no matter how hard you tug. In fact, they will tear. Boo. But live and learn.
I started out just like the rug, weaving the ends of different colors together, as you can see on the bottom of the basket here:
But then I got lazy and just started tying the ends together, and told myself it was more festive that way.
Here's the inside of the basket:
I just made up this pattern as I went along, but it's a pretty standard idea -- start with a circle, half crochet 12 or 14 into the circle, then just increase each round. When the bottom is the width you like, stop increasing and just keep working until it is the height you like. Oh, and I used a size Q hook.
To make handles, when your basket is the height you want, chain 6 or 7 stitches, skip 5 or 6 half crochets in the previous row and then slip stitch around until about the same spot on the other side and repeat. Then bind off (or whatever they call it in crocheting) and weave in your ends.
I thought that with handles, this would make a really nice beach or picnic bag. Except that it is so darn heavy. 12 t-shirts heavy. I carried it to Knit Night to show, but that's when I decided it should be a stationary basket. It's now the wastebasket in my workroom.
Hmm. Reading back over this, I realize that these are awful instructions. That's why I'm not a famous pattern writer. When I start making something on my own, I always think, "Hey, why don't you write down what you're doing?" Then I usually forget.
There are lots of good free patterns for crocheted baskets out there in Internetland. Like this beauty. Go find one of those, if you know what's good for you.